KILLER NASHVILLE and A BIT MORE
By Randy Rawls
From August 23rd through the 26th, I was ensconced in the Hutton Hotel in Nashville, Tennessee as a conferee at Killer Nashville. I used to do lots of conferences, but slowed down my attendance when they became inseparable in their offerings. However, the need for publicity being what it is, I decided I had to get back on the circuit. Boy, am I glad I started with Killer Nashville.
Not that it was my first trip (actually, second), but it was my best trip. Clay Stafford and his staff have broken the mold and set a new high for writer's conferences. Before I forget, Beth (Jaden) Terrell is definitely the hostess with the mostest.
It seemed that with the advent of "approved publisher lists" some years ago, conference panels were filled with the same folks from con to con—those who had a publisher on the "list". Nothing wrong with that, I suppose, if you're one of those lucky people. But that's a small, very small, percentage of writers today. The vast majority are on the outside looking in, the proverbial kid in the candy store.
But not Killer Nashville. Sure, they had the NY pubb'd and a great lineup of Guests of Honor, but they also offered exposure for "outsiders". For example, there were "reader" panels where authors read from their books. I was lucky enough to be on one of them. I read from my book, THORNS ON ROSES, not from an "approved" publisher.
Chester Campbell attended and was a panelist. Last I remember, Chester wasn't published by an "approved" publisher, either. But he's a dynamite author and Killer Nashville recognized it.
Sylvia Dickey Smith, another "unapproved" author had an hour session to herself. She was as knowledgeable as any NY published author would have been.
Our own Mark Troy was there in several key spots. (He also brought home a Bronze Medal in the Claymore Award. Congratulations again, Mark.)
I had the opportunity to meet and hear many other talented people. In fact, far too many to try and name here.
Ebooks and self-publishing venues, as well as small presses, received ample exposure through the eyes of those who do them.
And, of course, there were the NY published authors. What I'm trying to say is Killer Nashville reminded me of conferences I attended during the '90's and first few years of the 2000's. Something for everyone with snobbery held to a minimum.
If you only attend one conference in 2013, I recommend it be Killer Nashville. And be sure to sign up early so you can get a featured position.
A bit of tooting my own horn here. Today, I received the first review of HOT ROCKS, which will be released by Midnight Ink in November. It was from Kirkus and will be in their September 15 edition. Couldn't knock the smile off my face with a frozen salmon.