Tuesday, August 10, 2010

How To Write A Panel Discussion Proposal

No, I'm not telling you. I'm asking you.

The Romance Writers of America's annual conference just ended in Orlando, Florida--which means it's time to start preparing for the RWA next year! I'm especially keen on preparing because I didn't go to Orlando this year--and given how sick The Kid was and how flea-ridden the dogs were, turned out to be a mistake on my part. (Okay, yes, it's a good thing I was here to take care of the stomach flu and strep throat. But that doesn't mean I have to like it.)

I'm going to New York, baby. And I'm taking The Husband and The Kid with me. They'll run around and do crazy things like see Mary Poppins on stage (The Kid's aunt Weet is a drama teacher. We've raised him to appreciate musical theater!) and a Mets game while I meet and greet, and then we'll spend three days together climbing several thousand stairs to the top of the Statue of Liberty.

Here's the thing, though. New York ain't cheap for one person. For three people? Plus conference fees? I need a plan to help 'defray my costs,' which is Husband-speak for 'make it cheaper.'

So I've got a plan. I'm going to submit a proposal to present a panel discussion on the current state of Cowboys in Romance today. Obviously, I write 'new' westerns, with a fresh take on contemporary Cowboys and Indians. I've already gotten the wonderfully talented Kaki Warner to agree to do it with me--Kaki is a 'new' voice writing historical westerns, and her books are amazing. My Agent has also agreed to sit on the panel, and Kaki was going to see if her agent would join us. We are good to go. All I have to do now is submit the proposal for the panel discussion.

Um, help? The previous proposals I've submitted for conferences were basically me calling up the organizer and saying, "Do you want me to do a presentation?" and the organizer going, "Could you? That'd be great." But RWA gets hundreds--possibly a thousand--proposals. What should I do to make my proposal stand out?

I'm so open to suggestions. Thanks!


Blythe Gifford said...

Follow the form carefully. Having agents (even an editor, if you can) helps alot. Come up with a catchy title. Something provocative. (Ironic that cowboys sell in category so well. Why not elsewhere?) Send in copies of your handouts. (They may change, yes, but it helps.) You're off to a good start. Good luck!

Sarah M. Anderson said...

Thanks, Blythe! Worksheets--hmmmm. I'll have to think on that one for a while!

Brian Crawford said...

Maybe you can work Steampunk into it somehow... agents and publishers seem to love that these days! You could call it Steampunk Cowboy... hey, that sounds like a good name for a band.