Last year at Lunacon's panel on e-publishing, exactly two people showed up: Michele Lang and me. It was a Sunday afternoon, at the end of the con, so it wasn't too shocking that there wasn't much of an audience, but one would have expected the other two presenters, at least, to come. Michele and I spent a long time talking shop and talking motherhood, comparing notes on how the arrival of her child had freed her to begin writing, while the arrival of mine had slowed my former shockingly prolific rate of production to a crawl. Mostly, she gave me the skinny on how the business of e-publishing differed from the business of print publishing. It was a wonderful conversation, and exactly the one I needed at that point.
At this year's panel on e-publishing, there were four presenters, including one from Baen Books, and nearly all the seats were full to hear what those four had to say. That was surprising enough. What surprised me even more was that about half of the people in the audience were not writers there to learn about unfamiliar markets--they were readers looking to learn new ways to find and buy books. How's that for a nice counterpoint to the doom-and-gloom news emanating from the publishing world these days? Some of those people had never seen an e-book device before, and had no idea where online to look for e-books, but they really, really wanted to know.
Hallelujah! The industry's big shift may be shifting us all somewhere other than oblivion after all.
Michele Lang greeted me by name before the panel started up formally, and complimented me on the fliers for my books that she'd seen around. Michele, if this post turns up in your Google alert, thank you for that decorous bit of promotion. When I went around to the display racks at the end of the con to gather any unclaimed promotional materials, I found that all but one of my fliers had been picked up. Nobody bought any CDs, but maybe somebody will venture out to Fictionwise.
After the day's schmoozing and panel-going and promo-regathering were done, tracyandrook and I sat in the hotel restaurant feeding Gareth bits from our plates. I was telling Tracy about meeting the editor who bought my Ghost Tour story for Baen's Universe when Gareth misheard and miscategorized the magazine title.
"B(r)ains!" he said. "B(r)ains! Zombie! Zombie zombie zombie! B(r)ains!"
If you have ever had to spend a Very Long Time entertaining a toddler who wishes he were not strapped into a car seat, you too have probably had to sing "Old MacDonald" until you've gone through every animal you've ever heard of, including squid and tribbles. I don't generally resort to zombies, because it feels to me vaguely creepy to hear my sweet baby yelling about eating brains. My very excellent husband, however, thinks it's hilarious. Turns out Dan is right about this one, if our fellow diners' doubletakes and guffaws are anything to go by.
Thank you all for your kind wishes for my recovery. I seem to be all better, um, as long as I don't try to have half a glass of wine with dinner. Heck, it's an improvement. I'll take it.