Daily Archives: March 24, 2012

KWA Scene Conference 2012

You had to be there. It wasn’t our biggest conference, it wasn’t our most extravagant—but it was our best.

We kicked off “the Scene” on Friday night with some real fun and entertainment: the Pitchapalooza. Everyone who wanted to pitch got a chance, and the entire panel of industry professionals was amazed at our small group’s talent and enthusiasm.

On Saturday, with eight solid speakers (all of whom were fantastic) and fifteen speaker sessions, it meant for a full day with lots of choices. Members and guests were appreciative, saying things like “the best conference ever” and “something for everyone”. The speakers were professional, patient, gracious and impressed with both the conference and our attendees. The Hyatt Hotel staff was courteous and helpful, and the KWA board and helpers were on their toes and proactive in order to ensure this conference was a shining success—one that will go down in what is sure to be a long history of wonderful conferences.

William Bernhardt’s Keynote punctuated the 2012 Scene Conference. About halfway through, when he said, “I should stop here…,” he certainly could have. He’d given us an excellent Keynote, one of the best I’d heard—and I’ve heard many. But he went on. What started as a touching autobiography of Bill, became an autobiography for us all—all writers. Incredibly motivational and inspiring, it left me with a deep feeling of importance and responsibility, but also so choked up I couldn’t talk. As I looked out into the audience of teary eyes, “Wow!” was the most I could utter while getting a grip on myself in order to wrap up this extraordinary event.

Bill’s keynote speech could not have been a more perfect way to end the weekend, a truly indescribable, nearly overwhelming one. The punctuation at the end of this story—this fantastic conference—is not a period or a question mark. It’s one that writers are told to use super sparingly: “!” Wow!   http://www.kwawriters.org

EBook Wars, Episode 2

Okay, so being a new sailor on a very shifty sea, I shouldn’t trust everything I read (forgive me for butchering Hannah Parker Kimball’s wonderful poem “One Way of Trusting”). And there is so much to read.

Should I believe “The Big Six Publishing Houses” (a.k.a. “the Cartel”–sorry, I couldn’t help my cynicism) and their allies, including Authors Guild president and bestselling author Scott Turow? I wanted to trust them. I trusted them for years because I had no choice and knew no better. They were doing what they wanted—and surely what they wanted was to benefit their suppliers, their members, their writers. They were selling books–but not mine.

When I signed that publishing contract back in ’92, I dreamed of what it would be like as an Authors Guild member, one of thousands of professional writers, many making a living from their writing and enjoying the benefits of the Authors Guild’s protective arms.

Man, has that changed.

So here we are in the electronic age. It is our future—the one we must embrace (until the day that giant EMP from the Sun knocks out all our eGadgets) if we wish to become successful authors. Some folks aren’t willing to embrace the future and don’t understand that they can’t hold back time and live in the past. This eFuture is inevitable. Everyone must adapt, even bestselling authors. They must understand that the old and familiar isn’t always the best, and who we dealt with in the past didn’t necessarily have our best interests in mind.

If what readers want to do is read, let them read. If what writers want to do is write, let them write. If what Amazon and a few of the other big Internet booksellers want to do is to satisfy their customers by getting them lots of product for very reasonable prices, let them channel the writers’ works to the readers’ eyes as cheaply and as efficiently as possible.

Check out JA Konrath’s most recent post on his blog at: http://jakonrath.blogspot.com/. Barry Eisler, joins in, as he did in the last post. And, once again, they’re discussing what Scott Turow has said, this time in a recent interview about “why we should fear Amazon”. It will absolutely floor you!

In these shifting seas, who are you to believe? For now, I’m plotting my course with those who seem to have the authors’ and readers’ interests in mind—Internet booksellers like Amazon and Smashwords—the ones accepting and selling our books to the consumer at reasonable prices and for very generous royalties. As for The Big Six Publishers and Authors Guild’s president Scott Turow: Wake up! Grasp the future, remember your customer, and give them what THEY want!