Right... so... Romantic Times Booklovers Convention 2010 in Columbus, OH has been incredible and I'm so glad I chose to attend. I've had a chance to meet several publishers and authors face to face and that, above everything else, has been AMAZING! Yes, I'm a huge fangirl of so many of these people that when I actually stood and shook hands with Raelene Gorlinsky of Ellora's Cave, Claire Siemaszkiewicz of Total-e-Bound, Daniel Reitz from Mundania Press and Phaze Books, I sent a little prayer I didn't look like a total fool!
But, I digress! The most important thing about these Cons is what knowledge do you walk away with? What did you learn while being surrounded by this melange of incredible authors, editors, publishers and forward-thinking people like yourself who see the future of publishing every minute they talk to you and, like you, are book geeks galore?
Lesson 1 - ePubs Rule
Yes, I'm biased, I don't care! *sticks tongue out at you* But seriously... I've been saying this for many years and ePubs like Ellora's Cave have proven the fact that ePubs pave the road for the print publishers now more than they ever did before. Print is looking at what the digital markets have done and are doing to gain and retain readership. One speaker from Samhain Publishing said it best when she said that "ePub is doing what Harlequin did with the trade paperback in the 70s... revolutionizing the publishing industry".
Ten years ago, the perception of ePub'ed authors was that these authors were not good enough for "real" publishing. Today, authors like Angela Knight, Mary Janice Davidson, Sarah McCarty, Cheyenne McCray, Lora Leigh, Kate Douglas are Best-selling authors whose roots and backlists are still purchased and found in ePubs like Ellora's Cave and Loose-Id.
Lesson 2 - Male/Male is HAWT!
And extremely "bankable". Every publisher mentioned wanting more male/male when asked what they were looking for. Other things publishers are looking for include: Men and Women in Uniform, Historicals set in the 20s or 60s, Female/Female, Menage, Interracial, Multi-cultural, Interracial Paranormal, Cyberpunk, BDSM (particularly femme domme, if you have one, query me NOW), Urban Fantasy, Rubenesque (BBW), kinky, raunchy (the hotter, the better).
Lesson 3 - Agents are Important
Regardless of whether your contract is from a traditional print publisher or a small indie ePub, having an advocate who will make sure you're not "selling your soul" and can understand and negotiate your contract is crucial. As the rules change with the explosion of the digital market rights moving into 3rd-party distributors like Amazon, Fictionwise, iBook Store, etc. it's important to understand the contract you're signing.
I believe that as the publishers begin to set pricing with these 3rd-party distributors and are allowed to set eBook prices almost equal to their print counterparts, the need for authors to make sure their contracts don't short-sell them for these sales will grow as well.
Lesson 4 - The More the Merrier
Having a group to "hang out" with is great to have. They can:
- Remind you to eat between panels/sessions.
- Go to different panels/sessions and come back to a "pow wow" where you can exchange information.
- Squee with you when the Mr. Romance contestants walk past.
- Geek out with you in full costumed garb for the Faery Ball, Vampire Ball, MadHatters Tea and other totally crazy parties at RT.
- Feed your buzz all the way through the event from your flight in to your return flight.