Story trumps hype. Good stories populated by vividly rendered characters confronting increasingly harrowing circumstances are what makes for quality reads, regardless of genre. A story well told will sell. Question is, for what price, in which format, to how many and by whom?
In this digital era, arguably the most liberating for authors of all ilk who are now no longer exclusively beholden to legacy publishing gate keepers or ridiculously over-priced vanity press “services” outfits such as those made infamous by Author Solutions and its associated writer-bilking outliers, questions abound. Perhaps the biggest: Should you pursue the traditional route to publication–get an agent, find a house, wait a year or more after to see your book in print–or should you just go it alone?
With the further consolidation of the Big Six legacy houses reliant on tent pole franchise titles, celebrity non-fiction and political provocateurs who can all but guarantee sales through Super PAC purchase-giveaways, the growth of legitimate, though often brick and mortar distribution deprived indie presses and proliferation of self-published e-book authors, the publishing paradigm we grew up understanding has fundamentally changed. Perhaps forever.
As there’s no single right way to write a great book–only an infinite number of wrong ways–the same can also be said of choosing which path to take to publication. It so often seems that achieving publishing success today is as utterly dependent on being an entrepreneurial dynamo as much as, if not more so, being a good writer that many buy into the ease and speed with which they can self-publish an e-book and do just that. But just because you can doesn’t mean you should. At least not until your book is ready. And being ready starts with story, craft and execution. What myriad other crucial factors those considering self-publication must take into account, even for only screen reads, is where “The End” marks a pivotal new start. In particular, with novels and narrative non-fiction.
While our “Do Yourself Independence” track will address many crucial considerations come February (possibly including a session we’re calling, “Cutting Through the Considerable Crap: How to Legitimize the Self-published E-book Author”) we’re still sticking with the fundamental principals on which the SCWC was founded: Story matters. Craft matters. Voice matters. Feedback matters. Writers matter.
Despite the lowered expectations of forgiving consumers accustomed to lackluster, poorly edited and ultimately unrewarding e-books, fact remains that word-of-mouth advocacy is the No. 1 means of books coming to the attention of and being bought by strangers. The discerning reader recognizes a smart, rewarding, quality read. That reader then becomes the writer’s most important, passionate advocate. Why? Because a good story well told trumps all the social media and advertising hype.
Poorly written books that breakout big and become international blockbuster sensations are the unexpected exception, not the rule. The writer who aims for mediocrity and settles for suck, let alone e-“publishes” it then elects to dump its availability on social media feeds without having the courtesy to wipe afterward, is a writer destined to failure.
Literary agents Angelina Rinaldi and Marisa Corvisiero have been added to the slate. Both will be accepting advance submissions from those interested. Those electing to go with optional Advance Submission Readers need to get their material to the SCWC by no later than Jan. 12, 2013. As usual, there’ll be some readers that get caught up and accept material after that date. Too early to tell right now.
For those planning to stay at the home of the conference–and given that we often have workshops going into the very wee hours of the morning, it’s recommended–the wonderful Crowne Plaza San Diego resort hotel is providing SCWCers discounted lodging through Jan. 15, 2013. Book your room before the deadline else risk getting hit with the full rate.
Since last update, a bunch of SCWCers have book announcements. Workshop leader Darlene Quinn’s fourth title in her award-winning “Webs” series is out May, 2013. Author C.E. Lawrence (the “Silent” thrillers) blurbs, “From cocky cougars to perceptive private eyes, Unpredictable Webs is filled with enough vivid characters and plot twists to keep any lover of the genre happily turning the pages into the wee hours of the night. If you enjoyed Darlene Quinn’s previous books, you won’t want to miss this juicy journey of intrigue, drama and suspense!” (Check out the jacket up top.)
Author/workshop leader Janis Thomas, whose spirited debut novel Something New came out from Berkley last month, just got the jacket art for its follow up, Sweet Nothings, due July, 2013. As a former Nordstrom ladies shoes dog of the Seventies, I must say, “Like!”
Author, travel writer and serial entrepreneur Lois Joy Hofmann, who’ll be conducting the appropriately titled DYI workshop, “Author as Entrepreneur,” has released the second in her lavishly produced “In Search of Adventure and Moments of Bliss” trilogy chronicling she and her husband’s 8-year, 62-country sailing circumnavigation. Sailing the South Pacific is available now from PIP.
Finally, conferee August McLaughlin’s debut thriller is just out. Pulitzer Prize-Winning journalist and author David Freed calls In Her Shadow, “A dark, crackingly good psychological thriller that grabs you by the throat on page one and never lets up.”
The working schedule is being updated almost daily, but do make a point to join the WritersConference.COMmunity confab on our SCWC Facebook page for stuff not necessarily on the site.
Two months out and there’s plenty to report. For starters, following last month’s irksome online registration glitch, our main administrative computer got hit with multiple trojans that pretty much knocked out all SCWC hard drives, the office phone system and fax. It’s taken nearly two weeks to get everything sorted out, but now we’re back up and running so let’s see where we’re at!
Among the many staff additions to SD27, best-selling non-fictionalist Charmaine Hammond returns to the SCWC. Her latest, GPS Your Best Life: Charting Your Destination and Getting There in Style, written with Debra Kasowski, is just out. Mary Vensel White is back with a new session and some good “muse.” You’ll remember, of course, that her The Qualities of Wood was the first ebook published by HarperCollins Publishers digital imprint, Authonomy. The debut novel has done so well in digital form that HarperCollins will be publishing the hardcopy next year.
Amazon’s #1 best-selling children’s author Sheri Fink, whose precious The Little Rose and The Little Gnome are still going gangbusters, is back with yet another overwhelmingly informative workshop on successfully navigating the digital/hardcopy divide. And in her debut appearance at the SCWC as a workshop leader, Valerie Wicks, an LA10 conferee and debut YA fantasy indie author who recently organized a very successful book signing event for both her and Sheri at L.A.’s biggest Barnes & Noble, will be conducting “Up Close and Visual: Breaking Down Author/Reader Barriers.” The first in a 7-part series, be sure to check out the trailer for Seven Spectral: Into the Red World at the bottom of this update.
Speaking of the LA10 event, given the success of our “Do Yourself Independence” track this past September we’ll be devoting a tier of sessions to the SD27 schedule that can further allow those pursuing such to dig in deeper. As we introduced it back in August:
“Do Yourself Independence” (DYI) is a practice, or attitude, that most emerging authors must possess in order to rise above the hype and distinguish their work. It speaks to the need that, regardless of how you choose to be published, you, the author, are ultimately responsible for the success or failure of your career.
With particular emphasis on those electing to go it alone, whether via e-books, micro-press, POD, service-assisted self-publishing, or some combination, we’re introducing a number of DYI sessions that explore the options, strategies and tools writers can utilize to bolster the ability of their books to thrive.
What we’ll not be advocating is spamming every Twitter feed, Facebook wall or other social media outlet with, “Hey, my e-book is available!” For those who haven’t figured it out, if you want people to buy your book, you don’t sell your book!
We’re putting together some very cool, new DYI workshops for you and look forward to rolling them out over the next few weeks.
Longtime and lauded SCWCer Claudia Whitsitt’s Identity Issues is just out from Blue Jay Media, who’ve contracted the first two of five proposed titles in her Samantha Series mysteries. Pretty cool jacket, don’t you think?… And check out the jacket for LA10 Outstanding Non-Fiction award-winner Sharon L. Hicks’ How Do You Grab a Naked Lady?: A Memoir.
Many more Advance Submission Readers have been added to the schedule are now available for selection, including agents, editors and authors, with still a few more yet to come. If you’ve already registered and selected readers “to be announced,” email Michael or Chrissie directly the name of the reader(s) you’d like to go with, and also include a backup reader. Should you need guidance selecting the appropriate reader for your material, please let us know.
Another update coming soon. Don’t forget to join the WritersConference.COMmunity confab on our SCWC Facebook page.
We’re in store for another wild weekend of all things writerly come February. What with the recent news about Amazon’s reviews purge, the ramifications of Penguin and Random House merging, eBook sales dominating the table talk, and 2012 book sales in general possibly reaching north of $8 billion–despite slippage in some rather surprising genres–storytelling about storytellers seems as popular as storytellers telling stories. That said, the challenge for most writers remains the same: beyond writing a great book that rewards readers with a rich read, how do you raise awareness of your book and get readers to buy it?
Along with our formidable slate of craft, execution and troubleshooting workshops, as with our fall conference, at SD27 we’ll be dealing head-on with many of the latest and most vexing challenges writers face today. Whether to wait out legacy publishing odds, go with a boutique house, trust one of the predatory pay-as-you-print outfits that claim to have “standards” and are selective about who they’ll publish, or just assume full control of your book and do it all yourself–no matter which way you go at the end of the day your book’s success will ultimately come down to one individual. You.
To that end, as always, the SCWC community is here to inform and assist you in accomplishing your publishing goals. Extending on our LA10 “Do Yourself Independence” sessions, we’ll again be dealing extensively with issues of ePublishing too soon, social media self-sabotage, marketing myths and a whole lot more. It will be work. It will be fun.
While we still have plenty more staffers yet to announce, several already aboard for San Diego have new books in time for the holidays. From Janis Thomas, her debut novel Something New is out today. Next week, Matthew J. Pallamary’s latest, The Infinity Zone: A Transcendent Approach to Peak Performance, will be released. And come December, the latest Peri Minneopa Mystery from Gayle Carline, The Hot Mess, and a long-awaited new one from none other than Alan Russell, Burning Man. Congratulations to all.
It’s been brought to our attention that well over a dozen online registrations were never actually processed (nor their credit cards charged) since late-October. The glitch is now fixed. If you registered online for the conference over the past three weeks and are unsure of whether or not your registration was processed successfully, please contact either Michael or Chrissie for confirmation.
We apologize for the inconvenience and have extended the $75 Early “Bard” Discount to until Nov. 15th.
Advance Submission Readers selection will open up in the next week or so. As there’s plenty more to announce while we begin working on the schedule, lining up the Special Guest Speakers, and adding more workshop leaders, be sure to check back often or join us on the SCWC Community Facebook Wall to keep up to speed.
In the meantime, enjoy the trailer we just finished for another friend of the conference’s new book.
While regular updates for SD27 begin October, we couldn’t wait to announce the return of one of science fiction’s major talents to the SCWC: New York Times bestselling, multiple Hugo, Nebula and countless other awards-winning author David Brin. With what many longtime fans could perceive as a prequel to his extraordinary Startide Rising, David’s first novel in ten years, Existence, is now out. Stephen Baxter (Ark and The Time Ships) calls it, “[U]rgent and as relevant as anything by Stross or Doctorow, but with the cosmic vision of Bear or Benford.” Vernor Vinge (Fire Upon the Deep and The Children of the Sky) hails, “Brin takes on one of the fundamental themes in science fiction—and what is also one of the fundamental questions humanity faces in this century… Existence is not to be missed.” And Temple Grandin (Thinking in Pictures) proclaims it, “[A] book that makes you think deeply about both the future and life’s most important issues… I could not put it down.” Now let’s see who else will be joining us.
Another multiple award-winning author and SCWC workshop leader, Alan Russell, is back for our winter conference, as is historical fictionalist Laurel Corona, multi-genre dynamo Michele Scott, Andrew E. Kaufman, author of such psychological thrillers as The Lion, The Lamb, The Hunted and While the Savage Sleeps, Linda Thomas-Sundstrom, Drusilla Campbell and many other friends both familiar and new.
Early “Bard” Registration is now open. Do so by Sept. 15 and save a whopping $100 on Full Conference or NovelCram immersion track participation.
What a wonderfully rowdy, writerly weekend! So many stories told, so many stories yet to tell. And the level of writing, even from the two youngest conferees (ages 13 and 14), impressed far beyond words. Truly, SD26 will go down as one of our most memorable events, if not only for the terrific spirit of all the writers in the room, but for the disclosure of Sunday afternoon’s special guest speaker–none other than SCWC Director Wes Albers. While his debut novel, Black & White, isn’t out ’til March 20th, the good folks at ZOVA Books arrived with a couple big boxes of pre-publication editions and sold out almost immediately. New York Times bestselling author Gayle Lynds (The Book of Spies) hails Wes’ work, “Gritty and rewarding… A top-notch cop novel. Watch out, Joseph Wambaugh!” And hardcore noirist Gary Phillips (Underbelly) calls it, “Gripping, rugged, authentic.”
Another pre-book launch from ZOVA, Jessica Therrien’s Oppression arrived one year after they discovered her at our SD25 event. How cool is that? Now onto the awards…
(title to be announced)
by Annoushka Lyvers of Yorba Linda, CA
OUTSTANDING LIFE STORY
Into The Night (read here)
by Joanne Wright Schulte of Santa Ana, CA
The Sanctuary (read here)
by Lacey Impellizeri of San Diego, CA
Congratulations to the honorees and to all the staff who helped make SD26 such a great ride. Dates for SD27 are Presidents’ Day Weekend, Feb. 15-18, 2013. Between now and then, join us in Newport Beach for LA10, Sept. 21-23, 2012, as well as anytime on our SCWC Facebook Page where you can share your good “muse” with like-minded members of our ever-growing writing community.
Conference weekend is a day away. Walk-in registration opens Noon on Friday, 7 AM Saturday and 7:30 AM Sunday. There’s plenty of room for writers of every realm, so be there or be…ware? Crowne Plaza San Diego, 2270 Hotel Circle North, San Diego, CA 92108. Last-minute addition to the staff is none other than Charmaine Hammond, best-selling author of On Toby’s Term’s, which has just been optioned for film. She’ll conduct “Your Book as a Business” Saturday morning. The prolific and ever so effervescent Michele Scott is bringing her game to the table with a couple of needed sessions on Sunday, so peep the posted schedule when you get a chance. We’re finally dialed in. See you in San Diego!
And for you listening pleasure, check out the music video we just finished–totally rife with no less than two stories told.