Four Things to Do After a Writers’ Conference

Many authors have recently returned from the Romance Writers of America conference, myself included. What a blast, right? But, you can’t live in RWA bliss forever, though I tried—even dreamed of the conference for several nights afterward. Not to mention, I’m dying to go again. Next year. New York. Be there.

For now, we all have to return to our normal lives, but is there anything we should do that’s related to the conference?


-If you collected business cards from fellow writers, and you should have, follow up. Don’t wait for someone to contact you. There are many reasons why that might not happen. The person could have lost your contact information, could be waiting for you to make the first move, or might not feel confident you really wanted them to contact you. And the more time passes, the harder it’ll be for either one of you to reach out. At some point, it’ll feel downright awkward. Don’t let this happen. Grab the cards and spend time connecting with these authors. Otherwise, what was the point in networking with them in the first place? Just like with social media, you need to grow relationships after meeting other writers. Don’t follow and forget them. Build that connection.

-If you pitched to an agent or editor, don’t wait too long to submit requested material. An editor told me that the sweet submission window is 1-4 weeks after a request at a conference. That means you don’t need to send your material the day you arrive home. You should take time to review it once more, then kiss your baby good-bye and send it off.

-Review handouts and/or listen to the workshop recordings. While at the conference, it’s easy to fry your brain from too much information. But, now that you’re home, you can take the time to really absorb the material and learn new things.

-Get back to writing. Nothing and nobody will sell your next book unless it’s written, so get to work.

What are you working on right now?

On a side note, I’m happy to announce that my editorial team has expanded. I now have five copy editors working for me, and they want to edit your stories. I’ve vetted these applicants so you don’t have to. Many of them have worked with publishers like Harlequin, Carina Press, and Entangled Publishing, and they’ve all successfully edited novels for indie authors. At the moment, most of my copy editors are available within a week or two. Contact me at: and I’ll arrange for a few of the copy editors to do a sample edit and quote for you.

Because of a cancellation, I now have two openings in October for a substantive/big picture edit. This service focuses on the big picture issues in a manuscript, which include story and craft but not line editing. Are your characters three-dimensional? Are there plot holes or loose ends in your story? Is your novel working as a whole?

I’ll also look at issues like: telling instead of showing, inconsistencies in the story, flat dialogue, unrealistic reactions or actions, underdeveloped main characters, overdeveloped minor characters, backstory dumps, author intrusion, POV slips, deep POV implementation, bad choreography, poor execution of GMCs (goals, motivation, conflicts), and lack of emotions. I’ll flag these issues directly in the manuscript with Track Changes and offer suggestions on how you can rework the problem area.

This is a great service for writers who want to ensure their story is properly developed before they focus on the mechanics (spelling, grammar, and punctuation).

Lynnette Labelle

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