But I'm getting ahead of myself. First off, the question everyone on Facebook wanted to know -- would I be brave enough to wear the leopard-print platform heels I'd bought a few weeks back?? And the answer was YES! But only up to lunchtime, then I had to swap to ballet flats. They were actually surprisingly more comfortable (and stable) than I'd thought. Although I did feel VERY tall in them.
|Fuzzy pic of
Fun fact I learned from the Harlequin presentation this morning: 1 in every 6 mass market books sold in North America is a Harlequin. Whoa.
|The lovely Paula Roe took
this photo of me at lunch
with my virgin pina colada!
So the next session I attended was titled New York, New Directions, and it was a panel made up of literary agent Helen Breitwieser, editor from St. Martin's Press Monique Patterson, authors Alexandra Sokoloff and Eloisa James and Harlequin editor Birgit Davis-Todd.
I wrote quite a few notes from this session because I thought there were some interesting things discussed. The two questions that were asked that provoked the most interesting answers were:
What will publishing look like in two years?
- people will continue to be reading more than ever
- we will need to find new ways to reach readers who are no longer browsing for books in bookstores -- options like "gamification" and using online algorithms to find them will become important, as readers want to become immersed in the world of their authors (I'm really interested in exploring this topic further!)
- there will be more overlap between books, TV, movies and games
- e-readers continue to provide a more immediate and intimate connection between authors and readers -- and so does social media
- authors need to be aware of their on-line brand (their franchise, Eloisa James called it) and reputation and of the intimacy of relationships with readers now -- readers think they know you
- marketing, distribution, etc, might change, but at heart readers will still always want a good story
- writers shouldn't worry too much about trends -- your book might be the one that starts the next trend!
What are you buying?
- yes, stuff like 50 Shades of Gray -- it is big right now, but it could die quickly too
- stories with strong elements of home and community and comfort -- given how much people travel these days and live away from extended family, they like to feel they are "going home" when they read fiction
- war themes are not very popular right now -- too close to difficult realities esp, in the US
- highlander romances
It was a very good panel session and all the speakers provided great information.
|And so the Awards night begins!
|Pretty jewelled table decorations at the dinner
- plus plenty of Baci chocolates too!
|Me and my room-mate for the conference, the amazing
Ebony McKenna. Despite the dim lighting, I'm sure my
bloodshot eyes are detectable.. ;)