Friday, October 31, 2014

Conference Report: Hester Carstens' talk

Since I haven't yet received all the report backs on Joss Wood's presentation on Harlequin, I'm jumping on to the next talk in the #ROSACon2014 Schedule: the talk by Hester Carstens, publisher from Queillerie.

Hester was an engaging speaker who covered a huge amount of important editorial advice in one hour. Here is Elsa Winckler's report on the talk.

Picture courtesy of Elsa Winckler

Rosa-konferensie - 25 Oktober 2014
Hester Carstens 

Hester het begin deur vir ons ’n oorsig te gee oor Tafelberg se se liefdesverhaal-reekse en afsetpunte:

Queillerie → Tafelberg, Hartklop (Vir romantiese harte, die regte medisyne), Melodie (Vir jonk, vir oud, vir altyd), Satyn (Want die hart het ook begeertes), Jasmyn (meestal omnibusse, bv Ena Murray).

Vervolgens het sy gewys op dinge waarna voornemende skrywers behoort op te let alvorens ’n manuskrip ingestuur word vir oorweging:

  1. Hou jou eerste poging eenvoudig en fokus op die liefdesverhaal tussen die held en heldin.
  2. Die storie begin reeds op die eerste bladsy, moenie bladsye spandeer aan bykomende feite wat nie betrekking het op die ontwikkeling van die romanse nie. 
  3. Let op jou fokalisasie. In die liefdesverhaal word die storie hoofsaaklik in die derdepersoon vertel vanuit die heldin se perspektief, soms ook deur die held s’n. Oppas vir ‘headhopping’.
  4. Vermy onnatuurlike troetelname.
  5. Vermy sogenaamde ‘wrokwoorde’ – woorde wat al te veel gebruik is en dus nie meer dieselfde impak het nie, byvoorbeeld: skor, wrokkig, minsaam, mymer, haal/trek skouers op/flussies.
  6. Vermy heks-heldinne – onthou, die leser wil deur die heldin lewe. Sy moet dus iemand wees met wie die leser kan assosieër, sy moet kan voel soos ’n vriendin. Die held moet iemand wees op wie die leser saam met die heldin kan verlief raak. Hy kan dalk aan die begin buffelagtig optree, maar iets behoort deur te straal wat die leser aanraak.
  7. Wees bedag op slotverrassing wat nie gemotiveerd is nie.
  8. Let op ongeloofwaardighede – byvoorbeeld, jou heldin het nog nooit van Twitter gehoor nie, sy gee nie om dat die held haar ‘pop’ noem nie, ’n kind wat soos ’n grootmens praat, ens.
  9. Kontunuïteitsblapse – op een bladsy praat jy van die heldin se kort hare en ’n paar bladsye later, waai haar hare oor haar gesig.
  10. Let op die dialoog – wie sê wat? Dis nie nodig om heeltyd sy sê, hy sê te gebruik nie, maar maak seker die leser weet wie aan die woord is veral waar die dialoog lank is en oor meer as een bladsy strek. Vermy woorde soos ‘mymer’ of ‘wyfel’ – jou dialoog self moet aan die leser die spreker se gevoel oordra.
  11. Let op onnadenkende woordkeuses, elke woord moet met ’n rede daar wees, byvoorbeeld in ’n sin soos ‘Sy knik haar kop instemmend’ is ‘knik’ en ‘instemmend’ onnodige woorde. 
  12. Oppas vir die sogenaamde ‘info-dump’. Wees subtiel wanneer jy inligting wat die leser nie weet nie, oordra.
  13. Oppas vir aksente.

Next up: look for the Conference Report on the talk given by author Joss Woods on Harlequin Mills & Boon.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Conference Report: Romy Sommer's talk on The New Paradigm

This was the opening talk of the conference, an overview of publishing in general and the options currently available to South African romance authors.

Report by Tanya de Ponte (edited)

I much appreciated the copy of Romy's book in the goodie bag and enjoyed the dramatic first page. She did a very interesting presentation on publishers. The topic raised several questions, doubts and fears about which is the best option for you - when there are so many out there. It was nicely covered - to provide solutions about whether to self-publish or get and agent? I enjoyed the advice and tips and would appreciate a copy of the presentation to peruse.

Report by Erich Viedge

Romy Sommer, Chair and founder of ROSA (Romance Writer’s Organisation of South Africa) kick started the inaugural 2014 conference with her talk on the New Publishing Paradigm. With three novels published already and more on the way, Sommer is well placed to unpack the different options that authors in general — and Romance authors in particular — have when it comes to seeing their books on the shelves and their royalties in the bank.

Sommer started by sharing with the audience how the Traditional publishing industry has consolidated over the last few years. She is well-informed and up to date with the latest developments in the industry.

She then unpacked the options that authors have, one by one. How to get published with a traditional publisher; how that process differs from the e-book market, and then finally the difference between self-publishing and vanity publishing.

She shared valuable tips about the kinds of contracts that publishers have, and what to look out for. In particular she mentioned a well-established e-publisher that seems to be in financial trouble — and she unpacked what that might mean in terms of an author’s future royalties and even the author’s ability to re-claim ownership of the work they created!

Sommer asked the audience to hold questions to the end, but every now and then another author would interject with their experience. This made for a very rich session.

I thought I knew about the publishing industry, but Sommer’s session updated my view and exposed me to cutting-edge information about how the model is changing. For example, she mentioned e-book subscriptions, which at the time of the 2014 conference was a new development.

As an opening session for the conference, I felt it helped me contextualise my own ambitions to be a Romance writer. As Sommer said: are you in it for the fame, or are you in it for the money?

Because of the grounding Sommer gave us, I felt by the end of the conference I could make an informed decision about which Imprint to approach or whether to self-publish — or indeed use a variety of approaches.

I would recommend this talk to anybody who is interested in being an author. The information was skewed to a Romance Writers' audience but the information is applicable to anybody, from text-book writers to writers of Erotica.

Next up: look out for the Conference Report on Hester Carstens' talk at #ROSACon2014.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014


Congratulations to the winners of the two contests that were held exclusively for #ROSACon delegates.

The winner of the Gina Rossi Scene Contest, on the theme of 'The first time ever I saw your face', was Kirsty Macfie, with honourable mentions to Alissa Baxter and Kristien Wolmarans.

The winner of the Sharon Pickrel editor mentorship, chosen randomly out of a bag of entries by my competely impartial eldest daughter, was Tanya de Ponte.

Congratulations to all these ladies!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014


ROSA's first ever conference was held in Johannesburg this past weekend and everyone who attended agreed it was a fantastic weekend! We had guest speakers, pitches to an agent and editors, a gala dinner, and (best of all) a chance to talk books and writing with like-minded people all weekend.

Thank you so much to our fabulous speakers. Every single talk was interesting, informative and inspiring!

Over the next few weeks we'll be posting feedback on #ROSACon2014 here on the blog, with pictures and reports on the various sessions. If you attended and would like to share, please get in touch.

If you didn't attend and are now green with envy, keep watching this blog for updates on ROSA events and look out for next year's conference which we plan to hold in the Cape Winelands.

The packed conference room at #ROSACon2014

Monday, October 27, 2014

The new ROSA logo

No roses, as might have been expected, but a lotus flower. As Clare explained at the opening of #ROSACon2014, we chose a lotus flower as it symbolises enlightenment, purity and fortune. The shape is similar too to the rising sun, a lovely positive image. (Plus, it looks prettier as a logo than a closed-up rose!)

So what do you think?

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Vote for your favourite Bachelor

Please come join in the Bachelor Auction on the Harper Impulse blog to let us know which of the secondary characters from my previous books you'd most like to see get his own book: