Conferences Are in Flux Too

Left Coast Crime in Santa Fe was great this year. I got to meet in person people I’ve come to know and like online: Peg Brantley, Jodie Renner, Marlyn Beebe, and more. I participated in two panels, Research: Getting It Right, and Publishing: Today and in the Future.

Both were well attended, and I got terrific feedback from the audience. Later, the chairperson for next year’s conference (in Sacramento) personally invited me to attend and participate in panels again. I’m honored and may register soon while I’m still motivated.

The most significant thing about this year’s conference was that every writer I talked to wanted to discuss digital self-publishing. More and more authors plan to “put up their backlist” on Kindle as it’s commonly described, and others are seriously thinking of abandoning their agents, publishers, or the query process in general.

And in my Publishing in the Future panel, nearly every attendee raised their hand when asked if they owned an e-reader. I believe this year will be a tipping point for the publishing industry. It makes me wonder if future conferences will even bother to include panels labeled “Industry Professionals.”

This year’s panel of publishers, editors, and agents had little new to offer, and one agent became highly offended/combative when asked what value she had to offer a writer who could easily self-publish instead. I wouldn’t be surprised if next year’s conference offers a panel of freelancers—editors, graphic artists, and e-books formatters—the new industry professionals needed to publish quality e-books.

I believe there’s never been a better time to be a writer. What do you think?


Bonus Photos:



3 Comments
  1. LJ, I found Left Coast Crime’s 2011 conference in Santa Fe stimulating in so many ways, and the experience was greatly enriched by spending time with you and the other writers you introduced me to. I came away from our group discussions and brainstorming sessions over lunch, dinner and drinks with a million ideas bouncing around my head! Thanks so much for hooking up with me at LCC and introducing me to more talented writers – now, new friends… and possible clients.

    By the way, I really enjoyed the panels you were on, especially the one you moderated, with such talent and humor. Now I see why you say you like to do standup comedy!

    … and thanks for getting Peg to take a photo of you and me at my panel.

    – Jodie Renner, http://www.JodieRennerEditing.com

  2. What a short-sighted attitude that agent has. But I’ve seen several agents that had been on my ‘dream list’ two years ago that have since left the agenting game. Perhaps she felt threatened by the question–and understandably so! It’s a question agents will have to think about if they want to stay in business as self-publishing becomes the norm, IMO.

    Here’s an article you might find interesting. An agent talks about how her mind has changed about the future of self-publishing: http://meggjensen.blogspot.com/2011/03/q-with-andrea-brown-agent-mary-kole.html

  3. LJ, your willingness to share your experience, your time, and your friendship with me and others is something I’ll never forget. Thank you for setting an example of professionalism, courtesy and excitement for our little slice of the world.

    I came away from LCC with a lot of the old, ingrained aspirations giving way to fresh possibilities–and the awareness of how e-pubbing puts readers in charge for the first time.

    Not THAT’S pretty cool.

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