Tour’s Books Blog

October 25, 2009

Authors After Dark – In Retrospect

Well, it was quite a weekend.  There were a ton of authors and what a great group they were.  Unfortunately, Bianca D’Arc didn’t make it due to a sudden issue with her mother, which I gather was not good.  Then Jacquelyn Frank went dashing down the hall, caught her foot somehow and took a bad header.  She was taken to the hospital and spent the night there.  When I left around noon today she hadn’t made it back, but they were expecting her to be released.  I skipped all of last night thanks to a horrible headache triggered by the smell of the chemical sanitizer used in the hotel bathroom.  I understand I was not alone in developing a nasty headache, so maybe it was something in the ventilation system.

After signing in, I went to two of the mini-panels and skipped the candy making because I was just tired.  I chatted with other attendees, many aspiring authors or people that had published least one book and were looking for agents or publishers.  I can’t comment on that, but I don’t think there were many agents there – if any at all.  There were 4 volunteer facilitators and I got the impression they were the meeting/event pros.  Without them there would have been chaos.  They have my thanks.

On Saturday I checked out the gift baskets and bought some tickets and dropped then here and there in the vain hope of capturing some books.  The baskets ran a full range.  The most impressive for books were donated by Joey W Hill, Shelly Laurenston, and Kate Douglas followed by Samhain and a few others.  The ones that were mostly things I didn’t need I gave a pass on and dropped my tickets at select baskets – and man, I was impressed by the generosity of authors. The money raised went to a local no kill animal shelter – which suited me just fine.  They had people there and even had a doggie who was adopted and brought a second doggie that I just wish I could have brought home.  What an absolute doll she was.  There was also a book sales area set up by a bookshop from Wisconsin – yup, Wisconsin!  They had most authors represented, but not all of their books.  I was hoping to snag more of Bianca D’Arc’s books, but no joy.  The lady who ran the shop was very nice and she does mail order.

One of the surprising comment I heard from authors and readers was how hard it was to get erotic romance, or any steamy romance, where they live!  Also, one author mentioned that she had people in her town approach her and tell her they prayed for her that she would find her way.  Apparently writing about demons, witches and vamps with even moderate sex is still socially unacceptable.  YIKES!    No wonder they have to mail order the “smut”.  LOL

The author panels, mini panels on Mer and the Eververse on Friday, and well as the full panels on Vamps, Dragons, Fae and Witches on Saturday, were all well attended.  The late afternoon event on Saturday after the book signing were cancelled because of the accident that Jacquelyn had.  With a 2 hour wait before dinner and 4 hours to the masquerade and me with my blinding headache, I decided I’d called it a day, go home and try and get the pain under control and get a good night’s sleep.  It did the trick, the headache was just a slight  distraction this morning.

Breakfast was fairly quiet because everyone looked like they had quite a night at the masquerade, but I think having Jacquelyn missing took some of the fun out.  The $15 worth of tickets (that seemed to be about average) I distributed actually paid off.  To my complete and utter amazement I ended up winning 3 gift baskets, including a big fancy one from Jacquelyn Frank from Wine Country.  I shared parts of what I won with others at my table.  One lady looked like she had about $50 worth and won several big baskets with a ton of books.  I won a Samhain bag with 5 books and Jacquelyn Franks included an ARC of a new series book she has due out in January.  Cathy Clamp sat next to me at breakfast and I won her basket too!  (I’d given her a scented candle from the Samhain basket because I’m allergic and about 2 minutes later I won HER gift basket!)  She’ll be sending me an ARC as well.

They did the two cancelled panels in one big one this morning.  Many of the attendees were gone, typical for any event professional or otherwise.  I believe it was Cathy Clamp who said she was told that the New York publishers are seeing a downward trend in sales of shifter romance.  I must say I was surprised.  I’m a big fan of shifter romance and Shelly Laurenston is selling better than ever.  Maybe the increase in sales for ebooks are impacting print book sales.  Or the persistent trend to trade paperback for so many niche market books is just turning off sales.  I know it’s an issue for me!

I’d just like to express a special thanks to the very hard working volunteers.  With BOTH organizers missing in action, the 4 volunteers and several authors stepped up and helped make the event a success.  Miss Froggy and Kimmie were the backbone of the whole thing and bless them both!  Kimmie kept the panels on track for time and kept questions going.  Shelly and Susan were also around.

Yes, I got some of my books autographed – by Sunny and Georgia Evans.  Naturally, my Jacquelyn Franks books weren’t signed nor were my Bianca D’Arc books.  It was one of those occasions where my owning the author in ebooks was a huge disadvantage.  I had Stephanie Julian’s latest book, but it was an ebook and the same was true for other authors.  Yet another drawback to electronic books.  Soon print books will be real collector items.

Sunny, author of the Mona Lisa series, was funny and sharp as a tack.  Georgia Evans, who uses like 3 or 4 pen names, was hysterical.  Joey W. Hill, author of super sexy vamps (BDSM stuff), was a very nice soft spoken lady.  Jacquelyn Franks was kind of a odd, maybe a bit over-excited about the event, but like all the authors, she treated fans and other authors really well.  All the authors were just really nice group.  Their age ran from late 20’s to grandmothers and all had a blast talking about the sex in their books and the reaction of various family members to what they write was a hoot.  I my opinion, having a small group rather than a large one made the writer panels less formal and more interactive with attendees.

I came away satisfied with the event and more than willing to return again next year.  I was sorry I missed the masquerade, though I had no costume myself, I wanted to see what the others would wear.  I was impressed with the authors and how well they treated fans.  Several of the fans were funny as hell.  Since I’m accustomed to professional seminars and not these rather informal events, the lack of structure bothered me somewhat, but given the unusual circumstances, I think the whole thing really went well.  Those who have attended Romantic Times’ event said this one was better for actual author contact.  I’d believe it!  Even the authors seemed relaxed and happy with the low pressure atmosphere.

My thanks to Bianca D’Arc and Jacquelyn Frank for hosting this event and to the many gracious authors who attended and allowed fans to pick their brains.  To the person who stole two of the books Shelly Laurenston sent for her gift basket, shame on you!  Stella and Audra Price (not their real names) you were great.  Good thing one of you talks for both!  LOL  To those who flew in from far away (including the one from Australia!), hope you enjoyed yourselves.  Sorry I missed the Going Green panel on ebooks, but the headache was demanding my attention again.  To the funny ladies at the table near the buffet, thanks for the many laughs.  Next year I’ll be back!

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2 Comments »

  1. I attended AAD this past weekend and was disappointed – but it was more disappointment towards myself for not verifying there would be “writer-focused” events, instead of assuming there would be. When I signed up and sent my money, the weekend agenda was not complete online. As an aspiring writer, there was NO agent or editor representation or how-to events. It made the $160 plus that I shelled out a waste.

    Comment by Fellow Attendee @ AAD Event — October 26, 2009 @ 3:03 pm | Reply

    • I would agree with that completely. The only ‘author’ related event was Cathy Clamp’s Understanding Author Contracts mini-seminar. I also agree, the events were too unstructured and I think more than one attendee was frustrated by it. When I signed on I checked the schedule and it looked to me to be a fan event, not an aspiring writer event. I think the rather unstructured panels needed some work, but as a first shot by people who don’t run events, it satisfied me given the price. I did like the fact authors let their hair down and spoke freely about some sensitive subjects, like ‘mean girl’ reviews, difficulty of getting published, how editors influence work, etc. I doubt they would have done that at a larger, more formal event.

      Keep in mind, this is the first event of this type I ever attended, and I didn’t spend a whole lot of time there either. I’m not in a position to judge it against other events, like RWA or RT. If you wanted to meet and speak with authors, this worked. I you wanted to learn about writing, publishing or the business of being a writer, wrong place. I hope next year they offer a few structured seminars about writing. (I left a comment to that effect.) I would have enjoyed something like that.

      I know as a frequent speaker at technical seminars (unpaid), the speakers must spend a LOT of time getting a formalized program planned, getting remarks clear in your head (or create a script if you need it – I don’t) and make sure you cover the what the audience is paying for. Structured events will make interaction harder.

      I suspect my needs were met because my expectations were low. I know what the technical seminars cost – about $1,000 per day, so this would have been about $2,000-$2,500 in in my area expertise. For $160 I wasn’t expecting much, so I was happy.

      Comment by toursbooks — October 26, 2009 @ 4:18 pm | Reply


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