Photos from Killer Nashville 2016
I had a great time, but I'm still recovering. I don't sleep well in hotel beds, and Nashville is an hour earlier than home. As a result, I woke every morning at four or four-thirty their time. Friday morning I was able to go back to sleep for an hour, but the other mornings I didn't. And there's something about sitting in conference rooms all day that wears a person out. But...the sessions were interesting, and the interviews with the guests of honor (Kevin O'Brien, Robert Randisi, and Janet Evanovich) were great. I paid extra to attend the guest of honor lunches Friday and Saturday. Kevin O'Brien was interviewed at the Friday lunch, and Janet Evanovich at Saturday's. The food was great, and the interviews even better. Robert Randisi was interviewed Saturday morning after breakfast, and his interview was fascinating as well.
I met a lot of interesting people who are all on this same writing journey. The attendees came from all over. I met people from Massachusetts, Michigan, Texas, and Louisiana, as well as states closer to Tennessee, such as Alabama, Mississippi, Kentucky, Ohio, and Illinois. One man seated at my table Friday morning was born and raised in the same Ohio county as me, lived for three years about 20 miles from where I live in Kentucky, and now lives in Lebanon, Ohio, just a few miles from where my husband and I lived for over twenty-five years. Small world!
A few days before the conference began, I decided to try one of the agent roundtables. I didn't do one at the first Killer Nashville I attended in 2014, but thought I'd try it this time just to see what happened.
The way it works is, there are two agents and eight writers. Each writer brings at least twelve copies of the first two pages of their manuscripts. A reader reads each one, then the agents make oral comments, and fill out papers they give to the writer after the roundtable is over. They check one of three boxes. The first says the manuscript is submission-ready and how many pages the agent would like to see, the second says the manuscript is submission-ready but not right for the particular agent, and the third says the manuscript needs more work. I took the first two pages of my current work-in-progress, the third book in the Eden series. Both agents asked to see more pages.
That was a great ego boost, but I haven't decided if I'm going to pursue it. There was an indie writer on a panel the last day who said the reason he self-published is because he's sixty-three and was afraid he'd "fall off the perch" before he succeeded going the traditional route. I'm older than he is and feel the same way. Every one of the guests of honor had stories about bad agents and publishers, as did many of the less famous traditionally published authors who were on panels. Of course, just because the agents liked my first two pages and wanted to see more doesn't mean they'd ask to see the entire manuscript, or that they'd offer to represent me. But if I'm going to take the plunge and send them pages, I need to be sure I'd want that if they did. And I'm not sure I do.
Saturday morning I caught one of the agents who had requested I send pages and asked if it was a problem that the book is the third in a series and the first two are self-published. She said it’s still possible to sell it, but more difficult. I asked if it was possible to go traditional with one book and indie for another (not in the same series, of course), but under different names. She said, yes, it is, but that the publisher will generally insist that an author doesn’t publish an indie novel within a certain time period after the release of the traditional one—unless it’s in a different genre. So...a publisher buys the rights to your book—for the rest of your life and then some—and still insists you jump through hoops. And they might not—and probably won’t—do much promoting for you.
With self-publishing, the formula seems to be write decent books, write more of them, and advertise, and you will make a decent income from your work. Sure, there's a lot of traditionally published writers who become rich and famous, but there's a lot more who don't. They beat on doors for years before getting accepted, then wait at least a couple more before the book hits the shelves, then have to hope readers discover it before the publisher stops printing it. Like the guy said, I could fall off the perch before that happens. Plus, I'm a control freak when it comes to my own life and don't like the idea of giving up most of my royalties (small though they may be) in exchange for being told what to do. My ego doesn't require a boost that badly.
So, I've got some thinking to do.
I collected a lot of business cards and bookmarks from authors I met. That should take care of my to-read list for a long time to come! I can only hope that my books have ended up on a few to-read lists as well! :-)
All in all, a great weekend. I highly recommend this conference to writers, aspiring writers, and people who love to read in the mystery/thriller genre.
What's next? Get a new laptop before the next conference, of course!