Better writers than me have posted excellent write-ups of conference talks so instead of a deep, insightful blog post I thought I'd do a list of "Ten things I didn't know before the conference". There are probably an awful lot more than ten but I know you haven't got all day. So, before your cup of tea/coffee gets cold I'll get on with it...
Conference Top Ten (facts, tips and gossip)
- The biggest sector buying books in supermarkets is women aged 40-49 and for some titles supermarkets can account for 90% of sales.
- Digital is seen as the way forward (but beware, if the supermarkets are giants Sony, Amazon and Google are monoliths...) ebook sales and audio downloads have rocketed, particularly with the release of the ipad. Ebooks and audiobooks may be released as packages in the future
- Watch out for 'author apps' - a kind of fan club app, with the opportunity to get sent free excerpts. .
- Writing a 'Trojan Horse' - Romantic plot-lines are selling really well, especially when dressed up as something else e.g. an aspirational plot-line (lifestyle change, travel etc). If you write romantic suspense emphasize the suspense part of your pitch! It's sad but true - there are women out there who want the romance stories their grandmothers read but to have it dressed up as something modern, more contemporary perhaps.
- Romance accounts for 20.5% of all fiction sold.
- It takes a brave and a good writer to start a new trend, to innovate rather than imitate. One point from the Mills and Boon talk (see photo below) was that writers need a commercial awareness of the market and to keep their fingers on that market's pulse to create fresh stories that are relevant to the twenty first century reader.
- The words 'twenty first century' appeared no fewer than 7 times in the key points of the M&B talk. Methinks they were making a point.
- It is possible to be creative at 9 am on a Sunday morning with a screaming headache and the cogs of your brain grinding painfully - Julie Cohen's workshop taught me that - despite feeling crap I came out of the workshop with a new hero and story idea. From discipline can come inspiration. Actually think I'm in danger of getting deep there, so moving swiftly on...
- You don't have to be a Planner or a Panster like it's your religion for life - you can be somewhere in between or a flexible planner (thanks Kate Hardy for the excellent talk :-). Switching off your email while you're writing can lead to better productivity. (Okay I already knew that one but sometimes it's good to be reminded... Like Kate Walker's workshop on Conflict, you can never be reminded too many times).
- Sadly there were rumours that our favourite 'party outfit' publisher may be having distribution problems, we firmly hope for the sake of it's fab writers that there will soon be better news on the inkvine...
But now it's time to finish dunking that biscuit and make an official Minx announcement (drumroll please):
We're very pleased to announce that we've lured one of our lovely blog friends over to the Minxy side. She probably doesn't know what's hit her yet so we're announcing it before she changes her mind. I'd like to welcome Joanne Pibworth as a new member of the Minxes of Romance. Welcome Joanne.
Joanne will be introducing herself properly here on the Minx blog on Monday 9th August so I hope you'll come back then to welcome her properly :-)