Friday, July 28, 2006

Update from National

I tried to post...yesterday? Every day is endless, so I'm not sure...and I had trouble maintaining my Internet connection. Things seem to be working okay right now, so I'll give it another try.

I'm tired and due at the unPRO party in twenty minutes, so these are some highlights:

Paranormal is still big. Duh.

Erotic romance and inspirational romance are the two fastest-growing subgenres. Double duh.

Did any of us really not know this? :)

I've met and seen lots of awesome people, some I've met in person before, some I've only met online, and some are new acquaintances and hopefully friends.

They gave away EIGHTEEN frickin' books in the goody bags this year! Plus the free books at lunches! Plus the books we buy at the inSANE literacy signing (we'll know tomorrow how much money was made). Plus the books given away in the Goody Room and at publisher signings. My FedEx bill is going to be enormous.

Have I said thank you? :)

I haven't made that many workshops, but I did catch a couple of panels and what's exciting to me is that everyone talks about the market being really open. Some things are harder sell than others, of course, but there is very little any given publisher isn't willing to look at (generally speaking). I love that. It may mean fewer sales per title for each author, but it also means more opportunity for all of us, more fun stretching our wings to write what excites us.

They want fresh twists, as always. Some recently acquired stories include cowboy vampires (HQN) and a not-quite-turned-vampire middle school teacher in a non-romance mystery (Cerridwen).

The Marriott Marquis has been great. Not totally glitch-free for everyone, but the staff is very friendly and helpful and pleasant, and they are working hard to make everything go smoothly, from setting up a shipping station near our registration desk to having staff all over the place for AV issues and directions when we get turned around or can't find something.

The parties have been great, the official events well-done, informative, fun, and exhausting. I'm having the time of my life.

If you have any specific questions or anything you want to hear about, let me know. I'll try to post photos on Monday before I leave for Virginia. :)


Angie said...

I think the emphasis needs to be placed on THE WRITING instead of always telling everyone that "the market is really open". Its because of lackluster writing that TPTB will publish more tepid, but tried and true romances than a tepidly written romance whose elements have not had a successful track record or whose sales have softened considerably(ie: political protagonists, historicals not set in the British Isles, straight contemporary ST romances,etc)

Tess said...

Thanks for the report, Natalie :-) Wished I coulda been there, but the blogs have really helped. Looking forward to your photos.

Natalie J. Damschroder said...

Camilla, I don't disagree at all. I guess I don't think from that perspective for a bunch of reasons (with regard to posting info about the market):

1. It seems totally obvious to me that it's all about the writing. Everyone in this business, from editors and agents to marketing departments and authors, CONSTANTLY say that a book that is really well written is what will get their attention.

2. I can't tell the quality of any manuscript from here--and neither can any editor, until they look at it, and they are saying they are open to LOOKING at anything.

3. Lackluster writing is more likely to come from someone who is writing something they think will sell, rather than something they are passionate about writing.

4. No matter what you say to an author, they think THE WRITING is superb, until they look back at it three years later. If I or anyone else talks about poor writing, whoever is reading it will assume I'm talking about OTHER manuscripts.

5. Lackluster is subjective. I have tried to read plenty of books that other readers, writers, editors, and agents have raved about that I thought were terrible or dull.

I think also what you're saying USED to be true--that a new author was more likely to sell with something the publishers knew was popular. Now they are saying the opposite. They want new twists, something DIFFERENT, in just about every subgenre. At least, the few I heard speak on the subject (St. Martin's editor and publisher, Tracy Farrell of HQN, Cindy Hwang of Berkley, Ellora's Cave, and five agents) have been saying that. Maybe you heard others say differently?

Natalie J. Damschroder said...

Thanks, Tess! Maybe Dallas for you. :)

Karmela said...

Natalie -- you live in VA? Where? I'm in Fairfax!

Natalie J. Damschroder said...

LOL--sorry, Karm, I live in Pennsylvania, but I'm going to Virginia tomorrow for family vacation. Massanutten. Is that near Fairfax?

Tianna Xander said...

I thought the Nationals were a blast. I missed most of the parties since my dear husband decided to tag along. I told him that next year he'd better stay at home or learn to amuse himself. :P

I was surprised at the amount of books in the goody bags myself, along with the others that were given out along the way. I had to get a box to carry them all home. Next year, I'll have to take an extra bag along just to get my books home.


Natalie J. Damschroder said...

Yes, Tianna, that's exactly the right idea. I think even the veterans were caught off guard this year with all the extra free books.