Weekend Workshops

Weekend Workshops.

Please familiarize yourself with the Breakout Workshop options before selecting your tickets as you’ll be asked for your workshop choices. Thank you! Plenaries will be announced later.

Breakout Workshops 1

A) Book Cover Design Secrets that Sell

Charmaine Ross


Authors spend hours writing their book, only to have it fail because the cover doesn’t appeal. Successful authors know what part their book cover plays in the buying process, and how to leverage the cover to their book’s best advantage.

In this workshop, Charmaine will show you how to analyse the genre you write in, discover what readers are buying and why, and how to nail the type of cover that will subconsciously appeal to a potential reader.

You only have micro-seconds to stand out from the crowd. Don’t leave it to chance. Deliver the kind of cover that will engage readers and give your book the best chance of success.

Want something free? Who doesn’t! Download Charmaine’s condensed checklist – 5 secrets to book cover design that sells – and get to know her a little better. And one lucky workshop attendee will win the cover Charmaine designs during the session for their very own!

B) Laughing them into Bed

Amy Andrews

Humour is notoriously difficult to teach  and even harder to define because everyone has a different perspective.  Can a writer learn how to be funny or is it something innate?

Amy Andrews takes a look at what works and what doesn’t and how the greats of the genre use humour to good effect.

C) Tension is the Thing

Jackie Ashendon

We all know that romance novels are going to end up happily. So what is it that keeps a reader turning pages even when they know the inevitable end?

Tension is the thing.

In this session, Jackie will discuss what tension is, why you need it, where to get it, how to use it and especially how to keep it high so the reader is hooked the whole way through the book (no saggy middles!).

Breakout Workshops 2

A) Historical Romance

Sophie Jordan

In this age of instant gratification, where people are plugged into social media and streaming platforms 24/7, how does the historical romance genre remain compelling enough to beat out all the distractions? To keep the genre relevant, it’s more important than ever to write historicals that appeal to the modern reader. Join Sophie as she discusses where historical romance has been and where it needs to go in order to keep the genre alive.

B) So you got published? Now stay published…

Natalie Anderson/Soraya M. Lane

 Getting published is tough, but staying published is even tougher! In this volatile, challenging and exciting time for writers, there are so many options and so many pitfalls in career planning and management. No two paths can ever be the same but there are considerations and strategies common to all successful, long-term romance writing careers. From the age-old agent question; juggling hybrid indie/published or multiple publishers; ugly covers and other indignities; from series lines ending to crossing between genres… between them Natalie and Soraya have faced many of the current challenges and they’ll discuss ways in which authors can navigate and adapt their ways around these choppy waters and set their courses to build long-term, satisfying careers.

C) Ten Top Tops to Improve your Manuscript

Iola Goulton

You’ve written your first novel (or your tenth). Is it any good? Will it appeal to a publisher, or to readers? Traditional publishers want clean manuscripts with no obvious errors. Self-publishing authors want to keep their editing costs down.

This workshop will take first-time (and more experienced) authors through the basics of revision and self-editing, a valuable skill for authors seeking traditional publication as well as those intending to self-publish.

In this workshop, Iola will discuss the ten most common issues she sees in the manuscripts she assesses and edits, and learn how to fix them.

  1. Structure
  2. Lack of conflict
  3. Character motivation
  4. Dialogue
  5. Dialogue tags
  6. Character thoughts
  7. Point of view
  8. Telling, not showing
  9. Overused words
  10. Grammar and punctuation
Breakout Workshops 3

A) Attention Seeking – Shape and Share your Author Story in the Media

Bronwyn Sell

Do you get tongue-tied in interviews? Do you think of the perfect answer to that tricky question an hour after the interview? Would you rather hide in the bathroom than sit on an author panel? Award-winning journalist and RITA-award winning novelist Bronwyn Sell shares her tips for handling interviews of all kinds. Whether you’re dealing with journalists, bloggers or vloggers, whether it’s print, internet, radio or TV, whether it’s a written Q&A, a podcast, an author event or a live studio interview, Bronwyn will help you present your most engaging and authentic author self, while strengthening your brand and generating interest in your books.

The workshop will mix classic media training tricks with core storytelling techniques to help you prepare, shape and tell your own stories, and will include tips on pitching and on managing nerves. It will be especially helpful for introverts, but also useful for seasoned interviewees who want to refresh their strategy.

B) Relaunch & Reinvigorate Your Backlist 

Mel Storm

Think your backlist could be doing more for you? Yeah, you’re probably right. The good news is that some small, strategic tweaks to your marketing strategy can take your books from stale to fresh and tasty. You don’t only get one chance to launch a book, and you don’t have to give up on your under-performers. You’ve worked hard on each and every book. Now it’s time to get them working harder for you!

C) Writing Different Lengths

Laura Kaye

Writing stories at a variety of lengths can be an asset to your list, but writing novellas, short novels, and single-title-length novels requires some different approaches. Whether you’re plotting a new story, stuck in a mire of revisions, or wanting to try writing at a new length, you’ll learn the most effective way to approach story elements at every length from an author who hit bestseller lists with all three.

Breakout Workshops 4

A) Social media mistakes you might be making  

Laura Kaye

Discover practical and tangible advice for building and improving an effective social media presence from a New York Times bestselling author in two genres. Learn about common and easy-to-rectify mistakes and missed opportunities on all social media sites, websites, e-book back matter, retail and book promote sites, newsletters, and more.

B) The Joy of Writing: finding ‘Flow’

Zana Bell

 “It is better to travel hopefully than to arrive. The success is in the labour.” R.L.Stevenson.

We all love writing when time vanishes and words write themselves. Some call it inspiration; Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi calls it ‘flow’ – where joy and satisfaction are located deep within the creative act. The success is indeed in the labour.

But how come ‘flow’ doesn’t just flow all the time? Why is writing all too often such gosh-darned hard work?

This workshop focuses on the joy of writing for its own sake, shutting out the white noise of our lives to tap into flow.  It explores the eight elements of flow, examines how exercise enhances creativity, and offers strategies to elevate mindfulness as attention shifts from product to process. In this way, writing can change from grinding hard work to joyful labour as we learn to go with flow.

C) Characterisation through Narration

Michelle Somers

A practical workshop that takes the art of characterisation one step further than most, detailing how to incorporate your characters seamlessly into your story.

How do we make each and every character real to our reader? How do we transform our knowledge of building believable characters into practice?

We’ll explore the narrative modes of fiction – dialogue, exposition, action and description – and their use in incorporating our character traits naturally and seamlessly into our story. We’ll look at developing GMC and how to incorporate this, along with character appearance, psyche, backstory and more, into the narrative, lending complexity and context to these traits, and in turn, to our characters.

Using narration to impart characterisation provides readers with a greater understanding of each character, whether major or minor, inviting them deeper into their world and mind, making them more 3-dimensional, believable and real.

Breakout Workshops 5

A) Going Deep with Data to Up Your Marketing Game 

Mel Storm

From ad analytics and newsletter performance, all the way to cold hard sales numbers and even customer reviews, learning to interpret the key data you already have can easily launch your author career to the next level. This 1-hour guided workshop will show you where to find this data, teach you how to decode what it means, and help you harness the insights gained to improve your branding, reader relationships, and return on marketing investment.

B) Do I Need An Agent?

Nalini Akolekar

Not every writer needs an agent. This panel is designed to answer your questions and help you to discover what is the best path for your career. Vice-president of Spencerhill Associates Nalini Akolekar along with three of her clients will discuss what it is like to work with an agent, what you can and should expect from your agent, and what your agent can and should expect from you. We will touch on how to find the right agent and situations where working with an agent may not be the best route for you to take. This will be an interactive discussion, so bring your questions.

C) Let’s Talk Dialogue

Amy Andrews

How characters talk to each other can make or break a book. Is it snappy? Is it clever? Is it appropriate? Does it have pace? Does it fit the mood? Is it consistent? Is it natural?

So many variables can tip the scales from thumbs up to thumbs down and too often written dialogue doesn’t sound like the way people actually talk to each other. Join Amy Andrews for tips and exercises in creating realistic natural dialogue that makes characters feel like living, breathing people.

Bonus Saturday Workshops

A) Market Trends in Digital and Audio Publishing

Dan Wood/Draft2Digital

Authors can publish in over 190 international e-book markets. Audiobooks are the fastest growing segment of the publishing industry. Do you want to find out how to access these markets with your books? Join Dan Wood from Draft2Digital as he shares the latest digital and audio market trends, reveals tips and tricks for authors looking to go wide with their distribution, and describes potential opportunities for audiobooks.

B) The Harlequin Mills & Boon Journey

Nic Caws/Harlequin Global

As a writer, ever feel like there is loads of information about how to self-publish but that the traditional publishing process remains shrouded in myth and mystery? How is it different? What can a traditional publisher offer? Where does a manuscript ‘go’ once it’s in a publisher’s hands and before it appears on the shelves? What actually happens in those glamorous high rise towers?

In this session, Nic will shed light on mysteries, bust some myths, and give a glimpse behind the scenes of what it means to be an author with Harlequin Mills & Boon.

To learn more about our International speakers click here. For our RWNZ member speakers, visit this page. Our visiting editors and agents are here.