Author: Donna

Conference News Feb 2020

In ConferenceInterview by RWA Blog CoordinatorFebruary 3, 2020Leave a Comment

Conference round up for February – only six months to the Romance Writers of Australia annual conference!

Cocktail Party

With a yippee-ki-yay and a yee-haa, we just can’t wait for the Wild Wild West Cocktail party. It’s time to get your thinking stetsons on and lasso your costume: cowgirl, cowboy, saloon dancer, bandit or sheriff? Or maybe you’ll choose something with a West Aussie flavour like a quokka, whale shark or fair dinkum bushranger like Moondyne Joe.

And if fancy dress isn’t your thing, that’s fine too. The cocktail party is a great opportunity to meet new people, catch up with others you haven’t seen all year and enjoy yourself before the weekend begins.

Friday Workshop – Change

We regret to announce that Lisa Cron has had to withdraw from the 2020 conference due to family commitments. The conference team is on the hunt to find an equally awesome presenter for the craft workshop this year and we’ll announce it as soon as we have it confirmed. We’re sorry for any disappointment.

Friday Author Day

Although Lisa is not available, we have put together an amazing Author Day program for those of you who are published. We listened to our members about what they want and can announce the following sessions with more to come:

How to Advertise without Gambling with Bryan Cohen 

Did you know that there’s a simple strategy to figure out if your Book Description works? It takes a dash of math and a cup of patience, but if you know the formula, you may never promote a book that’ll lose money ever again.

In a whirlwind talk with tonnes of real-life examples, Amazon Ad School Founder and Best Page Forward CEO Bryan Cohen will help you understand the most important statistic in self-publishing.

Dust off your TI-82 graphing calculator and get ready to take some sweet, sweet author action.

Estate Planning for Authors with Morgan Solomon from Solomon Hollett Lawyers

What happens to your artistic legacy after you die? Or if you lose mental capacity? Estate planning is more complex than ever before – but for authors there are additional and unique challenges.

Together we shall look at the most common wills and estate issues (and hopefully bust a few myths along the way). But we shall also focus on issues unique to authors; control and licensing of your artistic legacy, inheriting copyrights and royalties.

Finance for Authors with Bob Poolman from Poolman Taxation

For some authors, numbers aren’t their strong suite but Bob Poolman’s workshop aims to demystify and simply finance. He’ll explain recordkeeping requirements of taxation expenses claimable by authors and run through a list of possible expenses claimable.

He’ll also talk about special taxation concessions for people engaged in the Arts, specifically authors, address general money matters and answer any and all of your questions, so come prepared.

Are you ready for your close-up?

Have your professional author headshot taken at RWA20

Have you been putting off getting a professional author headshot taken? Or are you still using the same headshot taken 15 years ago? A picture paints a thousand words and your headshot is no different. But what are those words saying about you?

At RWA20 in Fremantle, we are excited to offer you the opportunity to have new headshots taken with our professional photographers Angelo Di Benedetto from ADB Imagery and Shelly Boston from Smile! Designer Photography.

Photographer Angelo Di-Benedetto

Angelo Di-Benedetto has worked with clients for over 15 years across Australia to create eye-catching and creative portraits. To see more of Angelo’s work, please visit

Photographer Shelly Boston

Shelly Boston has over 20 years’ professional experience and is an Accredited Member of the AIPP (Australian Institute of Professional Photography). To see more of Shelly’s work, please visit

Both photographers are offering Author Headshot Sessions for $75 per person. The session will last 10–15 minutes which will allow the photographer to take 15–20 images in a studio lit sitting. Sessions will take place inside the Esplanade Hotel.

The $75 fee includes one high-resolution retouched headshot of your choice. Additional images can be purchased for $50 (Angelo) or $35 (Shelly).

Shelly is also offering a one-hour Personal Branding Session for $395 per person which includes an outdoor/indoor session where approximately 30 images will be taken for the purpose of social media, advertising and branding. The fee includes pre-planning correspondence to plan a list of possible images and ideas for the session.

Angelo will be shooting on Saturday 15 August and Shelly on Sunday 16 August. Both photographers will have 28 15-minute slots available on their days. Shelly’s Personal Branding Sessions will take place on Saturday 15 August with a limit of 7 sessions.

We will establish a waiting list if you do not get your pick of photographer, however, we cannot guarantee that a second day will be added at this stage.

Bookings will open at the same time as conference registrations.

We are currently investigating options to include an on-site make-up artist. If this goes ahead in time, full details will be announced prior to registrations opening.

Interview with Anna Boatman from Piatkus

In ConferenceInterview by RWA Blog CoordinatorDecember 3, 2019Leave a Comment

We are so looking forward to welcoming you to Fremantle in 2020, Anna. We’d love our members to get to know a bit about you before conference.

Anna Boatman

I see that you started your career at Mills & Boon, and now work with international romance bestsellers at Piatkus, including Mary Balogh, Julia Quinn and Charlaine Harris. What do you love about romance fiction?

Escapism! The world is a tough place to be at the best of times, and I think we can probably all agree that currently we’re not in the best of times – it’s wonderful to be able to step into another world knowing that the ending will be happy!

Great characterisation (I always think you have to be a psychologist to write successful romance).

Witty, intelligent dialogue.

What women want being the focus of a whole genre!

You are also the publisher for PCR Fiction, which encompasses the Piatkus Fiction and Constable Crime imprints. What’s a normal day in the office for you?

It honestly varies so much from day to day that this is a tricky question to answer! There is less reading during the day than teenage-me believed when planning to become a publisher – and definitely more meetings and spreadsheets, but overall, it’s a very interesting and challenging job. The core of my role as a publisher is to identify the titles across the division that we think would most benefit from extra focus and make sure they get it, while also doing everything possible to make sure we buy the very best books across both crime and romance.

Can you tell us the process of what would happen after you read a submission you like?

If I like it and want to publish it myself, I would take it to Editorial first. Editorial is a lovely meeting, as it’s the wider editorial team, who will all read the book too and help me decide on the best pitch and strategy. After that, I take it to Acquisitions, where we (hopefully) show Sales, Rights, Marketing, Publicity and Digital why we think it’s a great book, and get their thoughts on how to make it work, and how much we think we can pay. This can be trickier to navigate, as it being a good book is of course not always the same thing as it being a clearly sellable book. Some of the most interesting books out there may struggle as it won’t be as clear where they might fit in the market – our job as publishers and editors is to work out not just whether the book is good, but the best way to get everyone excited about selling it from the first moment it’s presented to the publishing team. Once we’re all on board, I will make an offer to the agent (if there is one) or directly to the author if there isn’t. Once the offer is accepted, we then begin to make any editorial changes with the author, working towards a final manuscript ideally about nine months before publication, while beginning to create a plan across all departments for how we get the book out to as many people as possible!

You have a mix of genres in your portfolio. Can you tell us a little about them?

I’m lucky enough to work across a big range of commercial fiction, and have published everything from erotica to science fiction to book club fiction. In one memorable case I have published an erotic science fiction thriller (though it didn’t make it into a book club). For me, one of the greatest strengths of Piatkus and Constable is that as we are lucky enough to have a core of long-running authors with big fanbases, we are able to sometimes take a risk and take on books that don’t immediately fit into the established genres – I tend to love books that are a mix of genres (eg Amanda Bouchet’s wonderful fantasy/romance trilogies) and it’s a real privilege to be able to publish books that are taking risks.

What do you love about writing conferences? Any advice for conference goers?

For me it’s really wonderful to meet both aspiring authors and readers – as I spend a lot of time negotiating with agents and then working with authors who are already published, you can feel sometimes a little disconnected from the readers and from authors at the beginning of the process. I always find it hugely invigorating and interesting to hear their enthusiasm and passion for the books in person.

What books that you’ve worked on that are coming out soon are you excited about?

Love Letters From Montmartre comes out in Australia in November – this is the very first translated fiction I’ve ever bought for Piatkus. It’s about a writer of romantic comedies whose wife dies, leaving him with his young son. After her death, he is struggling to believe in happy endings and is suffering from severe writer’s block, but before she died she made him promise to write her one letter for each year of her life. This beautiful book is the story of how, over thirty-two letters, he begins to believe in love again. It made me cry SO much.

Where Winter Finds You by JR Ward – JR Ward is an institution – I love her Black Dagger Brotherhood series and this is her first ever Christmas vampire!

Christina Lauren’s Twice In a Blue Moon – gorgeous, swoony romance by two of my very favourite authors.

Maria Lewis The Wailing Woman – a feminist fantasy about a banshee and an absolute joy from start to finish.

What do you do in your ‘down time’? Are you going to able to have some down time on your visit to Australia?

I’d definitely love to! I’m planning on a two-week holiday if I can manage it. At home to relax I cook longwinded and impractical dishes for my long-suffering housemates, have an unhealthily developed Netflix habit, go cycling and do yoga. Also I read, but am aware that’s a particularly boring answer!

Do you find much time for reading as a pastime and if so, what’s on your TBR pile right now?

Red, White and Blue – amazing gay romance with a prince!

Holly Black’s Queen of Nothing – can’t WAIT for this as I love the trilogy.

Orchestra of Minorities – fantastic book published by a very talented colleague of mine that made the Booker shortlist this year.

I also tend to listen to audio books for my non-work reading – it’s a nice separation. Recently I LOVED Daisy Jones and the Six, and am currently mid-way through a quirky, mysterious book called The Hoarder.

Any advice to unpublished writers?

  • Keep going! I’d suggest writing because you want to, not in expectation that it’s going to be an easy way to make a living – it’s tough out there.
  • Don’t be afraid to try self-publishing – any way to get your books noticed is good, and the average editor will be intrigued by an author who has successfully self-published, not put off by it.
  • Don’t listen to anyone who tells you there’s only one ‘right’ way to write – the process is different for everyone.
  • Find authors who you admire, work out who their agents are and approach those agents specifically.
  • Read as much as you can in the area you are writing in.

Any advice to published authors?

  • Keep going! It’s tough out there. Do everything you can to keep your focus on your characters and your books, and keep remembering why you enjoy writing in the first place.
  • Chase your publishing team (nicely)– they will be doing the best they can for you, but they likely have a lot of competing books taking up their time and it’s always worth checking in.
  • Do everything you can to connect directly with your readers, online and off. It’s really important, particularly in romance. When you’re starting out, no signing is too small, no request too slight to make something of – you are your own biggest advocate and the more you give to your readers, the more they are likely to respond.
  • Make connections with as many other authors as you can, and be generous with quotes and reading – it will definitely be worthwhile later down the line!

Finally, we are so delighted you’re visiting us in Western Australia. Is there anything in particular you’re looking forward to seeing or doing?

I’m delighted too – thank you so much for the opportunity! I’m hoping to find a beach at some point and do some snorkelling. Also, I hear the seafood is spectacular, so am keenly looking forward to both eating and drinking what sounds like really wonderful wine!