We could all do with a little love right now, so our live How To Write Romance day on Saturday 13 February 2021 could be the loveliest way to help us connect and learn about writing and publishing romantic novels, one of the industry’s biggest selling genres.
As we love you all so much we have seven phenomenal guests lined-up for this event instead of our usual six. From brilliant debut authors to some of the biggest bestselling names the romance genre has to offer, we have everything covered for anyone who loves reading or writing romantic fiction. Learn how to hone your submission package, what an agent or commissioning editor looks for, how you can self-publish, thread compassion into your creativity, turn real life stories into fiction, weather the storms of the publishing industry and even find ways to laugh at your own love life. Whether you’re penning an all encompassing love story, a light romantic comedy or a historical, paranormal, erotic or contemporary romance, we have a gorgeous day planned, packaged with even more warmth and humour than ever.
So visit www.iaminprint.co.uk to sign up, get the chocolates ordered and prepare your heart-shaped questions for some of the best in the business.
SESSION 1 – WHAT A COMMISSIONING EDITOR LOVES – WITH EMILY BEDFORD
09:00am – 09:45am (GMT)
What does a commissoning editor love about romantic fiction? With her passion for contemporary, historical and romantic fiction, commissioning editor EMILY BEDFORD is well placed to tell us! How has the romantic genre changed over time? And what romantic styles sell well in today’s market? Thrilled to be working on exactly the sorts of books she loves to spend her spare time reading, publisher Emily is keen to share all she knows. As a publisher at Canelo Digital Publishing she will explain the significance of the digital platform in respect of sales, and provide you with practical tips on how to edit your own manuscript as you work towards your publishing goal.
What Emily’s session will cover:
★ The significance of e-books within the publishing industry
★ Advantages of an e-book publisher
★ From historical to contemporary romance – How novels have changed over time
★ What a Commissioning Editor looks for in a romantic read
★ Editing your manuscript – practical tips to hone your work
SESSION 2 – OVERCOMING BARRIERS TO WRITING ROMANCE – WITH LILAC MILLS
10:15am – 11:00am (GMT)
The road to publishing was not straightforward for LILAC MILLS. Initially she self-published and, if an agent or publishing deal eludes you too, she’s here to offer you tips on how to do the same. Now happily part of the Canelo Digital Publishing family, Lilac’s books sell all over the world, with her Tanglewood Village and Island Romance series as popular now as ever, as her thousands of reviews and downloads prove. But how did she stay resilient in an ever-changing industry? How can you use beta readers wisely? And just where does your manuscript sit in the romantic genre? Let Lilac colour your romantic setting and make limitations a thing of the past.
What Lilac’s session will cover:
★ Can’t find an agent? How to self-publish – tips on where to start
★ Beta readers – testing your novel in the field
★ Romantic genres – what types exist and where might your novel sit
★ An older perspective – love without age limitations
★ Romantic setting – the importance of location and how to colour yours
SESSION 3 – THREADING COMPASSION THROUGH YOUR WRITING – WITH SOPHIE NICHOLLS
11:30am -12:15pm (GMT)
As a writer, teacher, researcher and lifelong apprentice SOPHIE NICHOLLS has spent the past twenty years leading courses and workshops in writing and creativity, both online and in person. Drawing on her background in psychodynamic therapies and mindfulness, she has researched the connections between creative writing and wellbeing, and the ways in which writing and other creative practices can help people to think, learn, understand ourselves and others, collaborate, innovate and grow. Her self-published book The Dress performed so remarkably well in the digital book charts that she sought an agent and is now happily represented by The Blair Partnership with two bestselling novels, The Dress and Miss Mary’s Book of Dreams, now translated into eight languages. Let Sophie navigate you through the uncertainty of writing so you can allow your ideas to flow from felt experience.
What Sophie’s session will cover:
★ Creative writing and wellbeing
★ Compassionate creativity – writing with self-compassion and in compassionate community
★ Lyrical writing in novels and poetry
★ Pondering deeper issues – writing from your felt experience and to start meaningful conversations
★ Is romantic literature just for women?
SESSION 4 – EVERY DAY LIFE AND LOVE – WITH JILL MANSELL
1:00pm -1:45pm (GMT)
Internationally renowned author JILL MANSELL has sold over 13 million books around the world to date! With 20 Sunday Times bestsellers to her name including Rumour Has It, Maybe This Time, It Started With A Secret, and her latest And Now You’re Back. It’s no wonder Jill is often crowned the Queen of Feel Good Fiction! Renowned for writing her books with pen and paper we remain in awe at how her masterpieces come into being. But what else can we all learn from Jill about the wonderful world of the romcom? Do you want to build a world around a real-life situation, fill your own writing with relatable emotion, or simply sit and be inspired by Jill’s own writing processes? Pull up a cosy chair, grab a hot mug of coffee and ask Jill your questions, live.
What Jill’s session will cover:
★ Take an every day idea and make it your own
★ Grudges, secrets and crises – how romance lies at the core of life’s challenges
★ Make your readers laugh and cry
★ Third person voice – how to immerse your reader in your character’s perspective
★ Build your cast – which character types are necessary in a romantic novel?
SESSION 5 – WHAT DOES A LITERARY AGENT LOOK FOR IN A ROMANCE NOVEL? – WITH HANNAH SHEPPARD
2:15pm – 3:00pm (GMT)
Following the lockdowns of 2020/2021, literary agent HANNAH SHEPPARD reflected upon the books that helped her through this strange time and updated her manuscript wish list. So just what romantic novels can she lose herself in for hours? And what advice can she give you to shape your own manuscript? How can you ensure cast diversity, for example, or strike the right balance between love and sex? Let’s uncover what appeal the romantic genre has in today’s market. Whether you want advice on your cover letter, synopsis, concept or plotting, Hannah is the perfect person to take your questions.
What Hannah’s session will cover:
★ Hooking your reader – Whether concept or plotting, make the reader lose all track of time
★ Love or Sex – how to strike the right balance
★ Cast diversity – what is today’s market looking for?
★ Romance and the e-book market…being open minded about the route to publication
★ What should your covering letter and synopsis look like?
SESSION 6 – SERIOUSLY HILARIOUS – WITH JAMES BAILEY
3:30pm – 4:15pm (GMT)
After graduating JAMES BAILEY travelled the world, journeying through twenty one countries looking for himself, and hopefully love. Having found neither, he returned home, earning a place on the Curtis Brown Creative’s Six Month Novel Writing Course. Turning the romcom genre on its head his debut novel The Flip Side was not only one of Elane and Sarah’s favourite books of 2020 (!) but became an e-book bestseller ahead of its November 20 release with Penguin. How can a writer turn a devastating circumstance into a laugh out loud comedy? What key factors keep your main and supporting characters relatable? And how difficult is it to be a male writing romantic fiction in a female dominated industry? Find out, live, and bring your questions to the chat.
What James’s session will cover:
★ Turning romcom on its head – a man’s perspective in a female dominated market
★ When love goes wrong – develop devastating circumstances into a feel-good comedy
★ Chapter by chapter – how to keep your reader laughing whilst feeling empathy
★ What key factors keep your main and supporting characters relatable?
★ Dialogue – tips to keep your dialogue real
SESSION 7 – PERFECTLY IMPERFECT ROMANCE – WITH MILLY JOHNSON
4:45pm – 5:30pm (GMT)
Born, raised and still living in Barnsley, South Yorkshire MILLY JOHNSON embodies the very essence of community spirit, a factor which features heavily in her eighteen novels. Packaged with her trademark warmth and humour it’s no surprise that Milly was honoured with the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s Outstanding Achievement Award in 2020. So how has she evolved from a greetings card writer to a Sunday Times bestseller? What industry changes has she overcome? And what prejudices in romantic fiction can she help you weather? Learn how to make a living as a writer with plenty of laughs along the way.
What Milly’s session will cover:
★ From greetings cards to poetry, how to make a living writing about love
★ Evolving as a writer – embracing industry changes and keeping your fan base happy
★ Which prejudices exist in romantic fiction and how to overcome them
★ Bittersweet and heartfelt – How to package serious issues with warmth and humour
★ From Christmas to the beach, take your reader with you