What I Learned at Nationals and a Contest!

At times it seemed like all I did for those 4 days at the Dolphin was eat and talk. No doubt I did an incredible amount of both, but I did have time to absorb information at the workshops and glean from conversations. Some served to cement ideas/thoughts already known, but other information was new. All of it needs to be assimilated and applied, which is an ongoing process as I advance in this business.

Let me start with what is most exciting: I already announced that my editor wants Georgiana’s love story (scroll down if you missed that news). I am SO excited and happy about that, as you can imagine, and have been writing like crazy. However, I remained a bit unsure of my future beyond that due to what I perceived as hesitation on my editor’s part for stories about secondary characters. With a bit more clarification during a face-to-face conversation I now comprehend that Deb’s hesitation was only so I would not have high expectations. It had nothing to do with Sourcebooks fearing poor sales or believing it too risky. In fact, I was assured that sales for the Saga continue to be fabulous – thanks to all of YOU! – and that they are extremely pleased. Furthermore, they support me as a valued author and Deb encouraged me to write whatever is in my heart. She assured me that they do not want me to go anywhere and she trusts me to give them stories they will love.

Whew! I know some of you will laugh and say, “I told you so, Sharon!” That’s OK. Deb laughed at me too, said my anxiety was “cute,” and praised my humility. LOL! Nevertheless, I will remain diligent when it comes to this business and my career. Nothing is certain, trust me! What I will write after I finish this novel is unclear to me, but I feel a huge weight lifted. Maybe Dr. Darcy’s story will be told after all!

My focus as far as the workshops was a mixture of craft and career. The Beau Monde workshops were enlightening for the Era and terrific food-for-thought. If I ever decide to write a heroine who is a courtesan, I know to ask Delilah for references! Ha! I attended several talks giving tips to improve my writing and a number on book sales, financial aspects, marketing, and promotion.

The latter brings me to the next topic—

I am fortunate that Sourcebooks has an amazing publicist, Danielle Jackson, and a crew of marketing folks who exclusively concentrate on the romance fiction line. However, an author in this competitive business needs to always be proactive and self-promoting. Strategies are myriad and print advertisement has a place, but everything points to online being most important in getting your name heard. I learned of different avenues to delve into and will gradually advance as time and finances allow, always, of course, announcing new developments here on the blog. This is what resonated loudest for me: There is no longer any debate that Facebook has soared ahead as THEleader in social networking sites. For a long while I have realized that creating my FB Fanpage under “The Darcy Saga Novels” was a mistake. At the risk of sounding egocentric, in the business of publishing it is all about the author’s name. The name is what people remember and correctly branding your name is #1. I could go on and bore you all to tears, but trust me on this.

SO, I am finally taking the plunge and creating a new Fanpage on Facebook as Sharon Lathan, Novelist. Unfortunately FB does not allow a page name to just be changed, nor can the data be transferred, so my current Darcy Saga Novels page will become obsolete. That is a bummer, but the longer I wait the harder it will be.

 In order to make it fun and worthwhile, I AM MAKING IT INTO A CONTEST! That’s right – everyone who clicks the “like” button for my new fanpage will be entered into a drawing. At the end of August I will select 2 names who will each win a signed copy of In The Arms of Mr. Darcy once it is released. How awesome is that?

The new fanpage – Sharon Lathan, Novelist – can be easily subscribed to by clicking the “Like” button on the sidebar to the right. Or you can go to the page itself. Bear with me as I make the switch and get the photos added, etc. The Darcy Saga Novels page will remain for a month or so, but I will not be adding updates there, and I do plan to completely deactivate it. So do not wait!!

Remember that this is a contest! And there’s MORE—

IF you also sign up for my Mailing List as a new contact I will add your name twice, increasing your chance to win. Coolness!!

Those already on my mailing list, don’t worry about signing up again. I am not deleting or changing the mailing list and newsletter. But, to be fair for those who have been on the list, I already submitted each of the 583 names to random.org and picked a winner for a signed copy of In The Arms of Mr. Darcy.

 The lucky lady is Jennifer Pearson of Tennessee!!

In case you are scratching your head over any of this, feel free to email me. And if you are hesitant to join Facebook, I understand. But it is terrific fun and a great way to keep in touch with friends. As for my Fan Page, I really encourage everyone to be a part. It is so much easier for me to add quick updates there than here on the blog and so much easier to comment in response. All news gets posted there instantly when I know of it with links and so on. Other authors, music bands, TV shows, and public figures you may be interested in keeping track of are on FB. That is the reality of where it is at nowadays!Still not convinced? No problem! My newsletter is another way to be kept informed. I am vowing to send a newsletter each month at least. Benefits to being on my mailing list include: 1) Information delivered right to you, 2) Extra novel excerpts, 3) Occasional giveaways/contests exclusive to newsletter readers, 4) Privacy since I will never share your name or email.

Alrighty then, I think that is enough! Excited? I sure am!! I will be back to share more of my adventures in the South. Keep watching!

7 Comments for What I Learned at Nationals and a Contest!

  1. Sharon,

    I am jumping up and down with excitement over all of your fabulous news!!! SO HAPPY that there is a future for Georgianna’s story!!! Yaaay! I am also so happy that you finally got to have that long overdue conversation with Deb! I am so glad that all the worry was for nothing. Let me know when you have free time….we NEED to go to lunch soon! Sending you love and hugs!!!!

    ~Maggie

  2. Thanks Vee. It is faithful fans and friends like you that give me the confidence to push forward. Because of this type of support, and the sales to prove it, I was able to boldly state that I DO think Georgiana’s love story will do well on the marketplace. Perhaps not as much as the Saga, but then again we can attract the general romance reader who might not pick up an Austen spin-off. At least that is my hope!

    I am glad you all understand the switch on FB and need to change. Believe me, it is a pain in the tooshie to do it all! I hope it pays off. LOL!

  3. Hi Becky! Always a wonderful treat to see your name on my blog! I am thrilled you were sent an ARC. I figured Danielle would include you, but I do not have a list of which reviewers were sent ARCs so was not sure. I am very happy to hear you are enjoying it. That is one favorable review I can count on! LOL!

    I am curious what your superiors say about Facebook? Like everything in this modern day of rapid communication and public access there are inherent dangers with online sites. But that is the same no matter where one visits on the web if they are not careful. I really love FB. I have gotten in touch with dozens of old friends and created many, many new friends (true friends) through chatting on FB.

    Take care and come back whenever you can 🙂

  4. Sharon this is the best news!!! I am so happy and cannot wait for Georgina’s story and looking forward to all your books to come. I am very excited and hoping, hoping that you write a book about Dr. Darcy also – as you know, I love that character and it will be fascinating for him to have his own book! For me I will read anything you write, your writting is an inspiration. Your new facebook page is great and I love your profile picture!! I am sure you are going to have many new fans very soon.

    Have fun writting Sharon as we await…..

  5. Dear Sharon!

    All your news are fabulous! It is fantastic to get more books from you in the future.
    Of course Dr.Darcy has a lot to tell: Georgiana´s story will be a big success and then? Well, who knows, maybe book 6 about Lizzy, Darcy and their children?
    But whatever you choose to write about, I am sure, that it will be very, very good.
    It´s great, that the sales are very good!
    Thanks for your August newsletter; it´s been very interesting to read.
    You are right, Facebook makes a lot of fun and it is the best way to follow you around.

    My best wishes to you, your writing future is looking bright!
    Lots of love,
    Susanne

  6. Thank you for sharing the details about your heart to heart with Deb. That is awesome news. Write away dear friend!!! We all love your writing and cannot wait to read more of your genius story telling! 🙂 I hope you do get to fulfill that dream of penning a book for Dr Darcy one of your dearest characters!
    It actually makes perfect sense about your name on facebook Sharon, now that you explain it. The Darcy Saga Novels is a great name but I guess only long time fans understand it is your baby. New people need to know you first and then the awesomeness you create. Especially because even though the Darcys are you main foray at the moment who knows where you will delve next? Yep makes perfect sense and I will be racing over soon as I finish this to like your new page!!!
    I am very excited for you Sharon and all these wonderful new developments. It is fantastic that you get so much positive feedback from these conferences. Your renewed enthusiasm really shows. Keep up all the great work dear friend we’re right behind you!
    TSBO devotee
    Vee

  7. First of all, congrats on future endeavors! You know I’m a huge believer and fan of your writing. I have to say, I finally broke down and placed my little toe into the Facebook world. Educators have been scared away by those above us, so I’m still nervous to use it. I figured though, where most of my endeavors and interests are in line with my love of literature, I’ll be okay. Right? 🙂

    No need to put me in the for the drawing though. *whispers* I have a copy that I’m reading right now for review, and don’t know HOW I’ll wait to post my thoughts! I actually had to put it away so I could finish a couple of books before school starts in two weeks. I’m teaching a Popular YA Fiction class, so I think your book will be a much-needed sigh of relief and break for me once I get that class off the ground! LOL.

    Well, congrats on everything. It looks like you had a great trip, conference, and general time away with your family. Thanks for sharing so much of yourself with us all!

I love to hear from you!