It’s hard to believe it’s three weeks since I returned from the Romance Writers of Australia national conference in Melbourne. It was their 20th Anniversary conference and undoubtedly the best I have attended. The quality of the workshops, tutorials and plenary sessions was exceptional. Over the past couple of years the association has run an Author Day on the Thursday prior to the conference, and this continues to be a wonderful opportunity for published authors to meet with other published authors, both from Australia and overseas, and editors, publishers and agents to find out what is happening in their industry.
The buzz during the four days revolved around the future of publishing – print versus electronic. Would ebooks bring about the demise of the print book? Although the impact of ebooks is only beginning to be felt in Australia, we’re very much aware of how the industry has fared overseas. As more e-reading devices become available and more commonplace in Australia, there is no doubt we will follow overseas trends and opt for purchasing ebooks in greater numbers.
At the conference it was emphasised that as more and more ebooks are self-published (current figures indicate they are already in excess of 1 million) it will become even more difficult for readers to find quality reads. It will also mean that first-time authors risk seeing their books have miserable sales figures. According to Bob Mayer (NY Times bestselling author who has started his own publishing company Who Dares Wins Publishing), the authors who are doing better than most in electronic sales are those who have already been print published, have an established readership, and have the rights back to their back list that they can e-publish and attract new readers. The chances of a first-time self-published author achieving good to great sales are slim. The exceptions to this are authors like John Locke and Amanda Hocking, who have done amazingly well with their ebooks. Unfortunately, the other 999,999 authors will never come even remotely close to their success.
Author and blogger extraordinnaire, Joanna Penn, interviews a lot of industry professionals with insights into books and publishing, and both readers and writers will find her blog interesting.
With all the chaos happening before I left for the conference, I didn’t get to pack until the night before I flew out, and ended up forgetting my camera. So check out www.romanceaustralia.com for pics. The only one I have to show you is one a friend took on the last day and emailed to me. So if we’re looking a little tired … But here we are – Sandra Allan, Kaz Delaney and Isolde Martyn (the blondes) and me (the short one).