I think I have now got over the tiredness from the conference last week, esp the travelling to and from Greenwich each day. So now I am reporting what I heard and learnt starting on the Friday, Day one. As a day visitor I was there all day the first day. The first talk was by publisher Random House. The gist of their talk I got was that Radio 4 was good for short stories, you should know your market and write for your market, which makes it easier for them to sell the books to supermarkets. Eg Katie Fforde knows who she is writing for so they do too, so they know whom to sell her books to. For promotion, work hard on your website and social network sites such as Facebook and Twitter. When you are writing your book, you should make it catch their eye by making it easy to sell with a great hook/concept. Also, when you query one way to find out which other authors are like your books is to look on Amazon where they have the words If you like this, you will like this book too. I might do that with Rosie and see if anyone else is there.
The next talk was by David Shelley of Little Brown. I didn't take many notes from his talk but he was one of the first speakers to say that digital is going to be great for authors in the future, as he said that by 2012 ebooks could be up to 10% of sales in the UK. He also mentioned he likes Romantic Suspense but he said they can be called psychological suspense because the woman can be in jeopardy.
The third talk was by Tom Holland of the Society of Authors and he also said that digital could be good for authors in the future. He said that they are currently pushing the press to up the royalty rates for digital for authors as they don't think it's fair at the moment. He advised that authors look on their website for the recommendate rate. He also said that authors could use snippets from Amazon reviews for promotion.
Then it was lunch and then it was the start of the main conference, where Katie Fforde and Jan Jones congratulated everyone with news of sales for books and writing works. I wish I had emailed her about all my letters this year. Never mind. Maybe next year.
After that I went to a talk about writing for the US market, with a panel of authors who do and an agent. The Americans it was said are far less secular and have a funny attitude to sex. They do a lot of promo and the agent said that sometimes if publishers/agents have a choice of seeing an ms from an unpublished author and one has more online presence than the other then they might go for the author with more promo. US readers like a mixture of character nationalities, and write from the heart. The settings doesn't have be in the US. Us readers also like justice to be done and the villains published. YA is huge at the moment as well as fantasy and steampunk. Hot at the moment is paranormal, ghosts, werewolves, straight romance, RS. Readers also like futuristic by the publishers aren't buying. It didn't put me off wanting to write for the US.
Then it was romance through the ages with four novelists published in each decade answering questions. Then it was to the bar and the meal. The food was OK but it took too long to be served up and I left early and I believe so did a lot of others who were frustrated at the time it took.
Tomorrow I will write about Day Two.