Tuesday, February 25, 2014

The proper dressing of an author (AKA what to wear to a conference)

Today I was asked to give you some tips and ideas on how to dress for a conference, particularly for the LDStorymakers conference in April here in UT.

So let's just dive right in, shall we? *rubs hands together* (Did you know I almost started my own personal consultation business, where I would basically charge a small fee to be a personal shopper and help people find flattering outfits? Random, I know. But I really do enjoy going shopping with friends and helping them find something that really makes them look awesome, that they might not have picked out for themselves. Anyway, I digress...On to the tips!)

First, let's chat about personal hygiene. You'd think this should go without saying, but let's put it out there, just for the heck of it. It doesn't matter how great your outfit is if you stink. Deodorant/Anti-perspirant is a must. Brushing your teeth is a must. Showering/bathing is preferable, if possible. Bring breath mints or gum (but spit it out before your pitch session) because after half a day of talking and candy and pop, you're going to need a little breath-fixer-upper. On the flip side, don't drown yourself in cologne/perfume. You don't want to make the agent's eyes water and their nose burn, right? A spritz or two should do.

Okay, now that we have that out of the way, on to the fun stuff: the outfits!!

I might have gotten a bit carried away with this. I kind of love clothes. The idea when going to a conference is to look put together, professional even (especially if you are pitching your manuscript), but to also be comfortable in your skin. Don't buy a brand new pair of shoes the day before--you'll be searching for band-aids for your blisters by lunchtime. You will be walking A LOT at a writer's conference. Use your favorite, cute shoes that you know you can handle a couple of miles in. Or, if you want to buy new ones, get them a month in advance and break them in.

The point of the pictures below are just to give you a few ideas of what you could do. You don't have to go broke buying a new wardrobe for a two day conference. Look through your closet for similar items to help put your outfits together. And ladies remember: accessories make the outfit.Or your shoes. Anyone who knows me, probably knows how much I love shoes.

But let's start with the boys. You'll see a trend in this post of pairing casual clothing with a dressier item or two for a really great professional look that is still comfortable. For example:

 The surprise of the nice jacket with some nice pants, casual shoes and a thin sweater/hoodie or even a graphic tee can be a great look.

Or you can go for a slightly dressier look, but still dialed down a bit with a nice pair of jeans. Comfy but still very professional:

If you're pitching to an agent or editor, these are some slightly dressier looks, without needing to wear a complete suit:

 Wow, that's tiny. Basically, you can't go wrong with a button down shirt and some khaki's or slacks.

Or you could just totally go for it and show up like this:

Or, you could just be Chris Pine:

No pitch necessary, please sign on the line.

Okay, just kidding on those last two. I couldn't resist. ;-)

(BTW boys, these are all excellent suggestions for date night if you really want to wow your girl. Just sayin'.)

Now, on to the girls!!

This is a nice business casual look that is professional enough to pitch in, if you're not comfortable in a dress. You can rock a chambray shirt under a nice sweater--mix your casual items with nicer items and you have a great comfy chapter look! And as I said, the nice touch with the accessories really finish the look. It only takes a second to add a necklace and some earrings or a nice bracelet to an outfit, but it can make all the difference. (Side note: If your outfit is more neutral in color, you can odd pops of color with your shoes or accessories.)

These next few are nice casual outfits that are perfect for looking put-together but not too dressy at a conference, if you're not pitching to an agent/editor:

These two outfits would work for a pitch session, IMO. They've got a nice mix of casual and dressy. But if it were me, I would probably wear a pair of shoes with a bit more color for the outfit above, just to add interest to this outfit. (Even though those ARE cute. I'm just a bit obsessed with cool, unique heels/shoes to add a pop of color/interest to an outfit.)
(Although if it were me, I'd probably wear black pants instead of jeans if I were pitching. Or at least a darker wash.)

If you do feel comfortable in a dress, it's always nice to put one on for a pitch session. Here are a few ideas:

All of these are great examples of business casual attire that are perfect for wowing your future agent or editor with the first impression they'll have when you walk in the door--then you can wow them even more with your pitch!

And finally, here's an example of finding an outfit you like and then trying to re-create it from what you have in your closet:

I saw this outfit on pinterest and really loved it. I thought about going shopping, but then decided to see if I could find similar items in my closet and came up with this:
Not too bad, right?

So, in summary--try to go for a professional but comfortable look, make sure you don't stink, and have a great time!

I think I need to go shopping now....

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Reviews of Happiness + 1 month post-debut giveaway!!

Wow, what a month huh? I can hardly believe it's nearly been that long since DEFY was released. It's been a crazy, wonderful whirlwind, and I honestly can't thank you all enough for your excitement about my book! Every tweet, FB message, text, email, phone call, or smoke signal telling me that you loved DEFY mean so much to me. Seriously, they brighten my days and make everything it's taken to get to this point worth it. So THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!! Seriously, thank you, SO SO much.

In happy news, a couple of big trade publications also loved DEFY! Wanna hear what they had to say??

From VOYA:

Alexa has posed as a boy for the last three years allowing her to serve in the royal guard where she is the best fighter in the elite group which serves and protects the crown prince…. 

….The heroes of the story find themselves part of an elaborate plot to end the war. While Alexa has believed her understanding of reality to be truth, she is repeatedly shocked when secrets are revealed showing her that the life and mind of the prince and the politics of the palace are more complicated than she imagined. Her competence as a fighter and quick thinking are valued by those around her, regardless of her gender. This action-packed fantasy holds much page-turning appeal. —Erin Wyatt.

And from SLJ:

Gr 8 Up–In Alexa’s world, young men are soldiers and young women are the means to breed new ones. There is no alternative. So when Alexa’s parents are killed and their home destroyed by a sorcerer, Alexa cuts her hair and enrolls in the army to save herself from the breeding house. Trained by their father and polished by the army, “Alex” and her twin, Marcel, earn places in the prince’s guard as the best swordsmen in the kingdom. But the palace is full of secrets and as the story continues to build in suspense, it’s clear that Prince Damian has more than most. Alex is a bold heroine whose priorities are protecting her prince and her people, but the lines between good and evil blur as she gleans more truth about the royal family she serves. Her destiny is revealed when her own power comes to fruition, a power that could end the greatest corruption of all. Larson’s debut is full of passion and adventure, urging readers to cheer and weep simultaneously at Alexa’s astounding courage. Those interested in strong female characters, such as Katniss from Suzanne Collins’s The Hunger Games, will find new affinity in Defy.–Jamie- Lee Schombs, Loyola School, New York City

WOW, right?!?! I got these while I was in Seattle, and so my publicist can attest to the fact that I was literally bouncing with excitement and bursting with happiness when I read them! 

So to celebrate good reviews, and 1 month of being an officially published author, and just because it's cold and yucky out side and we all need some happiness in our lives, why don't we do a little giveaway? 

How about...a signed/personalized copy of DEFY (final hardcover!) PLUS an ARC of BURN OUT by Kristi Helvig!! Sound good??

Okay, here's how it's going to work. This is going to be called the "DEFY in the Wild" giveaway! (or #DEFYintheWild on Twitter) All you have to do is take a picture of DEFY--anywhere you want! The store, the library, your bookshelf, wherever you see it! And you can get as creative as you want. In fact, I may have an extra surprise in store for the most creative picture I get of DEFY in the Wild!!! :-) 

Make sure to tag me in your post--be it Twitter, FB, or your blog/tumblr. Just make sure I see it! Then come back, and paste your link to the post below and get your entry in. In one week, I'll use rafflecopter to do a random drawing of everyone who has entered to win both books! I will also announce the winner (and what they get) for the most creative #DEFYintheWild post I see! 

Good luck! I'm excited to see your pictures! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway