Friday, July 09, 2010

Conference Time is here!

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!


  1. Oh man, wish I could hear your talks!

    I am a guest speaker at this conference Wednesday afternoon, so am working on that presentation. Bringing along FLASH BURNOUT to share Blake's awesome voice during the talk. :)

  2. Anonymous12:43 PM

    Aw, I wish I could come!! :( That sounds like so much fun!

  3. Oh, the jealousy, it eats at me!

    LOVE Moar Awesome! :)

  4. Would love to read any highlights from your talks on the blog!

  5. I wish they would stream/Skype those talks, b/c I would totally watch them. Especially MOAR AWESOME.

    I hope they get it. We're over sparkly vampires now, move on, peeps. Passion is more important than what's trendy, because it will show through in the writing, making it MOAR AWESOME :)

    Have fun!

  6. shelley3:36 PM

    Any chance you'll post some of this info on your blog? I wanted to go to this conference, but just couldn't swing the money part. SOunds amazing.

  7. Donna5:51 PM

    Just reading course outline. So delighted you veered off topic. Much more interesting.


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