Final Thoughts On the Muse Online Conference

The conference is technically over, although the info in the forums (including chat transcripts) will still be available for the next two weeks to those who registered.

So...was it worth it?

Well, first off, it was free, and who's going to turn up their nose at that? :-)

Second, there were a couple of duds at the conference, with one presenter basically talking just about himself (during his chat) and all of the services he has available, and another presenter just giving us links to her characters' websites or whatever.

The first one imparted a couple of things, but it irked me about his services. (There was a forum where you could provide links, which is what I think he should have done.)

At least I came away with a little bit.

The second presenter? Either she wasn't prepared, she figured it was a good way to promo her novels, or she figured she could just wing it (she didn't send any stuff prior to the conference, which would have made up for the lack of anything constructive).

Note to presenters: Please don't wing it. Send something ahead of time (even if it's just two or three pages of "this is what I did") or give us an exercise or two to work with and let us know what worked and didn't with our stuff.

BTW, humor doesn't make up for the lack of exercises or paperwork sent ahead of time. Sorry.

All in all, though, I thought this was a well-presented cyber conference. Those presenters whom I didn't sit in on the live chats provided exercises, and provided their opinions, for which I'm grateful. (Whether they liked what I did or were confused or whatever, I don't care; how else am I going to go forward with this writing gig if someone doesn't give me an idea of where I'm at?)

For me, the best of the live chats was from a lady who gave ideas on pet publications; I'm looking at doing some non fiction to get in some extra bucks. She came up with a bunch of things I never would've thought of.

The best of the forums is harder to nail. For me, though, I'll pick the one on How to Make Your Love Scenes Sizzle. I didn't really think I could come up with anything halfway decent, but the presenter complimented me on that first exercise. :-) I got to the second exercise very late, but I decided to try that one, too, and...wow, I just kept writing and it was a bit sensual...

I'll be going back to my regular schedule starting tomorrow, you lucky people, you! :-)

~Nancy Beck


Angie said...

It's not just the online conferences, unfortunately. I used to work the Computer Game Developer's Conference and only a fraction of the presenters sent in papers ahead of time to be published in the proceedings. One or two each year just sent in copies of hand-scribbled notes, which was annoying enough, but far too many didn't bother.

Some people can lecture beautifully by the seat of their pants and others can't. My best guess is that when you take people who do something else for a living -- that is, people who don't teach every day, or give briefings to groups or whatever -- and just come to talk once every year or three at a conference, they just don't know what to do because they never learned how. Seeing so many other people sort of half-winging, half-stumbling through at however many conferences they attend just reinforces that that's where the standard is and... there you go.

It sounds like you had a good time overall, though, and got some good info out of it. That's what counts, right? :)


April said...

I wish I would have known about that in time to register! It sounds like for the most part, it was helpful. I never knew authors made character blogs. To me..I don't know. That seems like a waste of time. I mean, who would read them? I wouldn't. I read a book, and I'm good. I don't need a daily update on the characters. Unless, that's how she writes. I don't know..I guess.

If you hear of any other online conferences, let us know! I can't afford to go to any right now, so a free online one sounds great!

~Nancy said...

It sounds like you had a good time overall, though, and got some good info out of it. That's what counts, right? :)

Correctomundo. :-)

As to that one presenter...if she'd come up with just 1 exercise...1 little exercise, I probably wouldn't be so irked by her.

But, maybe you're right, in that people who do something else for living just don't know what to do when they decide to tackle a conference (from a presenter's point of view, that is). One lady took us through her publishing contract. Informative, sent in a handout ahead of time.

But the handout was filled with typos!

Live chats and postings I can sort of understand that typos will happen (I'm SO anal because of my office job). But on a handout? Freaked me, in a professional way, but I felt the overall info was good, so I gave her a pass.

That was awfully nice of me, hm? ;-)

~Nancy said...

I never knew authors made character blogs. To me..I don't know. That seems like a waste of time. I mean, who would read them? I wouldn't.


There was a good live chat I was on about Internet marketing (setting up a website, blogging, etc.), and I asked about a character "owning" a blog or a website.

The presenter said he'd never heard of such a thing, but he supposed it might work. The thing he thought wouldn't work was upkeep; having to keep at the blog at least a couple of times a week. How long would such a thing last?

I know of one author, who debuted this year, has an ongoing conversation with the MC of her book. But it's her (the author's) blog/website, not the character's. It's fun to have a character write poems or something like that, but I don't why an author would want to have a character blog.

As part of a blog or website, sure, but not the entire reason for the blog.

Yeah, I looked through the author's character websites, and while they seemed like pleasant diversions, it didn't get me to buy her books. (And the pics she had to show what her characters looked like looked as if she'd culled them from off the web: Not very impressive.)

So, yeah, if you just want to do it to kind of get used to the idea of blogging every day, I suppose you could do one. (The character websites were hosted on Geocities, which, if she's trying to come off as professional in any way, isn't the way to do it.)

Ack, I'm getting irked again. Time to leave that behind! :-)

Angie said...

Something I learned doing online classes -- you write the lecture part up ahead of time (and proof it, LOL!) so you have it ready to copy/paste into the chat window a paragraph at a time, leaving thirty seconds or so for people to read in between chunks. Once you're in Q&A or anything similarly interactive, that's the time to wing it, and when a certain number of typos and such are forgiveable.

Of course, one could do the lecture as a hand-out ahead of time, and use everyone's online time more productively [cough] but guaranteeing that everyone would actually read the hand-out before the conference started was quite another matter. It depends how hard-nosed you're willing to be with your students, and how ruthless about letting people who flaked out on the reading fall by the wayside. IMO, though, it's worse to expect people to do advance reading, and then make the people who did it wait while you catch up the flakes who didn't, so if you do the advance reading thing you need to stick to your guns.

And yeah -- someone who makes their living by writing should be able to produce a typo-free hand-out. Or at least, something substantial with only one or maybe a couple of mistakes. I wouldn't trust a writer who handed me something prepared ahead of time which was full of typos, unless they were, like, massively up into bestsellerdom. [wry smile]

About character blogs, I could see that being a lot of fun for the readers, especially if the character were in an ongoing series rather than just a one-shot. But the amount of work it'd be for the writer to keep it up is just boggling. :/ And figure, a writer who sees that as a major marketing tool would want to do that for, like, every protag of all their books, right? [blinkblink] You'd have to hire assistants just to keep up with all your character blogs! :P I don't think so.

Torquere does occasional promotions where they ask the writers to come up with little bits to give away, and those often include letters or recipes or something "written by" a character. I think that's a good compromise, as opposed to trying to keep something up on a regular basis.


~Nancy said...

Torquere does occasional promotions where they ask the writers to come up with little bits to give away, and those often include letters or recipes or something "written by" a character.

Oh, that's fine, and it sounds like fun. :-) I could definitely see doing something like that, especially for a series character.