I'm prepping for a week-long conference that I am leaving for tomorrow. I have to give two speeches at this conference. Naturally I plan to subvert the topics. As I gather my notes, I give you, the loyal blogreader, a sneak preview. Anything that I am forgetting to talk about? Remind me in the comments, please!
Alleged Topic: State of the Industry: I will discuss "what's hot and what's not", featuring an overview of some titles that are hugely popular right now at the bookstore level and what makes them so, along with what I am seeing as trends in the slush pile. Also discussed: Which categories are selling well and which are flat, and how writers can make their work stand out in a crowded marketplace.
Real Topic: MOAR AWESOME! Quick dismissal of "what's hot and what's not" concept. Discussion about why thinking about trends is such a waste of time. Bitter complaints about how 95% of my slush pile is exactly the same as everything else. Encouragement of authors to follow their own star and MAKE trends; examples of why they are much more likely to be "hot" that way.
Bonus: Vampire jokes, curse words.
Alleged Topic: Pitch Perfect In this session, I will read and discuss samples of actual queries that have caught my attention in slush, and then gone on to become books. I'll explain what works, and what doesn't, and will reveal my own 'secret formula' for a great pitch. Attendees will be welcome to ask questions and get involved.
Real Topic: CHILLAX & TELL ME WHAT THE BOOK IS ABOUT! Why you shouldn't worry about how to pitch the book until you have a book to pitch. Why conversations about just about anything else are usually more interesting and useful than your pitch. Why most query letters suck. How to not suck. Also, Bookstore Handselling 101.
Bonus: two words. MAD LIBS!