where the writers are
News from NINC

 I wonder (and worry) that readers might be a little upset by some of the things that thrilled the authors at the Novelists, Inc conference this week. I’ll get to that concern in a minute. But now that the conference is over, let me give you a little taste of my experience of it.


St Petersburg is beautiful! What a great setting for a fall conference. Below is the beach, which I had no time to enjoy, but it was lovely to look at. Everything was lovely, as a matter of fact. Especially the food. It’s going to take me a month to undo the damage I did to my waistline this week, but whatever!

To be a member of NINC, a writer must have at least two novels with an advance-paying publisher, so the conferences are far more about the business of writing than the craft. As you can imagine, in recent years with the economy suffering, the news for writers hasn’t been all that encouraging. But the rapid proliferation of e-readers and e-books is changing the landscape. People are reading–and reading plenty. Nothing could please a writer more and we were all pretty happy campers this week! Yet I know that the majority of my readers still love their books-on-paper, and I wonder if they feel any anxiety or annoyance over the movement toward e-books? What do you think?

What I personally find exciting, as you know from some of my recent posts, is the opportunity authors have to make their backlists (their out of print books) available to their readers by self publishing those books as e-books. This was a huge topic at the conference. There is a lot to learn about self pubbing, and some of us are ahead of the curve on this. (I have Secret Lives available and should have The Escape Artist ready to go in a few weeks).  I can’t tell you how bizarre this development is, though, when two years ago (or even a year ago), the words “self-publishing” would make a professional author shudder with disdain.

The conference ended at noon today, so John and I went out to lunch and then visited the Dale Chihuly museum. That’s one of his sculptures in the picture of me above, but the real beauties were inside and we weren’t allowed to photograph them. His glass is extraordinary and I’ve admired it in pictures for a long time, so I was so happy to have the opportunity to finally see some of it in person.

John and I also took one of the paddle boats into the little canals that run through the resort and it was a near death experience. Seriously, we thought we might have to be rescued. It was so incredibly hot, my seat back was broken and we could barely keep the boat moving. I think it’s time for John and me to get our butts back to the gym!

We leave in the morning. John has a bunch of new photographs to play with and I have a head full of information and excitement.