Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Conference Update and Book Signing Announcement

Promotion Alert! Yes, here I am “plugging” my book, Boise River Gold Country, again. (I do try not to overdo it.)

The next planned book signing will be this weekend – July 7 – at the Barnes & Nobles Booksellers store at the Grand Teton Mall here in Idaho Falls. The official signing will start at about 1:00 PM and, if there is sufficient interest, go until the store closes at 10:00. Those of you in the area, please come by. To refresh your memory about the book, visit my earlier blog about it.

Conference Brief
The book signing at the Jackson Hole Writers’ Conference basically ... wasn’t. I “gave a signing and nobody came.” As predicted by the conference chair, only the most popular authors signed any books at all. Oh well, my fellow attendees expressed a lot of interest, so we may see a bump in online sales. (For some strange reason, people who face long airline flights – like to Atlanta or Boston – don’t want to load themselves down with heavy mementos.)
Downtown Jackson. Tourism photo.

The organizers revamped their schedule this year, starting earlier on Thursday and ending on Saturday evening. Eliminating the “rump” session, Sunday morning to noon, was probably not a bad thing. They still had plenty of excellent presenters, both for individual talks and for their panel discussions.

The “craft classes” were very good. Except for one (which will remain nameless), they could have gone on much longer and still have sustained our interest.

 One of the most interesting was “Going Digital.” The two presenters Lise MClendon and Jeremy Schmidt, first gave a passing nod to some of the exciting new forms that have become available for electronic publications. They then spent a good deal of time on digital publishing in terms of print on demand (POD) and electronic readers (Kindle™, et al). Lise is now re-issuing her “backlist” of books. These are earlier novels that her traditional publishers have declared “out of print.” Readers who discover her new novels and want to read the earlier ones – especially those with a series character – can now buy fresh copies rather than making do with a “Used” from

In all the back and forth, I did not quite catch whether or not Jeremy is re-issuing his backlist yet, but he is certainly considering it seriously.

I do have to say the organizers might have tried to squeeze in perhaps too much, in a couple areas.

First, to fit in more “student readings,” they cut the time allotment from 4 minutes to 3. That worked fine for the poets, but made life difficult for the rest of us. And I’m not just saying this because I did not find out about the cut until just before the readings began. In several cases, readers had just got to the climactic part when they had to stop. Others seemed rather rushed. (Unless you have a lot of experience, or practice a lot, it’s hard to gauge how long a reading might take.) I had about decided not to use my time slot, but was able to prune it down while still keeping the best parts.

They also reduced the face-to-face time for the writing sample critiques to just 15 minutes. Even the critiquers (is that’s a word?) seemed frustrated by the tight time limit. If they stick with that length, I shall not be submitting in the future.

Overall, as usual, a great time to meet and chat with other writers.

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