Taking in the blurry eyes this morning, I'm not sure a cocktail party is the best way to start a conference--but it was all terribly New York (very chic, which means a place where you don't want to eat much for fear of wearing it). Also, many editors and writers and too little space and the hot air was not just from idle chatter; the corner by the bar had no ventilation. EVERYONE seemed to be there--want an agent, turn around and you could bump into one. Or, put it this way, you could have taken out the entire romance publishing industry. Patti Berg finally threw the last of us out well past seven, and folks wandered off to dinner (or to plays), or just to way too much talking (lots of husky voices this morning, too).
Since it's Friday, it's down to business day. Sue Grimshaw of Borders started the day--well, actually, Patti did with the welcome, but Sue got into the details of book and Borders and what's going on. As almost everyone must know, WaldenBooks are going away--malls are not the places they used to be, it seems. But Border Superstores are doing great, so more coming. And Borders is getting its own online act together, so more good stuff I hope (they have a chance to use the latest tech at least). So--what's good for authors to get the word out? ARCs to bookstores, bookmarks to Borders romance specialist stores. Websites (well, yes, this is a blog, right). Sue encouraged authors to let her know about cool stuff being done--as in those great video or audio trailers that seem to be the new rage. (Big hint, put faces in--Borders creative folks want to see trailers with actors so the trailers look like the books are about 'someone' not 'something' or 'someplace'. I imagine that holds true for just about everyone else, too.)
There's more--and I'm sure it'll be covered in loops, but a blog only does so much.
Seemed like everyone wanted to know about promotion--and what's selling. No one's willing to say what might sell next and that seemed a wise idea.
Then it was an editor's panel. Avon, Berkley, Pocket and Dorchester were all represented. A lot of the questions put the focus again on the business side of thing--dull stuff like numbers. The editors all agreed they like steady sell-through numbers (and great books) more even that best seller lists (but USA Today list was picked as being good for honest sales numbers, even if it doesn't show the entire life of a book--which makes me wonder, does any reader really look at best seller lists? I never do--I always look for my favorite authors). MySpace got a mention for promotion, so did Amazon Connect, but it all came back to writing (which is like well, duh time again on that).
Then Kensington came in to talk covers -- Kate Duffy, who always has the best stories, arrived with Creative Director Kristine Mills-Nobel. They're both smart, and droll, so it was soon the Kate and Kristine show, and I'm not going to retell anything, because I wouldn't do any of the stories justice. But it was way more fun to see some of the covers that didn't make it to the final cut. There's more this afternoon--way, way more. And even more tomorrow. (Can we spell exhaustion at this point?)
Personally, I'm at the place I always get a day into these things where I want to go home and write--this is why I've learned to bring my laptop. It's not the comfort of home, but it is hte comfort of the written word. But, honestly, I love these things--I've already met more new instant friends (went to a play with two of 'em last night, and I'm rooming with another one). And it's just nice because writing is so solitary and this isn't. So bring on the coctails again--tonight I'm almost ready.