I just went to a writer's workshop at my lovely local Library in the booming metropolis of Lake Mills, Wisconsin. I was graced by the gift of having two incredible authors break down writing and publishing...

They seem a bit like an odd couple - she is a sexy Romantic Suspense author of Harlequin and he is a Mystery/Horror guy. They jive well and I learned a ton! In case you missed it, here are the top 10 things I learned at the conference...

First - on writing:

1. Start your story in the middle of action - no exceptions, no excuses. Back story should always be worked in later. If you can't make a reader buy your book in three sentences, they won't buy it.

2. When you ask someone for a critique, they should focus on hook, conflict, character, setting/mood, pace/style, resolution, spelling/grammar, and enjoyment.

3. Characters must be unique, have concrete goals, flaws, quirks, great support characters that help AND hinder the main character and there must be an enemy or protagonist.

4. Per Peterson, your goal must be "important, urgent, concrete, and measurable." Make it so...

Second, on publishing...

5. For an ebook to sell, you must write a bloody good book, price it right, format it correctly, and have a great cover.

6. They both endorsed having agents to help guide them in their careers. Even with Konrath being self-pubbed quite it bit, his agent has sold audio rights and foreign rights; agents are still necessary.

7. A web presence is essential--twitter, facebook, blog, website, etc...

8.  There is no right or wrong way to get published--whether by traditional or non-traditional paths--just do what is right for you.

9. If you give away erights your book, check into it first, as it may not be worth it in the long run.

10. The best place to meet contacts at a workshop or conference is...at the bar! (Excellent - advice I will happily heed).

PS - Oh Kindle, my Kindle - I just bought Whiskey Sour and A Cop in her Stocking - can't wait!

J.A. Konrath


  1. Great list of tips! (I'm glad I'm working on these too, LOL!)

    Yay for Kindle!!!! :D

  2. Great post. I saw you on Laura's site and thought I'd pop over. I'll follow you on Networked Blogs. Have a great day.


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