2:45 PM – I realize the conference is not in the same building as last year. Lesson: read the directions BEFORE you drive 55 miles.
3:00 PM – Found the registration table! Packet in hand, on way to first lecture. Notice the coffee service has not been set up yet. A low murmur is evident. There is a definite disturbance in the Force here. Lesson: bring coffee next year.
3:30 PM – Lecture begins. Topic: Memoirs. Interesting, although not my genre. That said – over half the discussion was about the publishing industry’s new business model – transmedia storytelling, or simply put: e-books. Very interesting, especially hearing notes taken from recent meetings with the “C Suite” executives at the big Houses in New York. Lesson: As suspected, the gatekeeper isn’t the editor in chief anymore. Now, the digital marketing team has tremendous power in the acquisition decision.
4:00 PM – Someone’s cell phone rings. Eh. What can you do? Of course, why not answer it and converse while the guest is presenting? Lesson: Remember there’s always one in every crowd. Just keep breathing and resist urge to choke.
4:45 PM – Follow-on Q & A. The room was clearly divided, albeit unequally. 10 people under 40 and 40 over 50. The latter group was split into both sides of the digital divide: those who have embraced the Internet and all it can do, and those wanting nothing to do with it. Lesson: You can lead a horse to water…
5:15 PM – Dinner break. Very nice boxed dinner. AND COFFEE!
5:45 PM – Open mic readings. 5 minutes per. Lesson: There is a difference between reading and communicating. Be a communicator.
8:15 PM – Call it a day. Go back to hotel. Lesson 1: park closer tomorrow. Lesson 2: Don’t forget the umbrella. Geez, I have three. You would think at least one would be in the car.
Reflection: The update on industry trends made the conference worth the registration fee. I could write pages on what was said, but let me just give credit to Kristen Lamb and her book We Are Not Alone – the Writer’s Guide to Social Media. Everything Kristen has said in her book was validated by the literary agent today.
Today’s Final Lesson: If you are serious about joining the ranks of commercially published authors, you must have a platform. The sooner the better. If you aren’t familiar with the term platform, check out Kristen’s book or her website. Think of it this way: when Simon and Schuster reports over 80% of their profit last year was due to e-books, you need to have a platform.
I have work to do.
Tomorrow: the one on one with the agent. Stay tuned!