What I Learned from CT Fiction Fest


Terri-Lynne DeFino’s workshop on the Truth About Rejection: Writing Successful Query Letters was a great way to kick off the workshops.

  • There is no truth. It is all a matter of opinion. And sometimes just catching someone on the right day.
  • A good query letter conveys the major plot arc and the side plots fall away.
  • The briefer you are, the better your chance of being read.
  • The turning point in the query is not the big turning point in the book but the first major turning point (inciting incident).

One thing she touched on that really resonated with me was that there are 4 stages to writing:

  1. Unconscious incompetence–you have no idea you suck
  2. Conscious incompetence–you know you are doing something wrong but you don’t know what it is
  3. Conscious competence–you know what you are doing and how to do it
  4. Unconscious competence–you just do it and it becomes second nature to you


Smashwords’  Jim Azevedo taught Secrets to E-Book Publishing Success (a two part workshop) to a packed room. I joined for part II and picked up tons of information.

  • The cover needs to make a promise and show the reader what they are getting into
    • A great cover can increase sales
  • Publishing multiple books allows you to cross promote
  • Maximize distribution and avoid exclusivity
  • Give your book away for free–free ebooks are downloaded lots more
  • Play with pricing
  • Patience is a virtue to an indie author
  • Never unpublish a book–it destroys your ranking and your presence
  • Build your platform and fan base before you publish


During lunch, we had the editorial and agent hotseat, where agents and editors shared their perspective on the industry and answered our burning questions. I sadly didn’t take notes because I was eating cheesecake. and it’s impossible to type on my iPad and eat cheesecake.


I did attend a terrific panel on The Three Takes on Love–Traditional Romance, Women’s Fiction, and Erotica with Gwen Jones and Linda Parisi.

Some of the key takeaways were:

  • Women’s fiction is about a woman finding her happily ever after, not necessarily a couple finding HEA
  • Erotica is about sex
  • Romance is always about HEA
  • The difference between erotic romance and erotica is that the sex must lead somewhere emotionally
  • Love sells
  • Word of mouth doesn’t take off until 20-30k people
This entry was posted in Conferences, Uncategorized, Writing and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

32 Responses to What I Learned from CT Fiction Fest

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.