Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Conference Hangover...

And no, not because I drank too much. 

I attended the NOLA STARS conference in Shreveport Louisiana March 1-2. Besides presenting my workshop on finding time to write, I attended several workshops and even had a successful pitch for a romantic suspense I’ve been writing. 

But the most interesting segment of the weekend was an open panel with four editors and an agent.  Now, the focus of the conference was romance writing – with a definite slant to the inspirational market with one editor and the only agent both focusing on the that aspect, but I thought there were several takeaways that would be of interest to mystery writers as well.

So here goes.

Editors are all in agreement that paranormal is a hard sell right now.  You have to be ultra-original with plot, characters, and world building to catch their eye.

Editors are split on exclusivity to a publishing house.  One editor said she understood that writers need to be writing for more than one house to develop their career.  The agent on the panel agreed that it was to the author’s best interest to be able to write for several houses (If they can juggle a lot of projects.)  The other three editors wanted a writer to commit to their house.  One even said it this way, “Please don’t cheat on me.”

This editor was from a Big 6 house.  And my thoughts are that this attitude has worked for the traditional houses.  Especially when they throw around advances (which isn’t a bad thing.) But I’m not sure it’s as applicable or even appropriate in the new digital world. If I’m not being paid to go steady (with a substantial advance) I feel it’s my duty to my writing career to check out what’s out there. 

The other shocker was the panel’s answer to how many books do you want from an author annually.  One editor said six.  And the room gasped.  But this was repeated during a self-publishing workshop from a successful SP author.  She said you had to get something out every two months to keep your name in the public eye.  Even the traditional publishers wanted two or three manuscripts a year.

The one thing that the conference taught me?  Publishing is changing and as an author, you have to be the queen of your own universe. 

What have you learned lately about the industry?


Morgan Mandel said...

I've learned the only thing that's constant is change!

Morgan Mandel

Marilyn Meredith a.k.a. F. M. Meredith said...

I write two books a year an can barely do that. 6 books a year and I wouldn't survive. Don't these authors have lives?

Carolyn J. Rose said...

I can't write three to six books a year - I can't sit that long - I'd need a butt transplant if I tried for more than two.

Kevin R. Tipple said...

The one thing I have noticed is the bestselling authors who now are forced to generate two books a year just are not nearly as good now.

Interesting that they said the paranormal is a hard sell these days as that is still the number one genre in my review requests from self published and traditional publishers. Why that is I have no idea since I don't do those as anyone could see if they spent any time at all reading my reviews.

Lynn Cahoon said...

The increase in book production really made everyone squirm. Listening to a self-pub (success), she said she releases something every two months. A novella, a different version, or a bundle.

I see paranormal changing, but not disappearing.

Maybe a story about an author with a butt transplant... LOL