Monday, May 12, 2014

Conference Recap, Part Deux

Holy cow, it's Monday!

I should have written the recap while it was still fresh in my mind. I think I'm blocking it out for my own protection. ;)

Okay, so we move on to Saturday, where I started the day with even less sleep than the night before, because none of my technology would work to play me some music (and I need "white noise" to sleep). After several frustrating hours, I got my little iPod out, which was sitting in red for battery, and it had just enough juice to help me fall asleep for a few hours.

I moderated two sessions Saturday, one on blogging for writers and one on facing the excuses that keep us from writing, both by excellent speakers (Aaron Michael Ritchey and Jenny Lovett).

I helped setup for lunch then sat with Pete Klismet (one of our CSI speakers, retired FBI profiler). And I screwed up on my last post. Bonnie gave the stirring tribute speech about members lost this year on Saturday, directly preceding Jim C. Hines. Unfortunately, I had to set up for the book signing, so missed his speech. I heard after the fact that he had addressed diversity in writing.

My job at the book signing, once we had it all set up, was to mug people going in and out of the door. Okay, no mugging required, but I had to make sure no one left with a book they hadn't paid for yet, and anyone coming in with already purchased books got a sticker so I wouldn't have to mug them when they tried to leave. The book sale went well, and I didn't have to tackle anyone, so it was good.

I had left myself a space of time to rest up a bit before dinner, so I had some snackage in the green room, hung out with some folks for a bit, then actually went and had a shower. A SHOWER! Boy, I needed that shower. By the time I was done, it was time to rush down to the ballroom to set up for dinner. It was banquet night, so people dress anywhere between jeans and formal gowns. I wore a semi-formal gown. I don't really have pics of it, so here's the one I have from BarCon later on. (Shortly after this photo, I clipped my hair up and traded heels for slipper socks. Ahhhh, better.)

The dinner speaker was Hank Phillippi Ryan, who was inspirational, to say the least. I sat with Chuck Wendig and a bunch of friends, which was nice (typically, you pick your faculty member and sit with a bunch of strangers unless you have a friend who wants to sit with the same person). We had fun and joked around, and I got to relax because there was no terrifying costume contest. Yay!

After dinner was BarCon, with much ensuing goofiness. (And somewhere in there I ran around and did signs). Then sleeeeeeeep. Well, much hilarity, then sleep. Though still not much, I did get some more sleep than the night before. Thank goodness.

Sunday, the final day! Survival of the fittest! I went ahead and got up early enough to eat breakfast with everyone else (until this point, I had Carnation Instant Breakfast in the room each morning). Sat with some of my fellow staff, Terese Ramin, and Jim C. Hines, both of whom were nice.

Then I was off! I signed up to moderate every single session this day (there were three--it's a half day). First session was Jumpstart Your Rewrite with Trai Cartwright. Everyone groaned when we ran out of time, so it was a powerful presentation. She covered the steps of your story and what to look for in the plot itself when editing.

By Mohamed Ibrahim
Next, Bookstore 101 with Kris Neri. She gave great info on how authors should deal with bookstores (well, if you want them to want to carry your books for you...). There was quite a bit I hadn't thought of before, and quite a bit that surprised me. She had horror stories about rude authors, including one who convinced them to carry her book, then came in and hand sold her own copy (NOT the store's inventory) to someone right there in the store!! She also discussed the rules some publishers put on books that make them unappealing to carry for small bookstores, such as the only reasonable price being for those who buy over a certain number. Small, privately run bookstores can't afford to purchase 100 of a book to get a discount, and they can't afford to purchase books at full price. They have to make some sort of profit to keep the store open. She said to not try to fib that you shop at a store just to get the to sell their books--a small bookstore will know if you shop there. Tell the truth from the beginning, and it's not an automatic no. Also, since bookstores are area-dependent, not all bookstores can move your book, depending on the dynamics of the area. If the shop owner is nice enough to tell you why they can't carry it, just take it, don't keep fighting them. If you leave a bad impression now, maybe a book that would have worked in the future won't be accepted, either, because you've made a nuisance of yourself.

My final session was Marketing Children's Books, with Evangeline Denmark. She discussed those extra ways of marketing, like doing fun activities at a signing, school visits, etc. At the end, she had a couple people come up and tell us what their children's story consisted of, then got suggestions from the audience for how to market it (for a book about a baby gorilla, people suggested contacting zoos and wildlife sanctuaries, and other ideas like that.). Also, bringing treats is always good. To prove it, she even brought in cookies, both regular and unleaded (gluten-free).

Finally, it was lunch time. I sat with Jaxine Daniels, a friend and romance author, and Chuck Wendig gave the final speech at conference. He was hysterical, and ended it nicely. Quit making excuses and write, people!

After lunch, I had been volunteered to coordinate getting all our stuff back to the storage rooms. So several hours later, I went home and promptly passed out on the sofa, where the hubster snuck a photo of me.

And that's all, fo...zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

Do you have experience with speaking to bookstores to get them to carry your books? Any pointers for the rest of us?

May you find your Muse.


  1. You look good in that photo.
    I wouldn't try to slip past you without paying for a book though.
    Selling one's own books inside the bookstore is really rude.

  2. Love hearing about all this. I was able to get my local bookstore to carry my book but they wouldn't do any kind of a signing because I'm an unknown :(

  3. Great recap. Sounds like a lot of fun as well as work.

    I love learning marketing tips.

  4. Wow, it sounds like you were so totally non-stop busy! I can see why you passed out on the couch. :)

    I've never spoken to a bookstore about my books - someday I might get brave enough to ask! :)

  5. One of these years, I'm going to be down for this conference. The two sessions you moderated sound wonderful!

  6. Nice recap. I'm still so far behind it took me this long to comment. You deserve a million naps for all that you did and DO for PPW. :)