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14/07/2015: RNA Conference 2015

This year's RNA conference was held at Queen Mary University in Mile End, London, and although most of us had a bit of a struggle to get there (thanks to a tube strike), a fantastic time was had by all! I certainly came away buzzing with ideas and enthusiastic about writing - it was fab and just what I needed!

There was so much going on, it was impossible to go to all the talks or to see/speak to everyone, but here is a short summary of the events I attended (and a couple I participated in):-

The Agents' Panel on the Friday which was superb - brilliantly chaired by Carole Blake of Blake Friedmann, it included Caroline Sheldon(Caroline Sheldon Literary Agency), Hannah Ferguson (Hardman & Swainson), Tim Bates (Pollinger) and Lisa Eveleigh (Richford Becklow). It's always great to get the agents' perspective on what is happening in publishing so this was fascinating.

Matt Bates, the lovely fiction buyer from WH Smith Travel gave a great talk about what sells and doesn't sell in his stores. I especially loved his insights into covers and the huge importance they have!

Sarah Broadhurst, book reviewer extraordinaire, told us about her lifelong love of books and her career - very entertaining and interesting!

An Editors' Panel, chaired by Jane Johnson (who is also an author) gave more fascinating insights, and a panel of book bloggers/reviewers told us what reviewers are looking for and how to approach them. This panel included the lovely Charlie of The Worm Hole blog, whom I'd had the pleasure of sitting next to at dinner on the first evening. We share a love of castles!

Author Hazel Gaynor talked about promotion; Eileen Ramsay (RNA's new chair) led a panel discussion that featured Katie Fforde, Jane Johnson and Daniel Hahn (chair of the Society of Authors); and author Ruth Long gave a fabulous talk about magic and folklore that made me want to rush home and write fantasy books! Then Alison Baverstock taught us about marketing, Tamsyn Murray analysed three YA books to find out why they've been such huge successes and Kerry Fisher talked about her road to traditional publication.

I did a talk on "Show don't tell " with the brilliant Sue Moorcroft, utilising some of the many Japanese things I've collected over the years and finally I was one of many who ended up on Jane Wenham-Jones's Sunday Sofa to discuss our quirks… Are you exhausted reading all this? Well, then you'll see why I now need a week to recover from the conference 🙂 But I'm already looking forward to the next one!

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