Monday, July 14, 2008

A New Career?

Have you seen the commercials for Serta Sleep Centres featuring the sheep being put out of business because Serta mattresses are so comfortable, folks have no trouble falling asleep? I love the Serta sheep. So this morning, during one such commercial, I said, "I want a Serta sheep."

My husband thought I said, "I want a herd of sheep."

Prompting him to wonder if I was wishing to take up shepherding as a new calling.

In other TV news, did you catch the new show, Flashpoint? Just FYI, the facility for the real Toronto Emergency Task Force is not very far from the Harlequin offices in Toronto.

There was an article in today's Globe and Mail about Thrillerfest, the International Thriller Writers conference. I was immediately aware of the general tone of respect for the writers attending -- quite different from the often "these pathetic dizzy dames who wannabe writers" coverage romance events elicits. Is it because Thrillerfest is attended mostly by men and the sessions are about guns 'n' stuff? Or is it because of the Romantic Times convention, which is more fan-based, so it has more of a Trekkie convention atmosphere with the costumes and male models? Unfortunately, I don't think many in the media distinguish between the Romantic Times convention and the RWA national conference, although they are two different kettles of fish -- at least for now, and I hope it stays that way.

One other thing I noted: the "speed dating" agent sessions. Instead of 10 minutes or so, writers get three to pitch their ideas. I think agents and editors might love this shorter time -- it's not as if an author's going to be making an actual sale at that moment anyway. Would a shorter time make writers less nervous? After all, you don't have time to really crash and burn. But it's a lot less time to get your idea across. It's not much more time than it would take to present your card. OTOH, those sessions are pretty fatiguing for agents and editors. Would shorter sessions keep fatigue at bay longer and keep them attentive longer?

Which would you prefer?

Coming later this week: one of the most common, major mistakes I see in romance synopses


Michelle Styles said...

What I often find interesting is when you read comments by thriller writers and they think they get no respect.

I suspect that most agents/editors go into the pitching thing predisposed to say yes to a partial, unless it will really not work for them. Unless they actually see the written words, they can not determine if the book is going to be something they can get behind.
Equally, when you are pitching to so many agents/editors is there a whiff of desperation?
It would interesting to see the statistics on how many get taken on after doing such a thing.

Kimber Chin said...

I guess I'm lucky
because I hang out
with business folks.
They have a LOT of respect for romance writers for a few reasons.
Our books make money.
We know how to take care of our customer/reader base.
There is a high acceptance of new ventures/writers.
We're pushing innovation in the publishing business.
The media has a love/hate relationship with romance novels so we're almost always in the press (for good/bad reasons).

Margaret Moore said...

Michelle - I've heard editors say they are most likely to ask for a partial unless, as you say, the book is way out there. They know they can't tell by a person's interview whether the book will work or not, which is why I wish folks wouldn't get so nervous about pitches!

That's great to hear, Kimber! It puts a grin on my face to think of business types nodding sagely when discussing romance novels.

Kimber Chin said...

Well, before we get too self confident,
business folks have a healthy respect for the adult entertainment business too
for very similar reasons.