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Dublin Writers’ Conference 2017

On 24 June, I attended the third Dublin Writers’ Conference. I left it feeling inspired, invigorated and with lots of new like-minded writers to connect with on social media. Having already attended the first conference I knew what to expect but, in my absence last year due to family commitments, the conference has grown substantially – word of mouth is a wonderful thing!

In attendance, were writers from all over Ireland as well as further afield with many from England, Scotland and America. The mix was electric. To give you a flavour of the day, I’ve included snippets from some of the speakers:

Susan_Tara_Louise_2017Tara Sparling gave a presentation on what you should do and, perhaps even more importantly, what you should not do to promote your book. Readers, she told us, are firstly enticed by a professional cover, then a great blurb and finally your book. They hate to be told what to do – so it appears that if you tell them to “buy my book” or “check out my book” – more often than not, they’ll rebel and do the opposite!

Laurence O’Bryan told us that the most important thing was to believe in your book. InLaurence_O'Bryan_2017 this ever-changing world, he recommends you should research your chosen genre: the latest books, authors, blogs etc. By the time your book is ready to reach its readership you will have worked hard to prepare it for delivery – writing, researching and editing until it’s perfect. The reader expects nothing less and it is their Amazon reviews that will sell your novel. Laurence suggests sending out advance review copies, aiming to receive at least 10 reviews a month, with the ultimate goal of receiving more than 100 positive reviews. 

Patricia_GibneyPatricia Gibney brought us on her writing journey. When life dealt a number of harsh blows, she told us, it was creativity that helped her through the dark times. She shared a few tips: Don’t procrastinate. Writing is hard work, but just sit and write. Push past the self-doubt, keep negativity at bay and overcome rejections which are the bane of all writers. Patricia advised that passion should appear in all of your writing and the key to success was to persevere, be patient and while you’re waiting use the time to perfect your craft.

Jane Thornley began by telling us that what sells is a great story, a great cover and that
Jane_Thornleybox sets are a gold mine – three books to be precise. Similar to Laurence, Jane felt it was very important to be aware of what is going on in the wider world. It’s important to keep your finger on the pulse so that you know your audience. This information is vital from a marketing perspective where even something as simple as the connotations your book title might conjure up, at any given time, could have a positive or negative impact on your sales.

Paul Feldstein from The Feldstein Agency told the audience that you should write for self fulfillment. When you’re novel is ready, he advised reading agents submission guidelines and following them to the letter. He also recommended reading the latest copies of the Writers and Artists Year Book and Jeff Herman’s Guide to Book Publishers, Editors and Literary Agents.

Conor Kostick gave us a crash course from the Finishing Your Novel course that he runs in the Irish Writers Centre and that many of us have already attended. There were many nuggets of information he imparted including how important it is to nail your point of view to ensure your reader has a seamless, immersive experience. He recommends grinding your research into dust to sprinkle through your novel. And when setting your scene, don’t be cinematic – instead use psychological adjectives, i.e. the mountain soars or the mountain looms – depending on the mood …

Susan_Conor_Louise_2017Louise Phillips, who also teaches at the Irish Writers Centre, opened by telling us:
To just turn up every day. To commit. To write. Writing 500 words each day will soon produce a novel. We were brought through various writing techniques she has used including Road Maps, Organic Writing and Mind Maps which are all useful at the three different stages of the novel. Part 1: where you set-up, establish and create your world. Part 2: the murky middle – full of self doubts – where she suggests you build a bridge to the next part if you’re stuck. And finally, Part 3: the resolution where, by now, your characters should have evolved. One of the most important things to remember, in order to engage your reader, is to make your characters real – as real as your family and friends.

Ken Athcity arrived on stage and we, the audience, watched first-hand as writers pitched their stories to the Los Angeles based movie producer who has created 30 major movie and TV productions and is a member of the Academy of Motion Pictures (the Oscars). Ken’s feedback gave us all food for thought as we watched to see what worked, what didn’t work and what may have a chance to make it on the big screen.

The Dublin Writers’ Conference has become the annual must attend event, offering writers at all stages an opportunity to engage with some of the best in the industry. What better way to hone your craft while also having an opportunity to network with like-minded individuals from all over the globe.

You could ask for nothing more …

Dublin is the UNESCO City of Literature:
The city of Swift, Joyce, Beckett, Yeats, Wilde, Synge & Shaw as well as the modern masters: Edna O’Brien, Roddy Doyle, Colum McCann and a dozen others.

Full conference details available here

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Dublin Writers’ Conference

Dublin_Wrtiers_Conference

Take A Step Towards Your Dreams!
23 – 25 June 2017

This conference will help you to improve your writing craft, self-publish successfully, and plan the marketing necessary for any author to achieve success whether traditionally published or self-published.

Three Ticket Options Available: €58  |  €99  |  €149
Choose which works best for you!

This year, the line-up of conference speakers include:

Ken Athcity:
American movie producer, author, columnist, book reviewer and professor of comparative literature.

Heather Graham:
Multi New York Times best selling author. Romance Writers of America Lifetime Achievement Award winner and the Thriller Writers’ Silver Bullet.

Laurence O’Bryan:
Founder of BooksGoSocial.com, published mystery author, also self published, who provides self publishing support services for authors.

Louise Phillips:
Bestselling & Award Winning Irish Crime Writer & Writing Craft Instructor at the Irish Writers Centre.

Conor Kostick:
Award winning children’s author, Irish Writers Centre lecturer on Finishing Your Novel & prize winning historian.

Tara Sparling:
Leading European self-publishing expert, award winning author and social media consultant.

Patricia Gibney:
the Irish crime novelist who sold over 100,000 ebooks for her debut novel in one month in 2017, topping charts in the United States and the United Kingdom.

Paul Feldstein:
literary agent with many years of experience in the U.S. publishing world, now operating a Northern Ireland based literary agency.

Wendy Jones:
Author, leading Scottish crime writer, and author of Power Packed Book Marketing.

Orna Ross:
is an Irish author and the founder of the Alliance for Independent Authors, named one of the top 100 most influential people in publishing by The Bookseller.

Valerie Bistany:
Director, the Irish Writers Centre, Ireland’s leading writing centre, consultant in strategic & vision planning.

Dublin is the UNESCO City of Literature:
The city of Swift, Joyce, Beckett, Yeats, Wilde, Synge & Shaw as well as the modern masters: Edna O’Brien, Roddy Doyle, Colum McCann and a dozen others.

Full conference details available here

Dublin Writers’ Conference Packs A Punch!

Margaret MurphyDublin city is buzzing on Saturday, 27 June as I walk along O’Connell Street towards 19 Parnell Square and the beautiful Georgian building that is home to the Irish Writers Centre. It is nestled between the Dublin Writers Museum and the aptly named, Michelin star awarded, Chapter One, in the soon to be developed Parnell Cultural Quarter. I am attending the second day of Dublin’s first Writers Conference so I’m keen to see what it has to offer. Running from Friday, 26 June to Sunday, 28 June it promised sessions on writing craft and digital marketing for writers.

Along the way I hook up with a back-packed lady from Idaho who asks for directions. It’s already 9.55am yet we are both compelled to stop and take a couple of photos as we battle our way through the throngs of colourful and good-humoured parade participants who congregate for the noon start from the Garden of Remembrance to celebrate the outcome of the marriage referendum.

Once we reach our destination, she enters Jessica Morell’s session on The Sizzle: Tension & Suspense in Fiction while I attend Margaret Murphy’s, Dialogue in fiction: more than an exchange of words.Water bottles are at the ready and a little good-bantered humour is bandied about as some of the attendees reminisce about the previous night’s social evening. But once Murphy begins the session, the only noise to be heard is the scribbles of pens across notebooks as writers take notes to ensure they don’t forget any of the writing gems she imparts to her captive audience. With nine critically acclaimed psychological thrillers to her name and over thirty years teaching, she is perfectly positioned to deliver an interesting and informative workshop.

LOB writers conference

You can read the full report on writing.ie by clicking here where I share some tips gleaned from Laurence O’Bryan’s digital workshop on his writing journey covering Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and more …

And snippets from the inspirational after dinner speaker at the Gresham Hotel, Paul O’Brien, introduced as:

The Only Self Published Author ever endorsed by Rolling Stone magazine, “…. a one of a kind literary offering . . .” – Kenny Herzog, RollingStone.com

Paul tells an enraptured audience about his writing career, sharing a journey which has led him from Wexford to LA to work on a TV show currently being developed from his Blood Red Turns Dollar Green novels set in the world of wrestling.

O’Brien is definitely a rising star to watch – all that hard work, dedication and self-belief are paying dividends – as news just in that WWE legend Jim Ross announces to the wresting world that Paul O’Brien is onboard to help him write his autobiography.

The Writers Conference may be in its infancy but judging by the applause and chatter at the end of the night it’s guaranteed to become an annual diary event to arm new and established writers with tips, tricks and inspiration for the year ahead.

 Dublin is the UNESCO City of Literature:

The city of Swift, Joyce, Beckett, Yeats, Wilde, Synge & Shaw
as well as the modern masters: Edna O’Brien, Roddy Doyle, Colum McCann and a dozen others.

Laurence O’Bryan talks writing – and what comes afterwards

Laurence O’Bryan describes himself as ‘an award winning Irish crime/mystery writer & social media evangelist who won’t shut up!’ Having spent years working out how to market books, he has had a #1 selling novel on Laurence O'Bryan 2Amazon and his novels have been translated into 10 languages.

His writing career kicked off in 2007 when his debut novel, The Istanbul Puzzle, won the Outstanding Novel Submitted Award at the Southern California Writers’ Conference. The same novel, five years later, was shortlisted for Irish Crime Novel of 2012. Fast-forward to 2015 and The Jerusalem Puzzle and The Manhattan Puzzle are on the book shelves and he’s currently working on his fourth novel, The Nuremburg Puzzle.

His novels have received rave reviews with his writing style compared to that of Dan Brown and Robert Harris, while others felt his electrifying conspiracy thrillers would entice fans of Scott Mariani and Sam Bourne.

‘A brisk plot which draws the reader into a conspiratorial rapport’ – The Telegraph

‘… stylish conspiracy thriller … combines plenty of stirring action with fascinating historical detail’ – Irish Independent

Books_Go_Social

I first had the pleasure of meeting Laurence over three years ago at the monthly ‘live’ crime writers’ group he hosts in Dublin. Although venues may have changed over the years, his mission to help and promote fellow writers has become ever stronger and led to him setting up www.BooksGoSocial.com and most recently to organise the Writers’ Conference which takes place in the Irish Writers’ Centre in Dublin at the end of the month. With a 25 year career in IT marketing and over 117K Twitter Followers, surely he’s the ideal candidate to pass on all he knows to the many unpublished novelists trying to find the edge. It may all be about the writing but, it appears, once your masterpiece is complete it’s time to don your marketing hat and get it noticed.

You can read the full interview on writing.ie by clicking here which offers an insight into O’Bryan’s writing journey along with details on:

the Writers Conference which takes place in the
Irish Writers’ Centre, Dublin
from 26 – 28 June.

Writers’ Conference: 26 – 28 June 2015

 Take A Step Towards Your Dreams!

This unique conference offers a road map
for you to achieve your full potential as a writer in the 21st century.

Enjoy a weekend in Dublin – an exciting and historic literary city – while traditionally published authors,
with industry experience, give you the inside story on this rapidly changing industry.

Ideal for both fiction and non fiction authors, this conference will be hosted at the Irish Writers Centre in the heart of Dublin and sponsored by BooksGoSocial.com, the leading global online book promotion service and will consist of:

  • Writing craft sessions to help you improve your craft and broaden your writing skills
  • Digital marketing sessions for writers will show you how you can gain readers, fast, online
  • Conference Dinner & Awards on Saturday night in The Gresham Hotel, O’Connell Street, Dublin
    – After Dinner Speaker: The Only Self Published Author ever endorsed by Rolling Stone magazine, “… a one of a kind literary offering . . .” – Kenny Herzog, RollingStone.com

The line-up of conference speakers include:

Laurence O'Bryan

Laurence O’Bryan
(founder of BooksGoSocial.com, published in 11 languages, Harper Collins & other)
teaches digital marketing at diploma level, has been training authors in digital marketing for 4 years and is also a published author. He spent ten years trying to break into the publishing industry and finally won a contract after starting a blog and launching a Twitter account in 2009.

Margaret MurphyMargaret Murphy
(Bestselling & Award Winning British Crime Writer & Writing Craft Instructor)
has published nine critically acclaimed psychological thrillers under her own name – in the UK and the USA, as well as in translation across Europe – receiving accolades from newspapers including The Times, Guardian and Telegraph in the UK, and starred reviews from both Publishers’ Weekly and Booklist in the USA.

Jessica Page MorellJessica Page Morrell
(Editor, author of a variety of acclaimed writing craft books and regular U.S. writing craft conference speaker)
understands both sides of the editorial desk–as an editor and author. She is the author of Thanks, But This Isn’t For Us, A (Sort of) Compassionate Guide to Why Your Writing is Being Rejected; Bullies, Bastards & Bitches, How to Write the Bad Guys in Fiction; The Writer’s I Ching: Wisdom for the Creative Life; Voices from the Street; Between the Lines: Master The Subtle Elements Of Fiction Writing; and Writing Out the Storm.

Jean Gill
(Author, teacher and writing craft instructor)Jean Gill
is a writer and photographer now living in the south of France. Since 1988, she has published eighteen books in a wide variety of genres, both with traditional publishers and self-published. A member of the Welsh Academy and Writers on Tour scheme, Jean has led writers’ workshops for all ages and abilitites/disabilities.

Catherine Ryan HowardCatherine Ryan Howard
(Leading European self-publishing expert and social media consultant)
is a writer, self-publisher and caffeine-enthusiast from Cork. She started self-publishing in 2010 with the release of her bestselling travel memoir, Mousetrapped, and is known for the pragmatic self-publishing advice she shares on her blog, Catherine, Caffeinated. Since 2012 she’s worked with Penguin Ireland, helping them devise and execute their commercial fiction social media campaigns.

Debbie Young
(PR Guru & Commissioning Editor at the Alliance of Independent Authors)Debbie Young
had a long career as a journalist and PR professional. Having self-published two collections of short stories, Debbie is now writing her first novel. Her non-fiction books include the Alliance of Independent Author’s (ALLi) guidebooks. She also helps drive ALLi’s campaigns, launching #PublishingOpenUp at the London Book Fair in 2014 and #Authors4Bookstores in 2015.


Dublin is the UNESCO City of Literature:

The city of Swift, Joyce, Beckett, Yeats, Wilde, Synge & Shaw
as well as the modern masters: Edna O’Brien, Roddy Doyle, Colum McCann and a dozen others.

Full conference details available here

Photos from Dublin Writing Events

A selection of photos with writers, from all genres, that I have had the privilege to meet.

I admire them all, not only for for their work, but also for their attitude and their willingness to help fellow writers.

And lots more to be added soon, I hope!

The National Emerging Writer Programme
Dublin City Library and Archive
9 January, 2013:

Annmarie Miles, Vanessa O'Loughlin, Susan Condon
Annmarie Miles, Vanessa O’Loughlin, Susan Condon

Hazel Gaynor, Paul Fitzsimons, Carlo Gébler, Susan Condon, Declan Hughes
Hazel Gaynor, Paul Fitzsimons, Carlo Gébler,
Susan Condon, Declan Hughes

Vanessa O'Loughlin, Hazel Gaynor, Paul Fitzsimons, Carlo Gébler, Declan Hughes, Susan Condon
Vanessa O’Loughlin, Hazel Gaynor, Paul Fitzsimons,
Carlo Gébler, Declan Hughes, Susan Condon

#TXS2 at The Westin Hotel
November, December 2012:

Louise Phillips, Jillian Godsill, John Ivory, Maura Donaghue, Susan Condon
Louise Phillips, Jillian Godsill, John Ivory,
Maura Donaghue, Susan Condon

Susan Condon, Trish Nugent
Susan Condon, Trish Nugent

After Crime Night at the Civic Theatre
November, 2012:

533511_10151163759547911_320014214_n (1)
Susan Condon, Fergus Doyle, Trish Nugent,
Ruby Barnes, Louise Phillips

553695_10151163759772911_668106002_n (1)
Shay Condon, Susan Condon, Fergus Doyle,
Tanya Farrelly, Ruby Barnes, Trish Nugent,
Louise Phillips, Declan Kerins, Rhoda Kerins

Three Voices/Three Forms
Loose End Studio, Civic Theatre
14 November, 2012:

Susan Condon, Colm Keegan
Susan Condon, Colm Keegan

Susan Condon, Colm Keegan, Eileen Casey, Louise Phillips
Susan Condon, Colm Keegan,
Eileen Casey, Louise Phillips

Louise Phillips, Susan Condon
Louise Phillips, Susan Condon

Eileen Casey, Susan Condon
Eileen Casey, Susan Condon

Jonathan Swift Creative Writing Awards
Saggart Heritage & Arts Centre
November, 2012:

Susan Condon, Michael J Whelan, Doreen Duffy
Susan Condon 1st Prize Short Story
Michael J Whelan 3rd Prize Poetry
Doreen Duffy 1st Prize Poetry

Susan Condon, Michael J Whelan, Doreen Duffy
Susan Condon 1st Prize Short Story
Michael J Whelan 3rd Prize Poetry
Doreen Duffy 1st Prize Poetry

SDCC European Week Against Racism Poetry Competition
SDCC County Hall
27 March 2012:

Mayor of Tallaght, Susan Condon
1st Prize
SDCC European Week Against Racism Poetry Competition, 2012
Deputy Mayor of South Dublin County Pamela Kearns, Susan Condon

Brigid Flynn, Susan Condon
Brigid Flynn, Susan Condon

Tallaght Library Writers Group
Rua Red
August 2011:

Doreen Duffy, Orla Coffey, Tanya Farrelly, Michael Whelan, Des McInerney, Paul Tylak
Doreen Duffy, Orla Coffey, Tanya Farrelly
Michael Whelan, Des McInerney, Paul Tylak

Michael Whelan, Des McInerney, Orla Coffey, Doreen Duffy, Tanya Farrelly, Susan Condon
Michael Whelan, Des McInerney, Orla Coffey
Doreen Duffy, Tanya Farrelly, Susan Condon

SDCC Bealtaine Short Story Competition
SDCC County Hall
28 May 2010:

Susan Condon, Mayor Michael Duff
1st Prize
SDCC Bealtaine Short Story Competition, 2010
Susan Condon, Mayor of South Dublin County Mick Duff

City of Dublin VEC Creative Writing Competition
Teachers’ Club, Parnell Square
29 April 2010:

John MacKenna, Susan Condon - 1st Prize - City of Dublin VEC Short Story Competition, 2010
1st Prize
City of Dublin VEC Short Story Competition, 2010
John McKenna, Susan Condon

John McKenna, Susan Condon - 3rd Prize - City of Dublin VEC Poetry Competition, 2010
3rd Prize
City of Dublin VEC Poetry Competition, 2010
John McKenna, Susan Condon

Out and About at Writing Events:

Susan Condon, Mick Halpin, Nell McCafferty, Louise Phillips, Liam Flood
Susan Condon, Mick Halpin, Nell McCafferty,
Louise Phillips, Liam Flood
After Inspiring Crime Writers
Dublin Book Festival
The Porterhouse, Temple Bar (15 November 2012)

Louise Phillips - Red Ribbons Launch
Louise Phillips
Launch of Red Ribbons by Louise Phillips
Hughes & Hughes Bookshop (5 September 2012)
Photo by Ger at Taken by Titch

Susan Condon, Arlene Hunt, Louise Phillips
Susan Condon, Arlene Hunt, Louise Phillips
Launch of The Wrath of Angels by John Connolly
The Gutter Bookshop (31 August 2012)

Jillian Godsill, Valerie Healy, Michelle Jackson
Jillian Godsill, Valerie Healy, Michelle Jackson
Launch of The Terrace by Maria Duffy
The Clarion Hotel (2012)

Jane Travers, Susan Condon, Derek Flynn
Jane Travers, Susan Condon, Derek Flynn
Launch of The Scarlet Ribbon by Derry O’Dowd
Hodges Figgis Bookstore (10 February 2012)

Susan Condon, Joseph O'Connor
Susan Condon, Joseph O’Connor
A private Reading of Ghost Light by Joseph O’Connor
at the home of Orla Coffey (13 April 2011)

Melissa Hill, Susan Condon
Melissa Hill, Susan Condon
Irish Women’s Fiction
Eason, O’Connell Street, Dublin (31 March 2011)

Dundrum Irish Crime Fiction Writers
Mick Halpin, Ann Usack, Patrick Fay,
Brian Roche, Laurence O’Bryan, Louise Phillips
Dundrum Irish Crime Fiction Writers
(only some of them and taken by me!)

777: 7 Sentences From Page 77

I was delighted to be one of the seven tagged by Rob Kitchin to take part in the 777 Challenge!

Now all I had to do was choose seven sentences from either page seven or page seventy-seven from my work-in-progress and post it here before passing the challenge on to seven more writers I admire.

My 7 from 77 starts here:

‘You could say that,’ said Lisa, with a bitter laugh, ‘but not really by choice, I just had to know – I needed to find out what could make him do what he did.’ She looked up into John’s eyes as Charlie placed a fresh coffee in front of her. She took a few sips, holding the Styrofoam cup between unsteady hands.

 The room was silent as a morgue.

 ‘The reason that I joined the force was . . .’

‘Jesus Christ, are the two of us the only ones doing any work around here while you lot sit around having afternoon coffee,’ said Stephen, ‘good job we brought these so,’ he sniggered, dumping a box of donuts beside the coffee pot and helping himself.

I’ve chosen seven writers who I hope will take up the challenge (no pressure).  Check them out here:

Arlene Hunt
Brian Kirk
Derek Flynn
Joe McCoubrey
Katy O’Dowd
Laurence O’Bryan
Martin J Frankson

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