Pitching in the Big Leagues

Being ready with a pitch—a concise, compelling description of your book—is especially important at writing conferences because you will have opportunities, either spontaneous or scheduled, to talk about your book with publishing professionals. These opportunities might be casual; in fact, the best opportunities are always the organic ones. An editor might be sitting at your lunch table, or perhaps you meet an author who asks about your current project. Other opportunities are more formal, such as scheduled consultations. You might have a chance to pitch in a one-on-one appointment with a literary agent or editor, in a small-group setting, or in a large pitch contest.

"The Book Doctors" Arielle Eckstut and David Henry Sterry

“The Book Doctors” Arielle Eckstut and David Henry Sterry

At the James River Writers Conference, our pitch contest is called “Pitchapalooza.” It’s run by The Book Doctors, David Henry Sterry and Arielle Eckstut, who do Pitchapalooza events all over the country.

Whatever the circumstances of your pitching moment, preparation empowers you to shine. (more…)

New This Year at the JRW Conference: RVA ♥ Writers!

 

 

This year we’ll be sharing a portion of our conference with all of Richmond—and sharing Richmond with our conference goers. Saturday afternoon and evening hours are set aside for some of our speakers to give open presentations at various RVA locations. A rider board will be available at the conference for attendees who need transportation. (more…)

James River Writers Conference 2014: Registration is Open!


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Click here to register today! Click here to become a sponsor for the JRW Conference

Visit our 2014 James River Writers Conference Home Page to learn all about the engaging speakers, informative panels, and hands-on Master Classes coming your way October 17-19! Register early to get a one-on-one with a literary agent or book doctor, included in the conference cost. We can’t wait to see you in RVA!

New at the 2014 James River Writers Conference: Critiques!

One of the unique aspects of the James River Writers Conference is that it has something for everyone. No matter what the next step in your writing journey may be, you will find something helpful at the conference. Our job is to help you meet your writing goals. With this in mind, we’ve added a new opportunity to the conference this year: critiques.

Ann Rittenberg

Ann Rittenberg

Over the years, people have told us how much they love the chance to meet one-on-one with an agent or editor. Unlike other conferences, this meeting is offered to conference goers without any extra fee. The one-on-one appointments are designed to give writers an opportunity to pitch their latest manuscript to a publishing professional. However, we also know that some writers are not quite ready to pitch; they would rather work on their craft a bit more. That’s where critiques come in. (more…)

How to Lose an Agent in 10 Steps

John Cusick

John Cusick

Toeing the fine line between being charmingly persistent and annoyingly invasive can be tough to do, especially if you don’t really know where that line is.  To make it all a little tougher, each agent probably has a different definition and those definitions may change depending on who called before you did.

However, there are some behaviors that agents complain about among themselves.

Join New York literary agent John Cusick to learn how to avoid these mistakes at all costs. Kristi Tuck Austin will moderate the discussion about the ins and outs of building a strong relationship with your agent and how to make sure your book makes it to the top of the slush pile. (more…)

September 13, Books & Brews

Print Are you a Barley Literati?  A quaffer of malts as well as a writer of manuscripts? Do you enjoy a good beerloquium?  Have you formed a card catalogue cross-referencing every mention of blossom-infused brewed beverages from Gilgamesh to A Fan’s Notes and all through the Game of Thrones series?

If so, or even if you just enjoy a refreshing ale with friends, James River Writers has an event for you: our first Books & Brews bus tour of some of Central Virginia’s finest craft breweries.

(more…)

July Writing Show Recap

By Kellie Larsen Murphy

Stretching the Boundaries of Young Adult Literature

Kellie Larsen Murphy

Kellie Larsen Murphy

YA books are not just for kids anymore. It’s not only due to J.K. Rowling or The Hunger Games, but also the result of some incredible writing and great storytelling. July’s writing show introduced us to two of those authors, Kat Spears and Kristen-Paige Madonia.

Kat Spears has worked as a bartender, museum director, housekeeper, park ranger, business manager, and painter (not the artistic kind). She holds an M.A. in anthropology, which has helped to advance her bartending career. She lives in Richmond, Virginia, with her husband and three freeloading kids. Her first YA novel, Sway, will be published in September by St. Martin’s Griffin.

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June Writing Show Recap

by Kellie Larsen Murphy

Put Your Characters on the Couch: Psychoanalyze Your Fiction

The June Writing Show played to a nearly packed house at the Broadberry on a beautiful evening this June. Attendees were treated to a lively panel moderated by young adult author Gigi Amateau. The three panelists included Cleve Lamison, an actor, screenwriter, and novelist; Jon Sealy, a short story writer and novelist; and Ted Petrocci, a licensed mental health professional with over thirty years as a psychotherapist, trainer, and educator. (more…)

May 2014 Writing Show Recap with Fraga Studios

How many times have you bought a movie ticket at least partially based on the trailer? At least once and probably more, right? A really good trailer gets you to the theater for two hours. A bad one keeps you away. Today, trailers are not just for movies or television. Book trailers are popping up in all genres, from children’s books to suspense to non-fiction. A compelling book trailer can play a large part in an author’s marketing campaign. May’s Writing Show at The Broadberry focused on what makes a book trailer work, types of book trailers, and things to consider when making a trailer. Sharing their wisdom were Tom Sanchez Prunier, a freelance screenwriter and film producer, and Lew Fraga, a producer, writer, director, and owner of Fraga Studios.

Tom Sanchez

Tom Sanchez

What does a book trailer do? Tom and Lew believe a trailer gives the author a chance to say more than what’s on the book’s jacket. They believe a video ad attached to a book can be more cost-effective and far-reaching than a book tour. Used properly, it can be an integral piece in building an author’s brand.

By showing several trailers on screen, Tom and Lew emphasized the importance of showing—not telling—in creating a powerful trailer. Of course, every writer has heard this phrase repeatedly, but they stated it also applies to the video sneak peek into a book. As part of a total marketing campaign, Tom suggested a good book trailer is as important as your book cover. According to Tom and Lew, to make a trailer work, it should create emotional engagement, get to the point, respect the audience, have a clear message, hint at the story, and have a call to action (buy the book!). Unlike a movie trailer, the best book trailers don’t show the faces of the protagonists (or only briefly) or reveal too much of the story. Lew said, “Let the reader come up with a face.” A good trailer never shows credits and is generally under 2 minutes (1-1 ½ minutes is ideal). Bad editing, unrelated content, and excessive text can detract from any trailer. (more…)