J: Just a bit more conference info (Part Two) and a Joke

Okay, here's a look into my notebook from the conference.  (Only I typed it up.  Otherwise you'd have no idea what the scribbles were meant to say.  To be honest, sometimes I don't even know.  And yes.  I DO teach elementary school and make students rewrite messy work.  Shhhh.  Life's just one big hypocritical little mess.  Isn't it great when you can just get back at it by adding to the lie?  Okay, okay.  I don't mean that at all.  This was for my eyes only, so it could be messy.  My students writing is totally different.  Their work is for my eyes only.)

Some notes are "No, duh.  christy, seriously are you even gonna try to be helpful?"  Some are a tad more helpful than that. (y'all get this is christy, right?? thxkbye, erica. :)
  • Be Prepared.  Don't query until your work is ready to go.  If you get an email saying to send it all,  send it all.  Not an email saying you don't have it all.
  • Vampires, as surprised and dismayed as the agents seemed, are continuing in their popularity.  You have to realize that trends have a two year lead time, from the time your work is accepted by a publisher and printed.  So, be ahead of the game.  Not a follower of it.
  • Write what you believe in.  Not just something trendy.  (See above.)  Because you may be sacrificing your passion and, therefore your voice, if you're forcing yourself to write what you really don't feel in your gut. If you feel a past trend, and have a great voice/concept/etc., write it. You might succeed.
  • Small-town, traditional romances are predicted to make a comeback. (erica thanks her lucky stars)
  • (on trends) NY Times was quoted saying that if women stop reading, the trend will die.  (So, apparently women just love those blood suckers.) (and, well, you know, books...)
  • 80% of books are bought by women. (sorry, male followers. it's up to you to convice your compadres)
  • Mass market books are still outselling e-books. (Yay!!) (sorry, I love paper books)
  • Amazon now has Amazon singles with novellas, perfect for readers with short attention spans (and, um, anyone who loves novellas.)
  • If you publish an e-book you'll get 85% of the profits, if you  publish traditionally, you'll only get 5%.   (was that stat right, erica???) (erica says no - it's more like 15-25%. Thanks for asking. :)
  • Word Count:  Books have gotten shorter.  Write them under 70k.  (There was an agent at the conference who wouldn't look at work if he thought it was too long.  One woman told us he told her to cut it down to 80k before she could send it to him.  She was unwilling to cut 30k.)
  • Women's Fiction:  75-95k
That's enough for today, but I do have more.  I'll add it to tomorrow's post.  NOW FOR THE JOKE!

A writer died and was given the option of going to heaven or hell.

She decided to check out each place first. As the writer descended into the fiery pits, she saw row upon row of writers chained to their desks in a steaming sweatshop. As they worked, they were repeatedly whipped with thorny lashes.

"Oh my," said the writer. "Let me see heaven now."

A few moments later, as she ascended into heaven, she saw rows of writers, chained to their desks in a steaming sweatshop. As they worked, they, too, were whipped with thorny lashes.

"Wait a minute," said the writer. "This is just as bad as hell!"

"Oh no, it's not," replied an unseen voice. "Here, your work gets published."


--christy (including, perhaps, a bit of erica)

Product DetailsProduct DetailsProduct Details

explanation of J book picks:

First, erica loves Sarah Dessen.  So Just Listen was a perfect pick for J.  Second, christy (while searching through amazon for J books) found a book on Audrey Hepburn (her idol!) and couldn't be more excited to get it!  Third, christy enjoys reading Junie B. Jones to her first/second grade students and finds her to be a super example of writing with voice.  :0)


  1. I love hearing that mass market books are selling more than ebooks. I love paperbacks. I'm Team Paperback.

    and I love the joke!

  2. I'm surprised at that piece of information about books getting shorter. Good to know. Thanks.

  3. LOL- really fun joke! And those little things you have scribbled down are good pointers. Have a great day!

  4. I found out about shorter books awhile back. That's why I kept cutting my first novel to be more sellable.

    Thanks for the other tips...

  5. Awesome!!! :O)
    My conference days are years ahead of me but it's always good to know. I've learned the hard way (not by querying, but by hunting for a CP) that it's always good to have work ready to show. Always!!!

  6. Every time I hear that joke, I laugh some more. Thanks for the chuckle!

  7. Haha, awesome...and all too true...joke. Thanks for the notes. It's interesting that books are getting shorter. Huh, suddenly that novel in my head I'm bit by bit converting to words seems a lot less daunting...

  8. I wondered about book length because short stories are gaining popularity.

  9. Thanks for sharing your notes! Very encouraging that they want shorter books (that's how I write 'em).

    Thanks for the joke! Kinda funny, kinda sad.

  10. Really interesting to see that and good to make your acquaintance.

    Look forward to following your posts and writing in future

    warm wishes

  11. Thanks for sharing your conference notes! Wow, vampires are still popular, huh? Interesting. I suppose they still want 'em with a new twist, though. Good point about the novel lengths; I've also heard that. Anything over 100K is an eyebrow-raiser.


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