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Conference 2014: Casino Royale

Casino Royale

14-17 August

Auckland, City of Sails

Waipuna Hotel and Conference Centre

Join us in Auckland as we celebrate the 21st Romance Writers of New Zealand Conference.

Guest speakers include:

  • Marie Force, Contemporary New York Times and a USA Today Bestseller hybrid author
  • Courtney Milan, Historical New York Times and a USA Today Bestseller hybrid author
  • James Scott Bell the #1 bestselling author of Plot & Structure
  • Kevan Lyon, Marsal Lyon Literary Agency
  • Jim Azevedo, Marketing Director, Smashwords
  • From Harlequin: Sue Brockhoff, Lilia Kanna, Flo Nicoll and Malle Vallik
  • New Zealand Authors: Yvonne Lindsay, Trish Morey, Karina Bliss, Yvonne Walus, Lisa Whitefern, Frances Housden and Kamy Chetty
Marie Force
Marie Force
James Scott Bell
James Scott Bell
Courtney Milan
Courtney Milan
Jim Azevedo
Jim Azevedo
Kevan Lyon
Kevan Lyon
Sue Brockhoff
Sue Brockhoff
Lilia Kanna
Lilia Kanna
Flo Nicoll
Flo Nicoll
Yvonne Lindsay
Yvonne Lindsay
Trish Morey
Trish Morey
Karina Bliss
Karina Bliss
Yvonne Walus
Yvonne Walus
Kamy Chetty
Kamy Chetty
Lisa Whitefern
Lisa Whitefern
Frances Housden
Frances Housden

3.5 days. 20+ workshops. Over 100 writers, editors, agents and publishing industry professionals.

EARLY BIRD PRIZE — For everyone who registered before 7th June 2014

If you registered for the Friday and weekend conference before 7 June 2014, and have joined or are a current RWNZ member, then you have gone in the draw to win the following prize from multi-published author Melanie Milburne:
* First three chapters or full m/s critique for unpublished author of a contemporary romance.
Melanie’s upcoming releases: At No Man’s Command, Playboy’s Lesson, Engaged at the Chatsfields, and Flirting with the Socialite Doc.

3 Prizes on offer if you register for the Harlequin Awards Dinner

This year we’re entertaining Casino Royale style at the Harlequin Awards Dinner on Saturday, so all those who register and attend will be eligible to enter for these prizes. We’re spinning the wheel, so to speak, and seeing where it stops. 3 Prizes up for grabs:

  • Romance Book Paradise is sponsoring an edit of the first three chapters for edit and style of a category manuscript.
  • Romance Book Paradise is sponsoring a book promotion of an upcoming/new release
  • Multi published author Helen Lacey is sponsoring a first three chapter critique of a category romance

Pitch Appointments Available with

  • Kevan Lyon, Marsal Lyon Literary Agency
  • Sarah Fairhall, Penguin Australia
  • Katie Haworth, Penguin New Zealand
  • Sue Brockhoff, Head of Publishing, Harlequin
  • Lilia Kanna, Product Manager, Harlequin
  • Malle Vallik, Director of Digital Editorial Initiatives, Harlequin
  • Flo Nicoll, Editor for Harlequin UK

An Agent/Editor’s perspective on a great Pitch

To me, the best pitches include the following information without me having to ask for it:
My name is _____ and I wanted to meet with you because _____.
I’m writing ______ (what genre).

My publishing history includes _____(number of books, genres).

Today I want to tell you about my book called _____ .
Then, launch into your pitch. This should be 2 to 3 minutes long, max, allowing time for the agent or editor to ask questions. Have a 1-minute pitch prepared, too, in case of mealtime or elevator pitches.
Here are some guidelines:
→ Don’t try to tell the whole story. Start with the plot catalyst, the event that gets the story started.
→ Then give the set-up, i.e. what happens in the first 30 to 50 pages that drives the reader into the rest of the book. Include the pressing story question or the major story conflict.
→ Fill out your pitch with any of the following: plot elements, character information, setting, backstory, or theme. You want to include just enough information to really intrigue your listener. Note that your pitch doesn’t have to be all “plot.” If your story is more character driven, then fill out your pitch with interesting character details. If the setting is an important element, talk about that. If the backstory plays heavily, round out your pitch with that. Be intentional in how you structure your pitch.
→ Finish by giving an idea of the climactic scenes and the story resolution.
→ Try not to tell too much of the story in the pitch. The pitch is supposed to get somebody interested, not tell the whole story. Stick to the high points, but be sure to tell enough that you don’t leave your listener confused.
→ Include only a couple of characters.
→ Include one plot thread, or two if they’re closely intertwined. You can hint at the existence of other characters and plot lines.
Be prepared to answer questions that could include things like:
→ How does your story end?
→ What published author’s style would you compare your writing to?
→ Who are your favorite authors in your genre?
→ Is this a series? And if so, what are the subsequent books about?
→ Have you worked with a critique group or a professional editor?
→ Have you pitched this to publishers in the past? If so, what was the response?
Important: Know all the key points of your pitch, but don’t memorize your pitch verbatim. You want to be ready to speak it aloud and sound natural, whether during a planned meeting, a meal, in an elevator or a random encounter. Having your pitches prepared ahead of time (and adjusting them as necessary if you learn new things in workshops) will raise your confidence level.
And most important: To help raise your confidence and lower the nervousness, realize that agents and editors are regular people just like you. We clean our toilets, we change our kids’ poopy diapers, we stress over what to wear and whether we’re having a bad hair day. Also, we REALLY like chocolate. How much more normal could we be?