Tuesday, October 09, 2007

New Jersey Conference and Harlequin Changes

Hey all - sorry for the late post. I was strung out on pumpkin pie yesterday and sweating too much to sit at the computer. Hottest Thanksgiving on record -- our poor planet. Anyway -- I got back from the New Jersey RWA conference this weekend - always a fantastic conference. If you are considering going to a conference but don't want to commit to the zoo that is national - this is a great one to try. Well run. Lots of big authors and agents and editors. Fantastic chocolate buffet on Friday night - seriously, what's not to like?

Of course everyone was a buzz about the changes to Harlequin NEXT and LOVE EVERLASTING. If you haven't heard - those lines are no longer going to be published as they are. Love Everlasting will be a book a month series under the Superromance Imprint and they are looking into NEXT as a trade paperback - though they are making no promises.

So, at the PAN retreat there was the usual Harlequin-doesn't-know-what-it's-doing-the-world-is-coming-to -an -end conversation. And usually I get real swept up in this hysteria - as a person with two lines that have closed - it's easy to do. But this time - thanks to the FABULOUS Eileen Dreyer -- I kept a cool head. Eileen's whole vibe was -- it takes a long time to get perspective on your career. It takes years to get to a point where you can look at the changes in the industry and the great big teeth it has that chews up authors all the time - and go "Meh."

We say it all the time here - or in that corner book at the Duke - but it was the total theme of this conference. Keep writing. Keep getting better. Listen only to the people you love and trust. Keep one eye on the market, trends and industry and remember if you just hang in long enough everything is going change. Good and Bad. Sherrilyn Kenyon was there and she seconded it -- being as how she couldn't be more on the top of the world she understands it's not going to last. At some point she will have problems selling books -- hard to believe looking at her line up at the book signing - but she's right. Everything changes.

Which - despite the drama at Harlequin - makes me glad I write category. It will be a long time before there is NO category published at all - and if I just stay flexible within that house - I could go anywhere.

It was also a major theme that as authors you need to play nice. Do revisions. Listen to editor feedback. Stay quiet on the loops. Keep the pontificating to that back corner of whatever bar you love and don't get distracted by Facebook and Myspace and promotion that gets you exactly nowhere.

Writing a good book is still the best thing we can all do for our careers.

7 comments:

Sinead M said...

So true, Molly and so glad you came back from the conference so clear headed. I find sometimes conferences can muddle me up.

Keep writing and keep getting better is exactly what we should be doing, but I understand how hard that can be when staring at a pile of rejection letters and trying to find the silver lining and not panic...

That's why everyone needs the corner booth at their local pub and fellow drunk writers to talk sense into them.

Heidi the Hick said...

Would you drunken writers mind if I link this blog on mine?

Christine d'Abo said...

Harlequin is still a business and is trying to tailor it to the demands of today. Yes, it sucks, but it happens. I think your advice to stay flexible is important, not just for category but for all writing.

Fantastic post Molly.

Maureen McGowan said...

Link away, Heidi! We love links to our blog!

Molly O'Keefe said...

I think it comes back to knowing what you do best and figuring out how you can mutate that into different subgenres etc...

Eileen told some amazing stories about where the industry has taken her and how important her friends have been. If you ever get a chance to hear her speak - I really recommend it.

Alli said...

Great post, Molly. The more I hear about the NJ conference, the more I feel the need to attend. Especially if there's chocolate! Thanks for the update.

Molly O'Keefe said...

I really recommend it Alli - it's a very well run conference - and the chocolate is GREAT.

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