Writing Advice from the Sisters


by C. Margery Kempe

I’m a member of Sisters in Crime and the 2012 Publishers Summit Report has come out. This is the advantage of belonging to writer organisations: insider info. I’m a member of the upper Hudson (NY) chapter, Mavens of Mayhem, too and act as their social media wrangler. I’m giving a talk on Saturday about using Twitter as a writer.

The perks of membership: you get a lot of useful information and mentoring that might cost big buck as a conference or workshop, but are included in your membership fee. I know there are lots of chapters of Romance Writers of America across the States and the Romance Novelists Association in the UK.

I can’t give away all the secrets in the report, but I thought I would mention a couple of things that will get you thinking about how the writing field is changing:

Agent and President of the Writers House agency, Simon Lipskar suggests among other things that you surround yourself with people who give you good advice. If people like your editor and agent are not being honest and tough with your work, they’re not really going to help you in the long run. Lipskar puts it bluntly: “Get a different agent and editor.”

You may think that the Library Journal is only going to be interested in big names, but editor Barbara Hoffert says that they know libraries will buy big names, so they do look for smaller presses and debut authors. They need a big lead time, however; libraries may do their ordering six months in advance.

Sarah Weinman of Publishers Marketplace affirms that e-books remain the fastest growth area for publishing revenues and “bringing major change” to the field (sorry, but having been published in ebooks since 2008, can I say duh!). There are concerns about how the current cases under review by the Department of Justice may affect Amazon and Apple, but you can’t put the genie back in the bottle. She does think more short stories will appear online from major publishers.

There was a spotlight section with Shawn Nicholls, the Senior Digital Marketing Director of HarperCollins talking about marketing and how much of the responsibility now rests with the author. Nicholls talks about Facebook and Goodreads, putting excerpts on Scribd and running contests on Goodreads (they do print only). Not a word about Twitter, which shows where the Big 6 5 4 are on technology —

— behind their authors!

Where do you find your next read? Where do you find your readers?

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8 Comments

  • LizEverly
    April 19, 2013 at 10:48 am

    I’m a member of Sisters in Crime, too. Great organization. I’ve just become a member of RWA and its Kiss of Death chapter is awesome! Interesting that Twitter wasn’t mentioned–and strange. To me, it’s very powerful. I find a lot of much new reads on the #fridayreads list there, as well as on FB. Great post!

    • cmkempe
      April 19, 2013 at 10:58 am

      Yeah, I plan to mention the absence tomorrow. It’s strikingly telling.

  • Elizabeth Shore
    April 19, 2013 at 11:39 am

    Great post, Margery, and I echo what Liz said about the absence of Twitter. That was really surprising to me. Thanks for the update. I feel like anything related to social media can’t come often enough because every time I turn around there’s something new!

    • cmkempe
      April 19, 2013 at 12:34 pm

      No kidding. I’ve still never it into Pinterest, but I’m all wordy wordy.

      • madelineiva
        April 19, 2013 at 2:01 pm

        It’s a brave new world. While lots of authors can feel anxious about this–the people who are courageous and willing to try new things stand out like beacons. Exciting times!

  • cmkempe
    April 20, 2013 at 12:08 am

    And it’s so much better in a lot of ways. More opportunity, more ways to share. A challenge to be heard, but there’s so much satisfaction in getting stuff out there.

  • cmkempe
    April 22, 2013 at 8:57 am

    Reblogged this on C. Margery Kempe and commented:

    Useful things!

  • cmkempe
    April 22, 2013 at 11:36 am

    I gave a talk on Twitter Saturday and a lot of people were just, oh I don’t really want to do any of that. I told them, your publisher will think otherwise!

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