There are writers conventions, salons, workshops, retreats, and meetups throughout the country. I have been to many, but few have I enjoyed as much as last weekend’s Orlando Indie Bookfest 2015. Most of the activity -panels, signing, authors, bloggers – were the same as other events. The chief difference was the camaraderie.
I spent time with an earnest crowd of more than 100 authors, fans and bloggers who were as anxious to meet and encourage solid acquaintances as well as nurture newbies in the nuance of their crafts. One thing is certain, if you already are, or want to be a serious author, the road is open. The publishing industry has undergone a paradigm shift. E-books have revolutionized where an author can reach. The rest depends on desire, talent and organization. You could feel the warmth and good spirits in the sessions where candor was key in shaping an atmosphere where those new to authorship could find a leg up, and old guys like me, who have published in traditional houses could find a a boat load of information and encouragement to reinvent.
Orlando hosted similar events in 2013 and 2014, so IBF 2015 co-convener Tawdra Kandle, who writes Paranormal, New Adult and Contemporary Romance, said she and partner, blogger and Urban Fantasy and Contemporary Romance author Mandie Stevens were not new to the idea. At the same time, they had no concept the biggest challenge was going to be time.
- How much physical work went into tasks on July 31, the first full day of the gathering. “My body is one big hurt today,” she wrote.
- How accommodating everyone was at the Caribe Royale Resort.
- The awesomeness of Jana Oliver. “She is so much fun,” Tawdra said.
I can attest to that, too. I called the award-winning prolific author a force of nature. Throughout the three days she moved through session after session with conversations in between and always held a ready smile and a quick wit. Some credit in that should extend to her husband/roadie Henry. He was always behind the scenes with what she needed to shine. When I complimented them on their contributions to the event, and mentioned Henry, Jana joked, “He says I’m his retirement plan.”