Sunday, October 19, 2014

James River Writers Conference 2014

We just wrapped up this year's annual James River Writers Conference, the signature event for the James River Writers. It was a terrific event this year, and included a very high caliber of speakers, including my own agent, Ann Rittenberg, Hugh Howey, Jane Friedman, the Book Doctors (Arielle Eckstut and David Sterry) and a number of other authors, agents, and editors. 

It was a fantastic weekend with a lot of excitement, not the least of which was meeting Ann for the first time in person. I also got to spend time with Hugh AND LOOK AT ME NAME DROP WITH THESE FANCY AGENTS AND EDITORS. 

HAHAHA seriously - spending a weekend with these kinds of people is a master class in publishing. I learned all kinds of fascinating industry information from Ann, and I loved hearing about Hugh's experiences the last couple years. 

It goes without saying that Hugh is one of the most well-known and controversial figures in publishing today. You don't have to agree with everything Hugh says, and he'd be the first to tell you to do your own research, to do your own study of the business. 

But I say this, and I mean it, and you should really listen to me ... You ignore or underestimate Hugh at your own peril. He's smarter than me. He's probably smarter than you. He's thinking of things that the big publishing houses are not (or simply won't). That's not to say he'll be right on everything or that all his ideas or predictions will pan out. But I'm willing to bet that most will. 

And here's the thing. It sort of goes back to something I wrote back in February, in a post called Why Hugh Howey is Wrong - Sort Of. My main point then was that self-publishing had become a legitimate way to fail. 

The truth is that very, very few authors will ever be offered a traditional deal (me included). Self-publishing may well be the only option the vast majority of authors ever have. So we shouldn't be looking at this as a traditional vs. self-publishing argument. We should be looking at it this way - look at what's possible now. 

As for me - I'm more motivated than ever to get back to writing, whatever the future may hold. 

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