Skip to content

Find Success at the Conference–Like These People

August 5, 2012

By Chris Coward

Bling! Another graphics-packed spam email. My finger hovers over the Delete key.… No, wait.

The message is from Double Edge Press (DEP), a traditional publisher, friend of FWA, and conference faculty. I scan it. DEP is announcing publication of books by DL Havlin, Chuck Dowling, and Sunny Serafino. These are names I know—all FWA members—and I wonder if FWA played a role in their success.

I decide to ask.

“I probably wouldn’t have come in contact with my current (and superb) publisher, Double Edge Press, without participating in the annual conference,” says Dennis Havlin, author of The Cross on Cotton Creek. “My third book with DEP will be released in November and was an RPLA winner last October. Of my six books in print, FWA had direct or indirect involvement with four.”

DEP is also publishing Chuck Dowling’s First to Fight, a 2011 Royal Palm Literary Award (RPLA) winner. “I met Rebecca Melvin from Double Edge Press at the 2009 FWA conference when we were signing books together and again in 2010,” Chuck says. Chuck’s relationship with DEP has continued. The publisher will reprint his first two published novels and the first two novels from his new series on King Arthur, both RPLA winners. They have also agreed to publish two works in progress: the third book in his King Arthur series and the fourth book in the Marine Corps series.

Sunny Serafino

Finally, there’s Sunny Serafino’s book, Finding Amy. Who could forget delightfully flustered Sunny at last year’s RPLA Awards Banquet when Finding Amy was named RPLA’s 2011 Unpublished Book of the Year?

Sunny says, “I had self-published nine books (eight novels and one memoir) when I met Rebecca Melvin at the 2010 FWA conference. Her mother had purchased one of my books at the bookstore, told her daughter she loved it, and Rebecca asked me to send her my latest manuscript. It was Forgiven, which she took and published. The next year when Finding Amy took first in Women’s Fiction and Unpublished Book of the Year, she wanted that one, too.”


So now we put DEP’s announcement into context: It is one announcement from one publisher. Dennis, Chuck, and Sunny are not the only authors to have found success through FWA. Talk with fellow writers at the conference. Poke around the FWA Network. Success stories like these abound.

“FWA has been … a great assist in getting my works published,” Dennis says. “I’ve been a member since the organization’s early days and can attest [to] the educational opportunities for aspiring and established authors.”

The 2012 Florida Writers conference, “The Magic of the Pen,” will be held October 19-21, 2012, at the Orlando Marriott Lake Mary. The faculty will include seven agents representing the full range of genres and eight publishers, from traditional to subsidy and everything in between. Check out the conference details and register now and make your appointments.

If you have a publishing success story to share, please send it to, and I’ll submit it for the Kudos section of FWA’s quarterly magazine, The Florida Writer. We’ll probably prepare a blog post or two, as well. In your email, please mark the subject line “Kudos: <insert your name>.” I’ll be on the lookout for your emails and promise not to hit the Delete key.

If you’re published, what’s your story? If not, which agents and publishers do you wish to interview at the upcoming conference?

Chris Coward is a member of the FWA Board of Directors, the 2012 FWA conference marketing chairperson, and group leader for the Oxford Writers FWA critique group. She is a former college English instructor, magazine editor, marketing director, and speech writer.


Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: