Genrecon, Brisbane

In short, Genrecon was a blast!

Held at the State Library of Queensland, it was three days of learning, participating and making new friends.

This was the third writing conference I’ve been part of, and as well as listening to some amazing speakers, I was invited to be on two panels and got to present my own workshop on developing ideas for dystopian novels based on social media.

On the terrace of the State Library of Queensland

Ironically, one of my panels was about social media for authors. I didn’t think I was qualified enough to be part of this, but in the end, I think a few of us surprised ourselves at just how much advice we gave.

I was honoured to share the stage with Aiki Flinthart, and popular authors, Kate Forsyth and Belinda Pollard. Kate gave a perspective that was much more personally driven than the ‘get out there and be seen’ ideas the rest of us were sharing.

Some selfies taken by Belinda Pollard. From left to right: Belinda Pollard, me, Kate Forsyth, Aiki Flinthart and Carleton Chinner

The day before I joined a six hour class conducted by Kylie Fennell on the very topic of social media for authors. She recognised me from the #auswrites tag on Twitter. It’s kind of cool to be known before you rock up to an event. And her tips are slowly being rolled out on my website and my socials.

On Saturday afternoon I attended Alan Baxter’s talk titled ‘Thriving as a Hybrid Author’ which gave me a new appreciation of my small but robust publisher. Then it was time to give my talk.

Authors workshop story ideas during my session.

I had rehearsed my presentation for this con many times throughout the year, including in the training room at work in front of friends. My husband, Warren, and our good friend, Clinton, attended the real presentation for moral support. And the participants not only got into the spirit, they also expanded on the topic of social media in general.

Afterwards, I thanked them for taking part and admitted that once I knew I had a ninety minute workshop to present, I was shitting myself most of the year.

My only drawback at the conference was that my books hadn’t shown up in time. Apparently this also happened to two other people. I received an email from the library bookshop the night before asking if I had any spare copies of my novels. I only had one. I had three more sitting at home back in Sydney.

On Sunday, the library bookstore had a stand right outside the auditorium where I was part of the ‘Love in Strange Worlds’ panel with Kaydence Snow, Jasmin Eve and Rivqu Rafeal. However, I did find out that the one book I had provided sold the day before.

The Love in Strange Worlds panel. Photo by the Queensland Writers Centre. From left to right: The back of my head, Kaydence Snow, Jaymin Eve, Rivqa Rafael and Jake Corvus.

On Sunday afternoon I attended Rob Porteous’s talk on finding a theme for your novel. For some reason his presentation inspired me to think of a fresh twist to one of my works in progress. So while I was busy taking notes about what Rob was sharing, I kept flicking back a few pages in my notebook to write my ideas for my new chapters.

Several times over the weekend I was taken aside and asked for advice from budding new writers, and was invited to be a sensitivity reader by author, Carleton Chinner, who has a gay character in a current work in progress.

And this is what makes it all worth it. You pick up great advice. You meet other authors at various stages of their careers. And you realise that even though you’re not in the big league, you still have something to share for those still working on their first book.

Thanks heaps to the Queensland Writers Centre and their amazing staff for inviting me.

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