This was the view from my room at The Hutton Hotel. (You can read my review of the hotel by clicking on the Hutton hotel link.)
It was the best conference hotel I’ve ever stayed at and the nicest most helpful staff of any hotel I’ve been to in the U.S.
The wine tasting on Thursday night was delightful. Met three lovely authors and tasted 4 wines each of which was accompanied by a delish amuse bouche. The 1808 Grille was a fabulous setting for the tasting.
I met up with fellow blogger August McLaughlin on our first night and went to Chuy’s for Mexican.
Sara York joined us. The company was awesome, the decor was ostentatious.
The official start of the conference was on Friday morning. Clay Stafford talked about how his goal is to see lives transformed and that the conference is all about the attendees. (It truly is)
D. P. Lyle was one of the guests of honor and our first speaker. If you get the chance to hear this man talk, GO!
He is an electrifying presenter and his talk on Scott Peterson and OJ Simpson was one of the best of the conference. He talked about the importance of knowing the backstory and plotting things out when writing a murder. But also it’s key to understand where your story starts.
For Scott Peterson, the story starts with: Where’s Lacey?
The next panel I attended was a Forensic Workshop: Interrogation Techniques with Sgt. Derek Pacifico a retired Homicide Detective. Another engaging and awesome speaker who imparted lots of useful information to the audience.
He gave us an in depth understanding of the 5 steps to interrogation: interview prep, building a rapport, interviewing (not interrogating), break, and interrogation. He talked about the importance of the interviewing to determine a truth baseline. Just chatting with someone will give you an idea of what their tells are before you have the actual interrogation.
After lunch, I attended the Self Publishing panel with three authors I adore: Jennie Bentley, August McLaughlin, and Rae Ann Parker. I also got to meet two new authors–Karen Sandler on the far right and Vinnie Hansen on the far left.
One of the key takeaways from this panel for me was that every book has an audience.
Publishers want the biggest market share. Self publishing can target a market share that the big publishers overlook.
However, self publishing is a massive undertaking. You have to do everything a traditional publisher does and more.
Also the ereaders and book readers are two very different segments without much crossover between them.
I attended the breakout session that was a Q&A with agents and editors. Agents and editors agreed that there is no point in writing to trend. They want to love the books they work with.
No one knows with real certainty what will sell. Agents learn about market saturation when editors push back on something. The booksellers tell the publishers what isn’t selling and the publishers tell the editors and they let the agents know.
Highlight of my day?
Gretchen Archer asking me in the elevator if I was Kourtney Heintz. And when I said yes, she asked about Six Train! How cool is it that she knew the name of my book. BTW, her book Double Whammy was a finalist for the Silver Falchion Award and on my must be read soon list!
I ended up having dinner with her and her friends, a group of fantastic Henery Press authors that included: Terri Austin, Lyndee Walker, and Larissa Reinhart. We went back to Chuy’s. And they adopted me into their group. Had a blast hanging with them all weekend. But that’s a post for Thursday. 🙂