I spent some time attending panels on Friday.
The first “panel” I attended was actually a reader party hosted by Ann Aguirre, Lauren Dane, Megan Hart, Anya Bast, and Cynthia Eden. It was very popular. When you entered, you were handed a soft tote bag (one of those recyclable kind) full of swag. I think that each bag contained 5 or 6 books, several bookmarks, and a t-shirt. The party activity was answering 25 questions about the authors. In order to get the answers, you had to go and interact with the authors. I thought it was a very clever way of engaging the readers.
After the morning party (which did have food and drink for those who follow my twitter feed and now know that I am fairly obsessed with eating), I attended the Dorchester Spotlight. For those who enjoyed the Shomi line and were wondering what happened to it, the line has been folded in Lovespell and Leisure. Leah Hultenschmidt has more information on her blog.
Some highlights include:
- Dorchester’s current releases are available in Sony & Kindle digital formats but the goal is to make them available in more formats and to digitize the backlist.
- Dorchester encourages authors to send in unagented, unsolicited work. Marjorie Liu was found in the slush pile.
- Dorchester publishes contemporaries with a humoristic bent.
- From the time of acceptance to time of publication is usually 9 months to 1 year.
- Bookstores are only placing orders 6-8 weeks in advance and not the 12 weeks in advance as they did before.
One title that fascinated me was The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker set in the Victorian time period and steampunk-ish but without gadgets. Anne Marsh is writing a very steamy series about shapeshifters releasing in the fall with the first title called The Hunt.
After the Dorchester panel, I attended the editor panel. The message is that it is a good time to be a romance author but that they are still being selective about what authors they are picking up. It sounded like the authors they are looking for must have a good hook and be marketable. I’m not exactly sure what that means. Most publishers acknowledged that their numbers were up.
I think that the best advice that came out of the conference came from agent Lucienne Diver who stated that you want to be the name that is used to describe the trend, not following it.
I attended the vampire ball which was hosted by Helen Rosburg and Heather Graham. There was singing! and dancing! and dramatic acting! and also food! A good time was had by all.