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Perks
05-18-2014, 10:09 PM
Hugh Howey (http://www.hughhowey.com/being-forced-to-sit-in-the-backlist/) felt marginalized (ETA - not for himself, for other self-pubbed writers) and labeled as an "aspiring writer", when he (ETA - he never says he was there, so it's not be his own situation he was describing) was relegated to the self-publishing room at the Romantic Times Booklovers Convention in New Orleans this weekend.


Imagine selling two million books, having half a dozen of your novels hit the New York Times bestseller list, being inundated with thousands of fan emails every month, and then having someone call you an “aspiring writer.”

That’s what happened in New Orleans this weekend, when the planners of the RT Booklovers Convention decided to place self-published authors in a dinky room off to the side while the traditionally published authors sat at tables in the grand ballroom.

Any AWers there? Was the set up as dire as he painted it to be?

I know Barnes & Noble takes issue with promoting and selling books that are published and self-published by Amazon, which makes sense. In the spirit of self-preservation, for what it's worth, I can see where they'd keep separate lists for self-published books, since many of those, if not the majority of them, are affiliated with the one entity likely to take them out of business.

JustSarah
05-18-2014, 10:14 PM
I knew there was a reason I was iffy of Barnes & Noble. Seriously? "Aspiring writer"? Sounds a bit condescending.

And so if your poetry is self-pubbed at Barnes And Noble?

Alessandra Kelley
05-18-2014, 10:30 PM
Putting self-published authors in an entirely separate room sounds a bit dodgy.

I am curious how one might rectify the situation. A room for all authors alike sounds more equitable.

lachrymal
05-18-2014, 10:37 PM
I wasn't in the Indie hall, so I can't speak to that. But to my knowledge, the ordering was done by Anderson's, not B&N, and they did order and stock Amazon Publishing titles and place those authors (or some of them, at least?) in the grand ballroom.

The announcer repeatedly exhorted attendees to go check out the NYT best sellers and other authors in the Indie room across the hall from the grand ballroom. I heard that announcement several times an hour in the grand ballroom during the signings. However, given that that exhortation was necessary, I can only imagine how incredibly frustrating it was for those authors to be set apart in that way. It wasn't just indie authors, either, but many who had e-first publications through small or large traditional publishers.

I think what mattered in terms of room placement was whether Anderson's could/would order the books for the show, and one of the deciding factors for them was the distributors' return policy. I wasn't at all privy to other deciding factors, however. Just an observer of how it went down at the event.

Perks
05-18-2014, 10:39 PM
ETA - cross posted with lachrymal, who just explained the setup---

I'm just wondering what the setup was. Were self-published authors really set apart or was this a panel where they were talking about different publishing routes?

I've been to a number of different conferences, both industry focused and more fan-based, and there are certain topics that will sort of naturally self-segregate the attendees and speakers. I've never been to RT, but it's just difficult to imagine that the arrangements were so adversarial.

And, like I said, Barnes & Noble's troubles with swaths of self-publishing can make sense on a business level.

Old Hack
05-18-2014, 10:44 PM
It's usual at cons for publishers to pay for their tables or stands, and to have rooms where they offer space authors whose publishers haven't paid for tables or stands. Might that have been the case here? I wonder, because Howey is published with a trade publisher too, and so the division he's suggested seems unlikely to me.

Perks
05-18-2014, 10:46 PM
I wonder, because Howey is published with a trade publisher too, and so the division he's suggested seems unlikely to me.

That's what I was thinking.

Kylabelle
05-18-2014, 10:50 PM
And so the question becomes, why this would have made him feel marginalized, enough so that he felt it needful to comment about it in public?

ETA: Having not read Howey's remarks, I know some of this might be clarified there, but I also wonder why being associated with other self-published authors would label him an "aspiring writer".

Also, I understand that publishing houses pay for spaces at the convention, so, he could have done that as well, correct? And then he would have had a space he'd have felt appropriate to his status.

Filigree
05-18-2014, 11:17 PM
I normally take anything Howey says with a large amount of healthy skepticism. But his post was, on the surface, fairly balanced. Of course, the comments quickly launched into 'those evil traditional publishers wanna keep us down!'

If this was a dinky separate room, that's a shame. Self-published and digital-first authors deserve equal treatment based on the same metrics applied to commercially-published authors.

ETA: the important thing to remember is that this convention was a commercial venture organized by companies wanting to sell *their* books. When business is that involved, I'd automatically assume a certain amount of gamesmanship.

Medievalist
05-18-2014, 11:17 PM
Note that the Book Fair has three categories, one of which authors would presumably select on registration:

https://www.rtconvention.com/faq#n358https://www.rtconvention.com/faq#n358

Self-publishers might have instead opted to rent a booth like other publishers, ranging from Penguin Random to Samhain. Or he could have appealed to his publisher Simon & Schuster to intervene.

Conventions of this sort are heavily underwritten by publishers booth fees and advertising/promo fees.

That said, I'm not sure that an SF author known for "suck it bitch" is likely to be swamped by enthusiastic readers at a romance convention.

But that's just me.

ETA: Mr. Howey's post implies that he was in attendance at the conference; he wasn't, apparently.

Filigree
05-18-2014, 11:27 PM
...That said, I'm not sure that an SF author known for "suck it bitch" is likely to be swamped by enthusiastic readers at a romance convention.

But that's just me.

No, I was wondering the same thing. This could have been solved or at least ameliorated at registration. That it didn't tells me Howey wasn't really familiar with the convention policies, and either didn't have or didn't listen to anyone who did know.

amergina
05-18-2014, 11:28 PM
I am currently sitting at RT. I will elaborate later because I'm posting from my phone, but I was IN that room and I NEVER felt marginalized. I even had published author on my name tag. It was an indie and eBook section. Indie being both self pub and small press.

amergina
05-18-2014, 11:37 PM
I'm not even sure Mr. Howey was here or if he's just second-hand bitching.

He's not listed as an attending author.

JennTX
05-18-2014, 11:41 PM
According to RT on twitter, the "aspiring writer" comment came from a volunteer, not a label that RT assigned to indie authors. It was quickly corrected. They also announced the NYT bestseller indies in the trade room and directed attendees to the indie room. Hugh seems to be taking the little things and blowing them out of proportion. Just my opinion.

I also have to agree with Medievalist. Hugh is not a popular figure with romance readers, due to his "suck it" comments.

I don't know the rights or wrongs as far as separate rooms, but I certainly didn't get the idea that this was a "back of the bus" situation. They just separated indie, ebook, and trade publishing. It is a huge convention, so it would be impossible to put all authors in the same room.

shadowwalker
05-18-2014, 11:55 PM
I didn't see his name listed as an attending author, either. Any comments coming from other SPs that actually attended?

Perks
05-18-2014, 11:57 PM
I'm not even sure Mr. Howey was here or if he's just second-hand bitching.

He's not listed as an attending author.Now that's weird.

Perks
05-18-2014, 11:58 PM
Huh. When I reread the article, he never says he was there. He may very well not be talking about himself.

Jokes on us, I guess.

Samsonet
05-19-2014, 12:06 AM
It makes me so sad that this guy is the Indie Spokesman, instead of, say, Amanda Hocking.

JennTX
05-19-2014, 12:13 AM
Huh. When I reread the article, he never says he was there. He may very well not be talking about himself.

Jokes on us, I guess.

Just catching up. On kindleboards, he confirms he was not there, he is just getting reports. In his words, "Couldn't believe what I heard."

I am in a lot of groups with indie authors who attended, and I never once heard a complaint. In fact, they all seemed to be having a good time.

Maryn
05-19-2014, 12:41 AM
FWIW, Amergina is only the first of the attendees to see and respond to this thread. Lots and lots of people from AW are or were there, including several from the threads I visit many times a day. I hope they'll all be able to share once they sober up get home. (Just kidding--but I saw on Twitter that a few friends may have overindulged last night.)

Maryn, who doesn't have a problem with that

Perks
05-19-2014, 12:42 AM
There's a common thread for all conferences --- hangovers.

JennTX
05-19-2014, 12:46 AM
FWIW, Amergina is only the first of the attendees to see and respond to this thread. Lots and lots of people from AW are or were there, including several from the threads I visit many times a day. I hope they'll all be able to share once they sober up get home. (Just kidding--but I saw on Twitter that a few friends may have overindulged last night.)

Maryn, who doesn't have a problem with that

Well, it WAS in New Orleans. Can't say I blame them.

Medievalist
05-19-2014, 01:07 AM
It makes me so sad that this guy is the Indie Spokesman, instead of, say, Amanda Hocking.

Amanda Hocking is downright spiffy, and a good writer. I'm rarely surprised by plot twists; she's surprised me. And she's got a good ear for dialog.

K.B. Parker
05-19-2014, 01:22 AM
Hugh wasn't there, he was speaking on behalf of a few other successful self publishers who were in attendance.

Kitty27
05-19-2014, 01:32 AM
Note that the Book Fair has three categories, one of which authors would presumably select on registration:

https://www.rtconvention.com/faq#n358https://www.rtconvention.com/faq#n358

Mr. Howey might have instead opted to rent a booth like other publishers, ranging from Penguin Random to Samhain. Or he could have appealed to his publisher Simon & Schuster to intervene.

Conventions of this sort are heavily underwritten by publishers booth fees and advertising/promo fees.

That said, I'm not sure that an SF author known for "suck it bitch" is likely to be swamped by enthusiastic readers at a romance convention.

But that's just me.

I can't imagine it,either.

My word!

I will wait for AW'ers to comment.

Mr Flibble
05-19-2014, 01:42 AM
Just clicked through to the blog

One comment caught my eye


The room the indie authors were in was not dinky. It was another ballroom, and the three times I visited friends there, it was packed. The PA guy repeatedly encouraged readers to visit the self-published authors, so RT was making an effort to steer traffic that way.

This, Hugh says, left one of his friends in tears
I can't help but wonder why.

It's more than I've had at many conventions....

Perks
05-19-2014, 01:53 AM
Hmmm. I'm thinking the kindest way to put it is "pot stirrer."

evilrooster
05-19-2014, 02:15 AM
Courtney Milan has what looks like a reasonable explanation (http://www.courtneymilan.com/ramblings/2014/05/18/rts-giant-bookfair/) for the split, based on administrative grounds (returnable vs non-returnable books).

It's not as exciting as persecution and martyrdom, but it sounds plausible. These kinds of back-end distinctions often do create incomprehensible front-end manifestations, and there's nothing like the incomprehensible to feed people's confirmation biases...

Manuel Royal
05-19-2014, 02:28 AM
It was an indie and eBook section. Indie being both self pub and small press.Now, if I were there from a small independent publishing house, I think it'd seriously bug me to be lumped in with self-publishers, and to have the term "indie" applied to us both.

shadowwalker
05-19-2014, 02:31 AM
Hugh wasn't there, he was speaking on behalf of a few other successful self publishers who were in attendance.

I think I'd rather hear from those other SPs themselves if they had problems with the arrangements. I mean, who knows what they actually said and how that was "interpreted"...

ElaineA
05-19-2014, 02:35 AM
The problem when one declares oneself The Voice For A Cause is that one must Keep Talking, whether the words coming out are factually correct or not.

I'm finding it hard to believe the writers who felt "disrespected" at the convention would need (or want) Mr. Howey--who wasn't there--to speak on their behalf. They are writers after all. I'm sure if they are unhappy, they can express it themselves.

I follow a local SP writer from my RWA chapter. I didn't detect in her tweets that she felt the least unwelcome. She looked to be having a good ol' time.

Filigree
05-19-2014, 03:00 AM
This is what I've been hearing, from self-published acquaintances reporting back. I apologize for misreading that Howey was there.

Frankly, if I'd been self-published and a convention PA person sent people my way, my tears would be of sheer gratitude. I'm digitally published with a small e-pub, in a genre that most of my local fan and writers' groups Just Do Not Get. Any publicity I want, I have to angle for...without coming across as a pushy bitch. For that reason, I really don't promote at local cons.

Even being at a 'side room' at RT would have been useful.

Alitriona
05-19-2014, 03:04 AM
I really wanted to go. I couldn't afford to. I would have been happy sitting in the janitor closet to be honest if it had a table and people were directed there.

Just my opinion. It seemed to me, as someone following closely for the last several days, that everyone was happy until a couple of folks spoke out and told them they shouldn't be.

Avatar_fan
05-19-2014, 03:16 AM
It should be named something else other than self published writers section as if there's any difference nowadays between that and traditionally published writers. If the RT organizers wanted to label the various publishing house sections and such, that's fine but call the indie section something like the "Independent Publishing" part of the convention. Writers are writers whether self-published or not.

Also, Hugh only has a print only deal with the publisher as he has full control of his digital rights. So the print publisher is more like a partner in his venture.

Hugh also has utilized the agent, Kristen Nelson, only for certain rights, which is a good template to emulate. On another note, an agent really doesn't deserve 15% forever on a writer's work and should instead switch to a 15% commission on a single deal (as opposed to continuous royalties) or even a flat fee. That or just cut them out completely and hire an IP lawyer instead who will work for said fee.

Alitriona
05-19-2014, 03:31 AM
It should be named something else other than self published writers section as if there's any difference nowadays between that and traditionally published writers. If the RT organizers wanted to label the various publishing house sections and such, that's fine but call the indie section something like the "Independent Publishing" part of the convention.

It's my understanding there wasn't a self-published section and that self-published writers were in with indie, ie those from independent publishing houses. Also, it's Trade, not traditional.

Samsonet
05-19-2014, 03:32 AM
There's an Ask the Agent forum, if you want to find out how the system works.

Medievalist
05-19-2014, 03:35 AM
It should be named something else other than self published writers section as if there's any difference nowadays between that and traditionally published writers. If the RT organizers wanted to label the various publishing house sections and such, that's fine but call the indie section something like the "Independent Publishing" part of the convention. Writers are writers whether self-published or not.

It's my understanding that the section included independent publishers and self-published writers and that the signage reflected that as well as the fact that the books in that section were being sold on consignment.


On another note, an agent really doesn't deserve 15% forever on a writer's work and should instead switch to a 15% commission on a single deal (as opposed to continuous royalties) or even a flat fee. That or just cut them out completely and hire an IP lawyer instead who will work for said fee.

A good agent gets you deals like book clubs, etc. In some cases, for instance non-fiction writers, or tie-in writers, a good agent gets you hired to write books because of their contacts with editors.

If I'm going to expect the agent to continue repping me with respect to, say, subsidiary rights, translation rights, etc. (which generally don't include an advance) and expect that agent to get me not just a solid advance but solid royalties, I'm fine sharing those royalties.

veinglory
05-19-2014, 03:36 AM
It was a ham-fisted approach which insulted many authors by putting them in a separate room, that opened late, where they had less table space. I expect the three major authors to blog about it so far will be only the beginning. RT is a great event run by smart people who could do a little better than this.

K.B. Parker
05-19-2014, 03:38 AM
I think I'd rather hear from those other SPs themselves if they had problems with the arrangements. I mean, who knows what they actually said and how that was "interpreted"...

It wouldn't be too difficult to dig into the story then, because those authors (even if the situation has been confused or blown out of proportion) have been pretty open about the issue.

EDIT: I'm prone to side with Courtney over this particular issue.
EDIT2: Elizabeth has some very good points as well.

veinglory
05-19-2014, 03:40 AM
http://elizabethhunterwrites.com/2014/05/18/thoughts-on-indie-author-separation-at-the-rt-convention-signing-in-new-orleans/
http://www.courtneymilan.com/ramblings/2014/05/18/rts-giant-bookfair/
https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=795326497153719&set=a.320105961342444.81576.100000291277408&type=1

Kylabelle
05-19-2014, 03:50 AM
Thanks, veinglory.

I notice both Elizabeth Hunter and Courtney Milan refer to the "aspiring author" label, and neither of them seems to know where that originated.

Courtney Milan says:


Rumor has it that someone claimed that the authors with returnable books were “real authors” and that the authors who were selling their books on a consignment basis were “aspiring authors.” As far as I can tell, this appears to have been one misinformed volunteer, rather than the official RT Convention description. It was not something that I saw or heard, and I do not think it was widespread.

while Elizabeth Hunter only comments:


I sure have a lot of readers for an “aspiring author.” Someone lost out on an opportunity to make money selling my books. Too bad for them.


Wherever the phrase came from it seems to have really raised some hackles. But since no one really knows who said it in the first place, or whether the event organizers or anyone else really have that opinion of self-published authors, I hope at least this part of the disturbance will wither and die.

Perks
05-19-2014, 03:51 AM
On another note, an agent really doesn't deserve 15% forever on a writer's work and should instead switch to a 15% commission on a single deal (as opposed to continuous royalties) or even a flat fee. That or just cut them out completely and hire an IP lawyer instead who will work for said fee.

Wow, I so disagree with this. My agent worked with me on getting my manuscript ready and was with me every step of the way. All success or failure of the project was a result of our combined efforts and I'm happy to pay her out of the results of that.

Also, she keeps track of the ongoing paperwork associated with each project, so that I don't have to.

K.B. Parker
05-19-2014, 03:54 AM
Wow, I so disagree with this. My agent worked with me on getting my manuscript ready and was with me every step of the way. All success or failure of the project was a result of our combined efforts and I'm happy to pay her out of the results of that.

Also, she keeps track of the ongoing paperwork associated with each project, so that I don't have to.

Yeah, I agree with this. A good agent is worth more than 15%, IMO.

Avatar_fan
05-19-2014, 03:57 AM
It's my understanding there wasn't a self-published section and that self-published writers were in with indie, ie those from independent publishing houses. Also, it's Trade, not traditional.

Writer's Digest (http://www.writersdigestshop.com/how_to_get_published) calls it traditional publishing and they're not the only authority (http://www.digitalbookworld.com/2014/156725/) to do so.


Traditional Publishing

Traditional book publishing is when a publisher offers the author a contract and, in turn, prints, publishes, and sells your book through booksellers and other retailers. The publisher essentially buys the right to publish your book and pays you royalties from the sales.

Samsonet
05-19-2014, 04:02 AM
Yes, but at AW, we use trade (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=249332).

Avatar_fan
05-19-2014, 04:04 AM
Yes, but at AW, we use trade (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=249332).

Oh, in that case, I'll abide by the rules of the forum.

Medievalist
05-19-2014, 04:07 AM
Thanks, veinglory.

I notice both Elizabeth Hunter and Courtney Milan refer to the "aspiring author" label, and neither of them seems to know where that originated..

"Aspiring author" is used all over the RT Convention site to refer to unpublished writers, but it's not meant disparagingly. It doesn't seem to be used on the site to refer to self-published authors.

I think there's likely some confusion; the site also uses self-published and "independent authors and publishers" to refer to authors published by independent/non-big 5 publisher and self-published authors.

From the point of the RT staff, I suspect the issue isn't about who is or isn't an author; it's all about how to handle the offered for sale books, and whether the publishers take returns.

You'll notice there's an FAQ regarding the Book Fair and "checking in" books being sold by authors "on consignment. (https://www.rtconvention.com/faq#n405)"

veinglory
05-19-2014, 04:09 AM
The motivation related to that, clearly. The outcome was that those authors got less table space, less traffic, and opened half an hour later. Good organization could have prevented it from even appearing to be a '2nd class' room.

Avatar_fan
05-19-2014, 04:30 AM
I went and read Hugh Howey's blog post titled Being Forced to Sit in the Backlist (http://www.hughhowey.com/being-forced-to-sit-in-the-backlist/) and he was referring to Liliana Hart when he talked about the 2 million book sales and novel bibliography.


Imagine selling two million books, having half a dozen of your novels hit the New York Times bestseller list, being inundated with thousands of fan emails every month, and then having someone call you an “aspiring writer.”

That’s what happened in New Orleans this weekend, when the planners of the RT Booklovers Convention decided to place self-published authors in a dinky room off to the side while the traditionally published authors sat at tables in the grand ballroom.

Authors like Liliana Hart, who is at the top of the game not just in the romance genre but in all of publishing, was labeled an “Aspiring Author.”

He never mentioned the 'Aspiring Author' bit was about him, and the abuse and snide remarks heaped on him here was not only wrong but uncalled for.

shadowwalker
05-19-2014, 05:04 AM
But it says "Authors like Liliana Hart," (emphasis mine), so that still doesn't point to all SP authors being called that, or if it was Ms Hart personally, or that it was used by everyone connected with the con. If the organizers say it was one misinformed volunteer, well, hell, things like that happen. How many people would have even known about it if someone hadn't gotten all hot and bothered about a reasonable mistake?

I don't think it was a conscious decision to put down indie publishers or SP authors. Unfortunate, definitely, and not well-thought-out, but the deliberate insult some make it out to be? It just doesn't appear that way to me.

Kylabelle
05-19-2014, 05:07 AM
I went and read Hugh Howey's blog post titled Being Forced to Sit in the Backlist (http://www.hughhowey.com/being-forced-to-sit-in-the-backlist/) and he was referring to Liliana Hart when he talked about the 2 million book sales and novel bibliography.


Imagine selling two million books, having half a dozen of your novels hit the New York Times bestseller list, being inundated with thousands of fan emails every month, and then having someone call you an “aspiring writer.”

That’s what happened in New Orleans this weekend, when the planners of the RT Booklovers Convention decided to place self-published authors in a dinky room off to the side while the traditionally published authors sat at tables in the grand ballroom.

Authors like Liliana Hart, who is at the top of the game not just in the romance genre but in all of publishing, was labeled an “Aspiring Author.” He never mentioned the 'Aspiring Author' bit was about him, and the abuse and snide remarks heaped on him here was not only wrong but uncalled for.

I have two comments about this, Avatar_fan. First, Howey's remark about Hart's being labeled "Aspiring Author" is itself kind of strange, in light of what else has been said in-thread here about the use of that term. If in fact Hart is published and at the top of her game, I don't understand who labeled her that way. It makes no sense.

My second comment is that to my reading, there has been no "abuse and snide remarks heaped on" Hugh Howey in this thread. If you're going to make blanket accusations of that kind, you need to be a lot more specific. In particular I strongly encourage you to use the Report Post button if you see a post you feel is snide, rude, or abusive. It is the little button inside a red triangle. Use it. :)

However, I suggest instead that we all take a breath and not let defensiveness get the better of us. I don't think the RT event organizers meant any offense, though I expect veinglory is correct that things could have been handled more equally. That's really a shame, but honestly, why not focus on how to prevent that in the future, instead of taking sides against each other?

Hugh Howey's statement, including its title, is just a bit inflammatory, and I don't personally think that's necessary or useful.

MacAllister
05-19-2014, 07:12 AM
<snip> [HH posted], "Authors like Liliana Hart, <snip>... was..."

You're going to take publishing advice from someone with so little control over his own language as to make that kind of subject/verb agreement error?

(And while that's an arguably snide observation, it hardly qualifies as "abuse"...")

Torgo
05-19-2014, 03:58 PM
My second comment is that to my reading, there has been no "abuse and snide remarks heaped on" Hugh Howey in this thread. If you're going to make blanket accusations of that kind, you need to be a lot more specific. In particular I strongly encourage you to use the Report Post button if you see a post you feel is snide, rude, or abusive. It is the little button inside a red triangle. Use it. :)

Yes, I'm not seeing any abuse either.


Hugh Howey's statement, including its title, is just a bit inflammatory, and I don't personally think that's necessary or useful.

Just to say - appropriating the language of the civil rights movement in this context is - IMHO - tasteless, ridiculous, and insulting. Self-publishing is not a civil rights movement, for heaven's sake, it's a business model.

quicklime
05-19-2014, 05:30 PM
so...I skipped page 2, but wait....he sort of implied HE was getting screwed over, but no, wait, it wasn't actually him, he was merely playing the Lorax, speaking for the self-pubbed, because the self-pubbed have no tongues.....except wait, a lot of them were fine, and there was this issue of them having to take free booths, where big publishers bought big booths, like at, yanno, ANY trade show.....

this is the same guy who said "suck it, bitch," until he realized folks found that offensive (how weird, its the first thing I say at job interviews and stuff) then back-pedaled to say he didn't actually SAY that, he only THOUGHT it actually.......



so, RYFW and all that, I gather he's a great writer, and it seems from his multiple debacles like this one that he should be: He's clearly entirely comfortable with fiction. :rolleyes

Sheryl Nantus
05-19-2014, 06:05 PM
Let's not forget that Mr. Howey is a self-appointed SP guru and needs to keep feeding the fire.

I would be wary of any future posts from him since he seems to be "post first, check later" when it comes to putting up flame bait.

He reminds me of Joe Konrath - if there's a chance to bash publishers, go ahead. Get the peeps riled up and oh, don't forget to buy my book on the way out to burn down those bookstores...

;)

tethys77
05-19-2014, 06:27 PM
Just to say - appropriating the language of the civil rights movement in this context is - IMHO - tasteless, ridiculous, and insulting. Self-publishing is not a civil rights movement, for heaven's sake, it's a business model.

Segregation doesn't autmatically imply racial or any other trait used to do the classifying. If you choose to link it to racial segregation, that's your baggage.

For a forum that's so completely hung up on words and their definitions (don't say Trad Pub- they'll send out the hounds) you'd think people would notice that segregation only means "separation from" and that anything could be used to do the sorting.

And as for calling self-publishing a business model, it obviously ends up being a business model, but it's also the only way some people can be published and therefore not really a decision they made willingly.

Pretending that everyone who self-publishes does so simply for business/economic reasons really doesn't give a nuanced picture of the writing/publishing landscape of today.

Even in a world where a few self-publishers have repeatedly made the NYT bestseller list, self-published authors still don't get as much respect as they should.

Whether or not anyone officially associated with RT intended to call self-published/indie authors "aspiring," let's all keep in mind that back in Oct of 2013, sp/indie authors were unhappy because registration for RT 2014 only lasted a week for them and they were wait-listed very early on compared to trade pub authors.

Only approx. 250 sp/indie authors were at RT2014 compared to approx. 450 trade pub authors. They were separated (If you like that term better) into two rooms, one much smaller than the other. It appears that from the outset RT planners had always intended to enforce that separation by limiting of the number of sp/indies that could register (allowing any more to attend would mean they'd have to be seated in the bigger ballroom).

The self pub/indie authors paid the exact same price for a spot at the tables, but trade pubbed authors got 3 feet of space while the sp/indies (who were promised 3 feet as well) only got 1.5 feet or less.

Sp/indies also had to ship in their own books with nowhere to store them and haul them back and forth themselves on the day of signing. It's not as though they were given any discounts to account for the fact that the RT organizers had to do less work on their behalf.

So in short, the sp/indies forked over the same amount of money, but they were given far less than was promised while still having to take care of quite a few number of tasks themselves.

I think it denotes a serious issue that needs to be addressed. It appears as though the RT con organizers only begrudgingly allow sp/indies to attend their convention and then only do so to make money off them (which, granted, is the point of the con). However, they appear to be maximizing the profit they make off sp/indies by charging for services that they have no actual intention of delivering.

williemeikle
05-19-2014, 06:33 PM
Self publishing is...
the only way some people can be published

Says who?

tethys77
05-19-2014, 06:37 PM
Self publishing is...

Says who?

If you want to pretend that trade publishing is an everyman's game where anyone with a 10,000 word Game of Thrones fanfic knockoff can get published by Simon and Schuester, well, nothing I say is going to convince you otherwise.

Torgo
05-19-2014, 06:42 PM
Segregation doesn't autmatically imply racial or any other trait used to do the classifying. If you choose to link it to racial segregation, that's your baggage.

If I were talking about 'segregation' you'd have a point, but I was actually talking about the 'back of the bus' comparison Howey makes in his blog title, which explicity invokes Jim Crow. So not my baggage, no.


For a forum that's so completely hung up on words and their definitions (don't say Trad Pub- they'll send out the hounds)

We are a writers' forum, so yes, words are important. In terms of 'traditional' vs 'trade', we have what amounts to a house style, and members are asked to use the house terms here specifically so that we don't waste time arguing about definitions.


And as for calling self-publishing a business model, it obviously ends up being a business model, but it's also the only way some people can be published and therefore not really a decision they made willingly.

Pretending that everyone who self-publishes does so simply for business/economic reasons really doesn't give a nuanced picture of the writing/publishing landscape of today.

I don't really understand this. How does any of this justify Rosa Parks language? Also, if you can't get trade published, it's for the business reasons of the trade publisher, no?


Even in a world where a few self-publishers have repeatedly made the NYT bestseller list, self-published authors still don't get as much respect as they should.

Except insofar as those few self-publishers get big trade publishing contracts, like Howey, Hocking et al...? It strikes me that the respect the industry affords to SP authors is pretty much in line with how many books they're selling? Isn't it actually the case that everyone in the book trade (and elsewhere) feels they don't get enough respect, enough attention?


I think it denotes a serious issue that needs to be addressed. It appears as though the RT con organizers only begrudgingly allow sp/indies to attend their convention and then only do so to make money off them (which, granted, is the point of the con). However, they appear to be maximizing the profit they make off sp/indies by charging for services that they have no actual intention of delivering.

I don't know the detail of the arrangements made for trade authors and publishers as opposed to self-publishers, so I won't address that - other people can pick up on those points. But this is clearly an evolving situation and an evolving market, and there will be problems that need to be worked through. In my opinion, though, making offensive 'back of the bus' comparisons is unhelpful hyperbole.

amergina
05-19-2014, 06:42 PM
The motivation related to that, clearly. The outcome was that those authors got less table space, less traffic, and opened half an hour later. Good organization could have prevented it from even appearing to be a '2nd class' room.

I'm trying to figure out how the room opened a half hour later for some folks but right on time for me. Who was in the same room.

williemeikle
05-19-2014, 06:44 PM
If you want to pretend that trade publishing is an everyman's game where anyone with a 10,000 word Game of Thrones fanfic knockoff can get published by Simon and Schuester, well, nothing I say is going to convince you otherwise.


And if you want to pretend that just because something is difficult then there's no merit in aiming for it, that's up to you.

Perks
05-19-2014, 06:45 PM
If you want to pretend that trade publishing is an everyman's game where anyone with a 10,000 word Game of Thrones fanfic knockoff can get published by Simon and Schuester, well, nothing I say is going to convince you otherwise.

Hang on, are you saying that everyman with one of those should be published by Simon and Schuester?

thethinker42
05-19-2014, 06:49 PM
I was there. I qualified for either room, but chose not to sign for reasons that aren't relevant to the discussion. I was there, though, spending time in both rooms.

The *entire* signing opened late for the same reason one section was put in a separate room: because the New Orleans fire Marshall was on site and having a fit about the number of people in that space. The ebook section was not held up any more than the larger room was.

Keeping this short because I'm on my phone, but as a largely ebook/small press author who was, you know, there, I'm a bit baffled by this whole kerfuffle.

williemeikle
05-19-2014, 06:52 PM
I was there. I qualified for either room, but chose not to sign for reasons that aren't relevant to the discussion. I was there, though, spending time in both rooms.

The *entire* signing opened late for the same reason one section was put in a separate room: because the New Orleans fire Marshall was on site and having a fit about the number of people in that space. The ebook section was not held up any more than the larger room was.

Keeping this short because I'm on my phone, but as a largely ebook/small press author who was, you know, there, I'm a bit baffled by this whole kerfuffle.

I think it's pretty obvious by now that it's a storm in a teacup, caused by someone opening their mouth without engaging their critical faculties and checking on actual facts first.

quicklime
05-19-2014, 07:01 PM
I think it's pretty obvious by now that it's a storm in a teacup, caused by someone opening their mouth without engaging their critical faculties and checking on actual facts first.

FWIW, hugh was an aw member. I remember him, well. A search here to examine the logic and behavior in past posts might be revealing for folks who feel poor hugh is being treated unfairly; this incident is hardly an outlier.

quicklime
05-19-2014, 07:05 PM
Hang on, are you saying that everyman with one of those should be published by Simon and Schuester?


that was my thought as I read this.


self-pub is somewhat looked down upon in some circles. The completely half-assed arguments, back-of-the-bus flamebait, blaming imaginary "gatekeepers" (if there are gatekeepers, there are in any industry; this is like a craft knitter calling JC Penneys "evil gatekeepers" simply because more people shop there and Penneys demands a certain level of consistency and quality to be part of their buying), etc. only serves to reinforce the "not ready for prime time" stereotype martyrs like hugh want to rail against.....

Medievalist
05-19-2014, 07:05 PM
FWIW, hugh was an aw member. I remember him, well. A search here to examine the logic and behavior in past posts might be revealing for folks who feel poor hugh is being treated unfairly; this incident is hardly an outlier.

He still is. He was never banned (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/member.php?u=32752).

shadowwalker
05-19-2014, 07:07 PM
I think we should also remember re: using two rooms that rooms only have so much floor space. It doesn't really matter how many total authors signed up - you can only fit so many bodies in a finite space. And, no matter what method is used to divide up the people, you don't book two rooms of equal size if you don't need them to be of equal size for the number of people using them (not to mention that most places that book these things don't necessarily have two or more huge rooms - or have them available at the same time).

And it seems to me that several have noted it wasn't only SP authors in the second room. That was not the criteria used. So I'm not sure why it's being slanted as a deliberate insult to SPs (well, I do, but...).

Sheryl Nantus
05-19-2014, 07:30 PM
I think it's pretty obvious by now that it's a storm in a teacup, caused by someone opening their mouth without engaging their critical faculties and checking on actual facts first.

But... the blogging! The freaking! The threatening! The freaking! The...

Yeah. Too much drama.

But it's all about staying in the spotlight. No matter how you get it, hmm?

;)

evilrooster
05-19-2014, 07:31 PM
If you want to pretend that trade publishing is an everyman's game where anyone with a 10,000 word Game of Thrones fanfic knockoff can get published by Simon and Schuester, well, nothing I say is going to convince you otherwise.

It might be useful to make a distinction between the author and the work here.

Some works, such as a clunky and predictable first novel or a "Game of Thrones fanfic knockoff" may not be trade-publishable. But that's not to say that authors cannot then turn around and write things that are trade-published.

It's not about the people. It's not a cult of personality. It's about the work. Trade publishers accept works that they think that the public will buy in large enough numbers to make a profit.

Calla Lily
05-19-2014, 07:34 PM
It might be useful to make a distinction between the author and the work here.

Some works, such as a clunky and predictable first novel or a "Game of Thrones fanfic knockoff" may not be trade-publishable. But that's not to say that authors cannot then turn around and write things that are trade-published.

It's not about the people. It's not a cult of personality. It's about the work. Trade publishers accept works that they think that the public will buy in large enough numbers to make a profit.

QFT.

veinglory
05-19-2014, 07:36 PM
All the self-pubs were in that room so it was a criteria used. Some other non-NY-published categories like small press were there also. And once there they got less table space than people in the other room. IMHO that alone is enough to register a complaint over. If they had separated the rooms alphabetically this would all just be an unfortunate mishap.

But RT should know that they have a long history of putting their foot in it with "lesser" authors and do what is necessary to uphold equal treatment. Otherwise we will have this discussion next year just as we did this year and the year before.

Even if it means delaying opening for everyone, not just the 2nd room, and involves a bit of running back and forth--it is simply not a good idea at this point to split rooms by anything other than arbitrary coding like name. That's what will bring this type of kerfuffle to an end.

As for the 'they actually are lesser authors' defense. Well, that is kind of the point here. These people are not agreeing with that assessment. And in the case of the top small/self and the bottom trade--there is certainly overlap by metrics like total sales/profit/fanbase. So a true meritocracy would divide them by that kind of measure and just be honest about it.

veinglory
05-19-2014, 07:46 PM
I would add that when I signed at RT several years ago they manage to have the returnables and non-returnables interspersed. So apparently it is doable.

amergina
05-19-2014, 07:53 PM
Apparently it was the world's largest mass signing....

There were a lot of people there and many who just came for the day.

Also, I really didn't expect to have the same amount of space as someone like Silvia Day. (Nor the mass of people she got.)

tethys77
05-19-2014, 07:59 PM
If I were talking about 'segregation' you'd have a point, but I was actually talking about the 'back of the bus' comparison Howey makes in his blog title, which explicity invokes Jim Crow. So not my baggage, no.

I don't really understand this. How does any of this justify Rosa Parks language? Also, if you can't get trade published, it's for the business reasons of the trade publisher, no?

Hugh Howey has pretty much made himself as famous for his inflammatory statements as he has with WOOL. It's up to you if you want to add fuel to his fire by calling out the nature of his remarks rather than just talking about the substance of them. I could be wrong, but I don't think pointing it out to him will make any difference.


Except insofar as those few self-publishers get big trade publishing contracts, like Howey, Hocking et al...? It strikes me that the respect the industry affords to SP authors is pretty much in line with how many books they're selling? Isn't it actually the case that everyone in the book trade (and elsewhere) feels they don't get enough respect, enough attention?

It's not really a question of attention. What stood out to me was the fact that sp/indies had to pay the same amount as trade pubbed authors but at the actual event, they got nothing close to the same treatment.


I don't know the detail of the arrangements made for trade authors and publishers as opposed to self-publishers, so I won't address that - other people can pick up on those points. But this is clearly an evolving situation and an evolving market, and there will be problems that need to be worked through. In my opinion, though, making offensive 'back of the bus' comparisons is unhelpful hyperbole.

It is unhelpful, which is why I just ignored it and moved on to the substance of the problem. I've seen screenshots of people's RT registration forms. They are no different for sp/indies than they are for trade authors. So it appears as though RT will treat all authors the same right up until they get their $484 registration fee, and then all promises and equal treatment go right out the window.

I think that's a more serious problem than whether or not Howey uses inflammatory language or whether any volunteers at RT referred to indies as "aspiring". If the "aspiring" comment was made, and RT confirms that it was, and it was a simple mistake, which RT claims that it was, then okay. I will accept those explanations. I even accept Courtney Milan's guess that authors were separated based on returnability of titles.

But none of this addresses why indies are being charged the same amount to appear at author signings while getting nowhere near what they were told they were paying for.

If RT would have been upfront and honest about what was going to happen (sp/indies were going to be put in another room), there would have been less outcry. If they had taken an extra step and explained why it was like that (if Milan is correct about returnability) there would have been even less outcry.

Then all we would be left with is figuring out why 35% of RT authors are essentially footing the bill for the other 65 (and arguably the WRONG 35% at that.)

Kylabelle
05-19-2014, 08:03 PM
Fascinating. Really, it is.

The late start was not about self- versus trade published, and the remark about "aspiring authors" was not only not an official statement, it was later clarified specifically as not any part of official attitude or policy by the RT organizers.

Some people feel their authorship and publication status could be respected more or held more equal with others, I get that. I also get that there are communication issues and rough spots that occurred, and perhaps a bit of unfair treatment.

But I agree with the member who posted up-thread, that this entire kerfuffle is largely an attention grab.

ETA: tethys77 and I cross posted. I'd like to know specifically what indies were told they were going to get, for their signup fee, which they did not receive. I have not yet read about that aspect of this. Please enlighten me? Thank you. And, 35% footing the bill for the other 65%? Where did that figure come from?

tethys77
05-19-2014, 08:06 PM
Hang on, are you saying that everyman with one of those should be published by Simon and Schuester?

I'm saying trade publishing picks and chooses what it will take on and to pretend there aren't authors out there who tried to get into that system and failed and eventually had to self-publish is just denying reality. Some of those titles languish forever in obscurity. Some make a bit of money before falling of the radar eventually. And some make it onto bestseller lists.

There are authors out there for whom self-publishing was their last chance and their last resort. To pretend they don't exist doesn't paint the whole picture of writing/publishing.

Perks
05-19-2014, 08:09 PM
I'm saying trade publishing picks and chooses what it will take on and to pretend there aren't authors out there who tried to get into that system and failed and eventually had to self-publish is just denying reality. Some of those titles languish forever in obscurity. Some make a bit of money before falling of the radar eventually. And some make it onto bestseller lists.Okay, sure.




There are authors out there for whom self-publishing was their last chance and their last resort. To pretend they don't exist doesn't paint the whole picture of writing/publishing.

Who pretends that there aren't self-published authors who go that route after they have given up on the trade model?

The complaint is most often that self-pubbed authors are always thought of like that.

tethys77
05-19-2014, 08:20 PM
It might be useful to make a distinction between the author and the work here.

Some works, such as a clunky and predictable first novel or a "Game of Thrones fanfic knockoff" may not be trade-publishable. But that's not to say that authors cannot then turn around and write things that are trade-published.

It's not about the people. It's not a cult of personality. It's about the work. Trade publishers accept works that they think that the public will buy in large enough numbers to make a profit.

I'm not saying there's anything right or wrong with trade publishing picking and choosing works, but they absolutely do so, and to act as though some people simply "chose" to self-publish as opposed to being denied entry to trade publishing (for various and sundry reasons) is only showing a piece of the picture.

I can sympathize with people who were locked out of the system from the get-go but are still shelling out equal amounts of cash for less than equitable services.

Filigree
05-19-2014, 08:26 PM
It's not about the people. It's not a cult of personality. It's about the work. Trade publishers accept works that they think that the public will buy in large enough numbers to make a profit.

Quoted again. I had a couple of private discussions about this episode, and self-publishers' self-perceptions in general.

Money earned is only one metric in publishing, as are respected reviews. Sure, some self-publishers get into it for personal validation and other reasons. That's fine. But like many isolated poets and outsider artists, their work is only going to be judged positively (and widely) once it has been discovered by...you guessed it, gatekeepers.

AW gets a rather harsh reputation among some of the self-pub crowd, sometimes merited, most often not (in my opinion). Some of AW's forums are close-knit and supportive communities where members' foibles and triggers are well known and accepted. Other forums are crowd-sourced industry news services all the more invaluable for their blunt nature. Sympathy and respect are AW by-laws, more than in many other writing and publishing forums, but I can see where the public forums can come across as somewhat brutal.

Re: self-publishing. I still, as many years as I've been nosing around the edges of the publishing industry, cringe at the instant defensiveness of many self-publishers. I *adore* the idea of self-publishing and plan on being a hybrid author. Many mods and members of AW are also hybrid authors, or self-published, or at least interested in the adventure.

This is a whole new world from 1987. Then, a lot of mass-market paperback authors could make a living from one or two books a year, and the advances drawn from those commercial contracts. By the mid-nineties, midlist genre authors were becoming so desperate that some quit writing altogether - or reinvented themselves under new pen names. Now we don't have the utter tyranny of the large publishers saying 'our way or the highway'.

Instead, we have the tyranny of tribal mobs: new to their dogma, eager to evangelize, eager to unskeptically follow self-appointed leaders, and thin-skinned about any perceived criticisms. Easy digital self-publishing has flooded vendors with works that probably would never have survived a commercial publisher's slushpile. (Just as easy and cheap hobby supplies have led to a large proportion of truly awful DIY crafts, and untrained artists who honestly can't see the difference between their work and museum-grade pieces.)

Many commercial publishers, agents, and authors still look down on self-published counterparts because the latter often produce substandard work. Sure, so do some trade publishers. I'll happily point fingers at all of them for lazy editing and streamlining proofreaders out of the production schedule. But even in trade publishing, there are still multiple quality filters winnowing out the worst of the worst submissions.

Self-publishing really doesn't have that. Nor should it, if we believe in the SP mantra of personal responsibility and training. We are all our own filters when we self-publish. We wise up and learn to do the work ourselves - or outsource it to qualified help. Little infuriates readers faster than watching authors routinely publish early drafts, and use their readers' reviews as beta evaluations.

There's so much more stuff being published now, and being exposed (in theory) to large markets. A small percentage of self-published work is going to be well-written, clever, and lucky enough to grab respectable notice and market share. We have some amazing SP authors here on AW who prove it.

Most untrained, self-published authors won't be anywhere near that pinnacle. Pretending otherwise, pretending that every book is 'special', and that every commercial rejection or critique is motivated only by jealousy - is counterproductive to the vast potential of self-publishing at its finest.

Perks
05-19-2014, 08:28 PM
... and to act as though some people simply "chose" to self-publish as opposed to being denied entry to trade publishing (for various and sundry reasons) is only showing a piece of the picture.



I think there's been a misunderstanding somewhere. Everyone at AW (I mean, really, it's got to be just about everyone) knows that there are some people who go the self-pub route because they've tried to get into the trade publishers without success. A few years back, that might have even been the majority of self-published authors. Now there are many, if not possibly most, that choose self-publishing right out of the gate, for a variety of reasons. Some of those reasons, when typed out here, seem a little thin on practical information, but more and more, writers are giving it a whirl for the experience and for the possibility of significant success.

We have a lot of very savvy, talented, and successful self-published authors on AW.

tethys77
05-19-2014, 08:36 PM
ETA: tethys77 and I cross posted. I'd like to know specifically what indies were told they were going to get, for their signup fee, which they did not receive. I have not yet read about that aspect of this. Please enlighten me? Thank you. And, 35% footing the bill for the other 65%? Where did that figure come from?

I read Kendall Grey's Facebook post where she copy/pasted her RT registration response that said the event would be a one stop shop for readers, which turned out not to be true since they were put into two rooms. It also said there would be 2 authors at 6 foot tables, so each author would get three feet of space.

Grey got less than half the three feet that the registration confirmation told her she'd be getting.

idk if I'm allowed to post links here.

https://www.facebook.com/kendall.grey1

She also Tweeted pics about her space (or lack of in her opinion).

https://twitter.com/kendallgrey1/status/467688917660336128/photo/1

So saying 35% foot the bill for the other 65 is hyperbole I admit, but 250 indie authors paid for space and an experience they didn't get while readers claim they were herded into the "Big Room" and away from the indie room from the start.

shadowwalker
05-19-2014, 08:39 PM
All the self-pubs were in that room so it was a criteria used. Some other non-NY-published categories like small press were there also.

But didn't that have to do with returnables (which I confess I don't quite understand how that works) rather than publish method?


Even if it means delaying opening for everyone, not just the 2nd room

Someone above (who was there) said the delay was for both rooms, and had something to do with the fire marshall.


I would add that when I signed at RT several years ago they manage to have the returnables and non-returnables interspersed. So apparently it is doable.

I would only point out that the RT website stated that they had a much bigger convention this year, so I'm not sure what was doable several years ago would be done as easily this time.

Again, I don't think anyone's denying that things could have been done differently/better; only that it's not what it's being made out to be.

Norman D Gutter
05-19-2014, 08:41 PM
Random thoughts on the situation:

- Venues for large conferences are booked way in advance, sometimes years in advance.
- The organizers book the amount of space they think they will need based on past attendance and anticipated growth, which may include guessing what the economy will be like.
- Adding space because more people register than anticipated may not be possible. Cancelling space if registration lags may not be possible, or if it is it comes with a price.
- Therefore, limiting the number of registrants makes perfect sense, and may have nothing to do with treating self-published authors as second class citizens.

- Self-published authors screaming to be given respect isn't going to work.
- I'd like to join a couple of writing organizations I follow, but they won't admit self-published authors to full membership, won't let them attend "professional" sessions at their conventions, so I won't be joining them. But I'm not going to protest their setting rules that I don't like. I'll find other organizations to join, if I can.
- What will work for the self-publishing community to gain respect is to, as a whole, write better books. We all know however, that while self-publishing produces many books on a par with those of trade publishing, it also produces more junk. Thus, I suspect self-publishing will always lack the respect we would want to have but which, deep down, we know too many of us don't deserve.

My thoughts. YMMV,
NDG

thethinker42
05-19-2014, 08:45 PM
Again, I don't think anyone's denying that things could have been done differently/better; only that it's not what it's being made out to be.

This. It was a bit of a cluster, and I do want to see the indie authors more integrated with the others at the signing, but it WAS better than in previous years. I mean, the indie author signing wasn't even on the same DAY as the other one last year, so between that and a freak snowstorm, the turnout sucked. Having them on the same day was a huge improvement, but it was also a logistical nightmare. The fire marshall was nearly having a coronary as it was, and I don't think RT or the hotel were quite prepared for it. I understand the book signing set a Guinness World Record, too, which means it was HUGE.

Hopefully things will be smoother and less separated next year, but it WAS better than previous years, and at least in my experience, was not nearly as bad as it's been made out to be.

Kylabelle
05-19-2014, 08:47 PM
I read Kendall Grey's Facebook post where she copy/pasted her RT registration response that said the event would be a one stop shop for readers, which turned out not to be true since they were put into two rooms. It also said there would be 2 authors at 6 foot tables, so each author would get three feet of space.

Grey got less than half the three feet that the registration confirmation told her she'd be getting.

idk if I'm allowed to post links here.

https://www.facebook.com/kendall.grey1

She also Tweeted pics about her space (or lack of in her opinion).

https://twitter.com/kendallgrey1/status/467688917660336128/photo/1

If she got less than what she believed she had paid for, she did, I hope, communicate that directly to the RT organizers?

I gather that amergina, who has posted up-thread, and who was also there, in that same room, had no such issue with the amount of space she received. (And I hope if I'm wrong about this she'll post and correct me.)

It seems to me that the convention was larger than expected and probable that some of the space issues had to do with that, and the attempt by organizers to fit everything in to the available area.

I would sure hesitate to extrapolate from one person's experience and thereby draw conclusions about the attitude of the convention as a whole toward self-published authors.

And, ETA again: see the above post for an entirely different take on the event. :)

thethinker42
05-19-2014, 08:49 PM
And yes, when it came to registering, returnability was the deciding factor. It's irritating, but it's dictated by the bookseller who runs the show. It was, for better or worse, a situation created by business logistics (not to mention limitations of the venue), not a desire to stick indie authors into a back room to be forgotten. Just having both signings on the same day was a vast improvement.

tethys77
05-19-2014, 08:58 PM
If she got less than what she believed she had paid for, she did, I hope, communicate that directly to the RT organizers?

She, and others, did. If the RT organizers respond, hopefully she'll post that exchange.



I would sure hesitate to extrapolate from one person's experience and thereby draw conclusions about the attitude of the convention as a whole toward self-published authors.

There were several accounts by different authors of space being an issue, the doors to the indie room being closed at the beginning making it difficult for readers to even find them, RT staff having to be reminded that the indie room even existed and being pushed to make announcements over the intercom to let readers know.

Grey had photos though, which I thought was better.

ElaineA
05-19-2014, 09:04 PM
I read Kendall Grey's Facebook post where she copy/pasted her RT registration response that said the event would be a one stop shop for readers, which turned out not to be true since they were put into two rooms.
I don't think I'd consider going across a hall a violation of "one stop shopping." When I go to Target, I expect to have to wander to different departments.


It also said there would be 2 authors at 6 foot tables, so each author would get three feet of space.

Grey got less than half the three feet that the registration confirmation told her she'd be getting.
This is a problem, an unfortunate one. I hope they will correct the logistical errors in the future.


So saying 35% foot the bill for the other 65 is hyperbole I admit, but 250 indie authors paid for space and an experience they didn't get while readers claim they were herded into the "Big Room" and away from the indie room from the start.
(Bolding mine) First tethys, since the genesis of this thread is a bit of hyperbole, perhaps it's wiser to refrain from more of it. The second part of your statement flat contradicts the reports of many who were there and heard the PA announcer encouraging the crowd to visit the other room. So I have to ask, were you there? It's certainly helpful to have eyewitness information rather than just FB posts and vague "readers claim" statements to go on.

JennTX
05-19-2014, 09:11 PM
I've read some reports from the trade published authors, also saying that they had very little space. So, I don't think it was only the self pub and indie authors who lacked space. It was everybody.

Honestly, it really sounds like RT this year was huge. It was too crowded and the organizers weren't prepared for it. It wasn't about treating one group as less than the other, it was simply a logistical nightmare.

But, I wasn't there. This is just the idea I get from reading second hand accounts.

tethys77
05-19-2014, 09:29 PM
(Bolding mine) First tethys, since the genesis of this thread is a bit of hyperbole, perhaps it's wiser to refrain from more of it. The second part of your statement flat contradicts the reports of many who were there and heard the PA announcer encouraging the crowd to visit the other room. So I have to ask, were you there? It's certainly helpful to have eyewitness information rather than just FB posts and vague "readers claim" statements to go on.

Oh, no, I absolutely wasn't there. And based on everything I've sifted through this weekend (Twitter, FB, forums), I can honestly say I would never go there, as a reader or an author (even if I ever sell enough titles to go someday).

Why is a FB post from an author who was there and had a bad experience somehow less valid than someone who said they went and had a good time?

You can choose to rely on any "eyewitness" statement you want. Most of us do, since we weren't there. Even Hugh Howey has to, because he wasn't there either.

I read through the #RT14 Twitter feed, read Hugh Howey's blog post, read other author's blogs to see what they experienced, and formed my own opinion based on things that seemed important to me. I don't know how you form your opinions about things you haven't experienced personally; that's just how I do it.

Apparently we have (at least) two camps. People who didn't feel indies were slighted at RT14 and people who did and the rest of us are left sifting through accounts to try to ascertain (if they even care to) what (if anything) happened.

I might have liked to go to RT as a reader next year, but now I won't. As a reader, I don't think this is fundamentally any different than reading reviews for washing machines to see which one I should buy.

Based on what I've read I think indie authors were slighted at RT this year, but I don't think it had anything to do with accidental "aspiring author" comments. So, as a writer, I would never go. Which admittedly is pointless to say, but still...

Phaeal
05-19-2014, 09:41 PM
Wow, I so disagree with this. My agent worked with me on getting my manuscript ready and was with me every step of the way. All success or failure of the project was a result of our combined efforts and I'm happy to pay her out of the results of that.

Also, she keeps track of the ongoing paperwork associated with each project, so that I don't have to.

Totally in agreement. A good agent is a pearl beyond price, much less 15%.

slhuang
05-19-2014, 10:03 PM
I get why people in the non-returnables room might feel the RT organizers messed up big time, given the smaller amount of table space it sounds like they got and the confusion some readers expressed. And it sounds like the crowding / lines / etc. could have been organized better in both rooms. I'm sorry that people had a bad experience and I hope RT fixes those problems in the future.

But why on earth is this being framed as a trade vs. self thing? Weren't there plenty of indie (indie meaning small press) and digital-only pubbed authors in the non-returnables room as well, from what I'm understanding? Weren't they and the self-publishers all treated the same?

I mean, I'm not disputing that the space logistics may have been snarled up and that there were too many people for the room in the non-returnable-books space. It sounds like there were legit problems. And that's on the RT organizers to fix for next time. But I just can't for the life of me figure out why this is being framed as an anti-self-publishers animus when there were a lot of non-self-publishers in that room as well. :Shrug: It doesn't do the writing/publishing community any good, for either trade or self-publishing professionals, to haul more of the Us vs. Them accusations into places where they don't even apply.

shelleyo
05-19-2014, 10:04 PM
Why is a FB post from an author who was there and had a bad experience somehow less valid than someone who said they went and had a good time?

Bias. It skews against self-publishing here, for it at places like kboards. If the exact same posts were placed on both boards, the opinions would almost certainly be the same. Here, there was no slight at all. There, what a terrible thing it was!

No board or forum is without some kind of bias, though they might like to think they are. I read both forums as well as several other resources, and it seems to me it's not the earth-shattering thing some make it out to be, but there were clearly some problems that ruffled many feathers. Only bias demands it be completely one or the other when it wasn't.

I hope the RT organizers are informed of the aggravation that was caused in enough numbers that similar problems can be avoided next year. But there will almost certainly be something that riles somebody, even so.

ElaineA
05-19-2014, 10:07 PM
You can choose to rely on any "eyewitness" statement you want. Most of us do, since we weren't there. Even Hugh Howey has to, because he wasn't there either.

I read through the #RT14 Twitter feed, read Hugh Howey's blog post, read other author's blogs to see what they experienced, and formed my own opinion based on things that seemed important to me. I don't know how you form your opinions about things you haven't experienced personally; that's just how I do it.


Well, it's only that there is so much information available these days and my old brain is quickly reaching its capacity. I've had to enforce some limits on what I take in. I've decided I prefer a first-hand account when I can get one (either pro or con) to second- or third-hand. Because you see, the latter often come without a disclaimer and carrying the whiff of first-hand knowledge. It may well be an arbitrary and capricious distinction, but it's what works for me.

shelleyo
05-19-2014, 10:15 PM
Well, it's only that there is so much information available these days and my old brain is quickly reaching its capacity. I've had to enforce some limits on what I take in. I've decided I prefer a first-hand account when I can get one (either pro or con) to second- or third-hand. Because you see, the latter often come without a disclaimer and carrying the whiff of first-hand knowledge. It may well be an arbitrary and capricious distinction, but it's what works for me.

First-hand, Kendall Grey (https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=795326497153719&set=a.320105961342444.81576.100000291277408&type=1). There are many others.

Angela James
05-19-2014, 10:16 PM
There's so much misinformation being passed as fact by people who were not even there, it's driving me a little crazy. So I want to say a few things because I was there, and I was in and out of both rooms, starting 30 minutes before the signing started.

1) The doors weren't closed on either room at any time I was there. I had no problem moving back and forth between the two rooms.

2) The "indie" room or whatever you want to call it, had authors who were self-published, published by small press and published by trade publishers. I know this for a fact because I work for a trade publisher and most of my authors were in that room. The distinction appeared to be mostly those who were signing in digital format in some way (via Autography, for instance) or who were signing non-returnable books. The one very positive thing separating those authors who were signing digital books via Autography did, was allow the Autography people to be in that room, providing technical assistance as needed (and it was needed at times).

3) Table space. I didn't measure, but in my many trips between rooms, it very much appeared to me as though authors in each room had exactly the same space (which was not 3 feet per person, for sure). In fact, the "indie" room (in which my authors were also signing) felt a little bit roomier and less cramped, because it wasn't quite as crowded with tables. In my opinion (note here, this is my opinion, not fact, because I did not measure), the only authors who had any measurably extra space were those with their own tables (ie: EL James, Nalini Singh, Sylvia Day) or those who were placed next to someone who couldn't make it at the last minute, and so there was "empty" space.

This part is speculation, but I think RT had quite a bit of pressure to add more authors to the signing, because I know there were many on the waitlist who were unable to sign, so I speculate that they actually reduced table space for everyone, to accommodate a few more authors.

4) RT has been one of the most forward-thinking publications and organizations at both the conference and in the magazine, as far as first digital-first authors and then self-published authors. I think (and again, this is my opinion, based on over a decade of watching how they treat authors, for whatever that's worth) it's ludicrous to assign any type of agenda to RT other than trying to arrange the signing in the most workable arrangement possible. Anyone who’s ever arranged anything for a group of over 6 people knows that no matter what you do, whether alphabetically, shoe size, Goodreads rating, there will be someone who doesn’t like it, but more than that, there will be logistical challenges and nightmares. No matter how you choose to set it up.

5) If there is anyone with any room to complain, it's the poor readers, some of whom stood in line for hours to get into the signing, then had to wait for hours to get out of the signing, due to the less-than-optimal setup for checking out. I think their experience is what RT should be focusing on.

RT has always been so interested in growing/promoting self-published and digital-first authors, I really think it’s a shame that this has been made to be something more nefarious or insulting on their part than the pure logistical challenges of trying to organize hundreds of people into something workable.

Medievalist
05-19-2014, 10:19 PM
But why on earth is this being framed as a trade vs. self thing? Weren't there plenty of indie (indie meaning small press) and digital-only pubbed authors in the non-returnables room as well, from what I'm understanding? Weren't they and the self-publishers all treated the same?

Ebook only publishers, self-published authors, and independent presses (i.e. publishers with non standard distribution and likely, sans returns policies which means their books would be sold on consignment just like self-published authors) were all in the same area.

Note that the Book Fair section of the FAQ (https://www.rtconvention.com/faq#n358) states quite clearly that authors with printed books, of any sort, could only have titles available at the Book Fair.

Did some things go wrong? It sounds like they did. But it also doesn't appear deliberate. Stuff happens at a big trade show.

I've been working a booth at a book-related trade show selling ebooks and ebook software when the electricity for our entire section of digital book publishers went out for more than a day.

I didn't think it was a sign of hostility towards ebooks.

shelleyo
05-19-2014, 10:32 PM
3) Table space. I didn't measure, but in my many trips between rooms, it very much appeared to me as though authors in each room had exactly the same space (which was not 3 feet per person, for sure). In fact, the "indie" room (in which my authors were also signing) felt a little bit roomier and less cramped, because it wasn't quite as crowded with tables. In my opinion (note here, this is my opinion, not fact, because I did not measure), the only authors who had any measurably extra space were those with their own tables (ie: EL James, Nalini Singh, Sylvia Day) or those who were placed next to someone who couldn't make it at the last minute, and so there was "empty" space.

I hope there are pictures from both rooms that show up somewhere for easy comparison. Kendall Grey's tablespace was clearly not the 3 feet she was under the impression she would get (and if the organizers said you'd get 3 feet, you should, IMO). I'm interested to see pictures of tables from the other room to see if the tiny spaces are comparable. If they are, then everyone should have reason to complain, I would think.

I'm bothered by the different stories. Closed doors/not closed doors. People being shuffled to the trade room away from the other writers/people being shuffed into the indie room... Either a door is closed or it isn't. Two statements claiming different things mean someone is lying or someone is confused (about which door, when it was opened/closed, etc.). And I've seen several people claiming each one, so it's not a matter of one person fibbing to exaggerate a point. There's genuine confusion, which helps no one.

tethys77
05-19-2014, 10:32 PM
Well, it's only that there is so much information available these days and my old brain is quickly reaching its capacity. I've had to enforce some limits on what I take in. I've decided I prefer a first-hand account when I can get one (either pro or con) to second- or third-hand. Because you see, the latter often come without a disclaimer and carrying the whiff of first-hand knowledge. It may well be an arbitrary and capricious distinction, but it's what works for me.

I get what you're saying. And Hugh Howey's post had more than a whiff. In fact the first time I read it, I thought he was saying he was actually there. I couldn't think why he would have been, but then I thought maybe he had a friend who was signing there and wanted to visit her. Turns out he wasn't there at all, but that wasn't immediately clear to me when I started reading the post. The conspiracy theorist in me thinks maybe that was intentional, but then again, when I stopped to think about it, it really isn't logical to think Howey would have been at a Romance convention. So that was my mistake, I guess.

Perks
05-19-2014, 10:34 PM
I'm bothered by the different stories. Closed doors/not closed doors. People being shuffled to the trade room away from the other writers/people being shuffed into the indie room... Either a door is closed or it isn't.

I was at a conference earlier in the year, actually and one last year, too, where the doors to various halls malfunctioned - closing when the should have stayed open, getting stuck in the open position when they needed to be closed for noise.

Maybe it was something as simple as that.

Mr Flibble
05-19-2014, 10:37 PM
I'm sorry, did you say $484 dollars?

Well spin my nipple nuts and send me to Alaska. SP/indie/trade, I'd want a bloody gold plated desk for that!



At World Fantasy, I signed in a corridor to nowhere, but at least I didn't pay a week's wages or more for the privilege...

tethys77
05-19-2014, 10:41 PM
I'm bothered by the different stories. Closed doors/not closed doors. People being shuffled to the trade room away from the other writers/people being shuffed into the indie room... Either a door is closed or it isn't. Two statements claiming different things mean someone is lying or someone is confused (about which door, when it was opened/closed, etc.). And I've seen several people claiming each one, so it's not a matter of one person fibbing to exaggerate a point. There's genuine confusion, which helps no one.

I disagree. I don't automatically jump to the conclusion that someone is lying. Not get all Rashomon about it, but if the doors were closed in the beginning and only for a while, then someone at the back of the room or someone who came late, might not have even noticed it. That doesn't mean the doors weren't closed, it only means someone else didn't notice it.

If you were in the big room, or in another part of the hotel entirely, and you showed up and the doors were open, what would you tell people? "The doors were open." Technically, true. But they could have opened the doors before you got there. How would you even know?

The thing I was more on the fence about was the "aspiring" author comment, but RT tweeted that yes, someone did say it. Supposedly it was a volunteer and they were corrected. I believe that's true.

I don't believe the "aspiring" author comment was in any way intended to be a slight toward self-pub/indie publishers.

tethys77
05-19-2014, 10:44 PM
I'm sorry, did you say $484 dollars?

Well spin my nipple nuts and send me to Alaska. SP/indie/trade, I'd want a bloody gold plated desk for that!



At World Fantasy, I signed in a corridor to nowhere, but at least I didn't pay a week's wages or more for the privilege...

That's a lot, in my opinion. Plus, they take a commission on your sales there. Personally, I'd just hang out at the pool and anyone who wanted to see me could easily find me there. Plus, there might be a bar....

Sheryl Nantus
05-19-2014, 10:49 PM
I get what you're saying. And Hugh Howey's post had more than a whiff. In fact the first time I read it, I thought he was saying he was actually there. I couldn't think why he would have been, but then I thought maybe he had a friend who was signing there and wanted to visit her. Turns out he wasn't there at all, but that wasn't immediately clear to me when I started reading the post. The conspiracy theorist in me thinks maybe that was intentional, but then again, when I stopped to think about it, it really isn't logical to think Howey would have been at a Romance convention. So that was my mistake, I guess.

Plenty of "non-romance" writers attend. I believe John Scalzi went one year.

What I find interesting is how Howey has managed to make it again all about *him* and *his causes*. The fact that he wrote the post to make it look like HE suffered the indignity, the torture, the shame, blah blah blah tells me it was intentional.

And it worked. He's getting plenty of net traffic and we're all posting about something he wasn't even a part of. And, from the evidence given, didn't really HAPPEN.

It's all about getting readers to your blog and boosting your numbers. All about that.

And Mr. Howey seems to keep finding the best way to create controversy where little, if any, exists.

He knows how to work a crowd.

shelleyo
05-19-2014, 10:56 PM
I disagree. I don't automatically jump to the conclusion that someone is lying.

I don't either. But when there are two different stories, the options are dishonesty or mistake/confusion about the facts. Did you see the part where I said since there were so many people claiming both, confusion seemed to be the problem?

job
05-19-2014, 11:01 PM
There's so much misinformation being passed as fact by people who were not even there, it's driving me a little crazy. So I want to say a few things because I was there,

Hear! Hear!

-- Courtney Milan's blog here (http://www.courtneymilan.com/ramblings/2014/05/18/rts-giant-bookfair/) (and i think linked above as well) offers a pretty clear explanation of why the rooms were sorted as they were.

-- Elizabeth Hunter here (http://elizabethhunterwrites.com/2014/05/18/thoughts-on-indie-author-separation-at-the-rt-convention-signing-in-new-orleans/) and Julian Chantal here here (http://llblog2010.wordpress.com/tag/rt-convention/) talk about their experiences. Summary: Not happy.

veinglory
05-19-2014, 11:17 PM
That is why I go with: the people who were there and thought it was inappropriate have given enough specific reasons for me not to feel the need to tell them they were wrong to feel that way.

The people who were there and did not feel it was inappropriate presumably do not place value on those specific things (like have the same amount of table space for each paying author) which is also certainly their prerogative.

AuburnAssassin
05-19-2014, 11:24 PM
I think what I've universally heard was that book buyers / fans had the crummiest experience. In this day and age with bar codes and computers, the idea of segregating for accounting reasons seems silly and antiquated. Readers buy books by authors they love. They don't care who published the books. The fact that Courtney Milan and other hybrids had to choose one room or the other was probably baffling to readers attending with day passes. Having to pay for books in 2 different and very long lines (not to mention trying to find a favorite author if you lost your map), seemed like a terrible experience for the readers and a safety risk too.

My friend went and is the PR rep for an indie publisher. Even before I heard about the 2 rooms, she said it was an organizational nightmare. Sounds like they sold too many tickets and author signing booths.

tethys77
05-20-2014, 12:01 AM
Agreed. I wouldn't consider going to Dallas unless RT had a press release saying they hired a logistics firm to help them get organized. I would be further swayed if I heard that they booked an actual convention center rather than just the Hyatt. But these things are booked years in advance and I don't think it's possible to change strategy now.

I think if 2015 and 2016 have anywhere near the same number of attendees, then it would behoove RT to switch to venues that are actually capable of handling that many people.

Filigree
05-20-2014, 12:16 AM
Gotta agree, there. I had considered going next year, but not if this is going to be a chronic problem.

As a reader, I want to be able to buy the books I'm lusting after - not necessarily to have them signed, either. I go to conventions primarily for panel discussions and workshops, so I might never even enter the signing rooms.

As an author, I'd like my readers to be able to buy my books as easily as possible.

I'm waiting to hear about panel/workshop reports from people I trust, who did attend this year. Because $2000+ for a convention is a lot of money to spend on an industry get-together if it's badly managed.

tethys77
05-20-2014, 12:25 AM
Gotta agree, there. I had considered going next year, but not if this is going to be a chronic problem.

As a reader, I want to be able to buy the books I'm lusting after - not necessarily to have them signed, either. I go to conventions primarily for panel discussions and workshops, so I might never even enter the signing rooms.

As an author, I'd like my readers to be able to buy my books as easily as possible.

I'm waiting to hear about panel/workshop reports from people I trust, who did attend this year. Because $2000+ for a convention is a lot of money to spend on an industry get-together if it's badly managed.

This. You can't have readers coming in from out of town, paying for air fare, accommodations, etc., sell them an "all inclusive day pass" and then tell them that they actually have to choose what events they want to do because they can't stand in line and be at a panel/special event, too. That's just flat out wrong, imo.

If authors want to go, that's a business decision they have to make and though I do think they didn't quite get what they paid for, for readers this isn't even their job. This is something fun they maybe saved up to do, but when they got there the rug got pulled out from under them. Not cool.

lachrymal
05-20-2014, 12:34 AM
Just a note: the $484 amount that has been mentioned several times was for registration for the entire six-day convention, not participation in the signing, not a fee to pay for table space. It's been months since I registered and signed up to participate in the Book Fair, but I don't recall paying extra to take part in the signing.

amergina
05-20-2014, 12:39 AM
....I don't believe there were any panels on Sat during the book signing.

There's a hell of a lot more to RT than the 3 hour book signing. That same day, after the book signing, there were various publisher spotlights, and the FAN-tastic party, where readers could also meet various authors.

There were tons of panels and reader/writer interactions Wednesday through Friday, too.

Admittedly, I was in the far corner of the book signing, as the authors in the indie/eBook/etc side were seated in alphabetical order, and my pen name begins with Z, so I was the last author at the last table.

I still got traffic. More than I expected, actually. So perhaps my expectations were different than others.

Overall, I had a great time at RT, met friends and fans and even got business done. So, again, perhaps my expectations were different from other folks.

Was it perfect? No. Was it horrible? No. There's always room for improvement.

thethinker42
05-20-2014, 12:40 AM
Just a note: the $484 amount that has been mentioned several times was for registration for the entire six-day convention, not participation in the signing, not a fee to pay for table space. It's been months since I registered and signed up to participate in the Book Fair, but I don't recall paying extra to take part in the signing.

There isn't an additional charge to take part in the signing, aside from the cut that the bookseller takes for each book.

Also, for those buying day passes, the book signing is literally the *only* thing going on during that block of time. The panels, workshops, parties, etc., aren't going on at the same time, so readers don't have to choose between the book signing and other events. (At least that's how it's been done in the past -- I was mildly oblivious to the schedule this year because I was doing other things, but generally, nothing else is scheduled during the book signing)

tethys77
05-20-2014, 12:40 AM
Just a note: the $484 amount that has been mentioned several times was for registration for the entire six-day convention, not participation in the signing, not a fee to pay for table space. It's been months since I registered and signed up to participate in the Book Fair, but I don't recall paying extra to take part in the signing.

So it's $484 to register and that includes renting table space for signing, since you didn't pay extra? What else do you get in addition to table space on signing days?

lachrymal
05-20-2014, 12:47 AM
Sorry if I was unclear, tethys77. The $484 was for the entire convention (though it was possible for people to buy day passes and not pay that full fee), and that registration fee was for everyone: readers, authors, and industry professionals (though people who participated as panelists got a small discount in the registration fee). Authors were not charged extra to participate in the signings. They paid the same as folks who did not sign at the Book Fair.

thethinker42
05-20-2014, 12:50 AM
Overall, I had a great time at RT, met friends and fans and even got business done. So, again, perhaps my expectations were different from other folks.

Was it perfect? No. Was it horrible? No. There's always room for improvement.

What she said.

There are parts of RT that are definitely a cluster, and the book signing absolutely needs work. BUT it is getting better with each year. I've never gotten the impression there was any malice or judgment behind how the signings are organized, but I'll certainly agree it needs to be organized better.

thethinker42
05-20-2014, 12:55 AM
So it's $484 to register and that includes renting table space for signing, since you didn't pay extra? What else do you get in addition to table space on signing days?


Sorry if I was unclear, tethys77. The $484 was for the entire convention (though it was possible for people to buy day passes and not pay that full fee), and that registration fee was for everyone: readers, authors, and industry professionals (though people who participated as panelists got a small discount in the registration fee). Authors were not charged extra to participate in the signings. They paid the same as folks who did not sign at the Book Fair.

Goody bags, access to the goody rooms, access to panels/workshops, access to the signing, access to the pitch-a-pallooza event, tickets to the various parties/events, etc. (The goody bags/goody room access = ARMLOADS of free books)

I *think* it's less for readers, bloggers, etc. I've only ever registered as a published author, so never paid attention to the other rates, so I could be wrong.

lachrymal
05-20-2014, 01:02 AM
On the RT 2014 convention website, it indicates that $484 is the general registration fee, and I think that's for everyone.

thethinker42
05-20-2014, 01:04 AM
On the RT 2014 convention website, it indicates that $484 is the general registration fee, and I think that's for everyone.

Color me corrected, then. :D

tethys77
05-20-2014, 01:06 AM
Sorry if I was unclear, tethys77. The $484 was for the entire convention (though it was possible for people to buy day passes and not pay that full fee), and that registration fee was for everyone: readers, authors, and industry professionals (though people who participated as panelists got a small discount in the registration fee). Authors were not charged extra to participate in the signings. They paid the same as folks who did not sign at the Book Fair.

You're telling me RT made over a million dollars at this convention yet they couldn't get it together enough to save readers from having to spend hours in lines? Well this is not endearing me to them at all.

edit: so much so that I obviously momentarily forgot how to use the phrase. Good lord.

RedWombat
05-20-2014, 04:40 AM
I was there, acting as assistant to a trade-published author, and I went through the indie room twice.

They had a lot more aisle space than over in trade. Didn't stop to measure tables. In the bigger ballroom, each author got space for exactly one human with one chair, provided they didn't get too wild with the elbows, unless they were over on the side, and could be expected to have an enormous line. (My buddy got stuck behind the EL James line. It happens.)

It doesn't matter how big a bestseller you may be--another buddy of mine has sold in the neighborhood of eight million books over the years, and she got her same half-table as everybody else. I'm not privy to the rules, but I suspect someone would probably not be getting a bigger table unless they were likely to get an out-and-out mob that would cause traffic problems.

Doors were open when I went, and the room was apparently open at the same time as the main room, which was indeed delayed due to the fire marshall. (It's certainly possible that the indie room opened later, as I did not have a view of the doors, but when I went to the bathroom shortly after opening they were open and the doors were open.)

Checkout was a miserable nightmare. I'd be happy to see complaints about those logistics and to cheer them along, but there was not Extra Misery Sauce if you were indie, so far as I could tell.

(The announcer was Annoying As Hell. I don't care if he said "Go check out the indie section!" I would have paid money to have him STOP saying "LIVING THE DREAM IN NEW ORLEANS!" Gah.)

On at least one occasion, as I walked out, a volunteer was saying "You can check out the indie room through here!" and pointing to the open doors.

That's my eyewitness report, believe it or not as you wish.

RedWombat
05-20-2014, 04:46 AM
You're telling me RT made over a million dollars at this convention yet they couldn't get it together enough to save readers from having to spend hours in lines?

Made over a million dollars? Where does that figure come from?

And does it take into account how much it costs to rent an entire hotel, for five days, in the French Quarter, during convention season?

shadowwalker
05-20-2014, 05:31 AM
I've been to quite a few conventions (non-book) over the past several years and not one of them (other than one that had exactly three small rooms and part of the hotel lobby) ran smoothly. There are always things that need improvement, unexpected events that cause delays, some seemingly simple item that turns out to be the biggest disaster in history (like misreading a handwritten measurement, so the room is thought to be 9 feet and it's actually 7 - yeah, that happened. Try finding space for 14 "extra" celebrities and their fans.) Sometimes I think the more experienced people are at running these things, the bigger the problems when they happen.

Little Ming
05-20-2014, 05:45 AM
Might I suggest Hanlon's razor (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hanlon%27s_razor)? Maybe with a side of Occam's razor (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Occam%27s_razor)? And if that's not enough, a helping of Murphy's law (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Murphy%27s_law)?

JournoWriter
05-20-2014, 08:14 AM
You're telling me RT made over a million dollars at this convention yet they couldn't get it together enough to save readers from having to spend hours in lines?

Journo's Law: "When lots of people occupy the same location at the same time, there are lines."

Old Hack
05-20-2014, 09:55 AM
The size of the tables seems to be causing a lot of worry: but it would have been the hotel which provided them, not the conference organisers. It's likely that the hotel has one batch of tables for one conference room and another for the other room, and that they told the conference organisers the tables were about six feet wide, which at two people per table became the promised three feet of table-space per author. If the tables for one room were slightly smaller in order to better use the room, and if that room was where the authors with non-returnable books found themselves, then those authors might well feel discriminated against when in fact no discrimination took place.

Or perhaps someone at the hotel thought, "let's find teeny-tiny tables for the self publishers and nice big important-looking ones for the authors with trade publishers!"

Mr Flibble
05-20-2014, 01:38 PM
/derail

$484 still seems like a heck of a lot. I'm off to the world science fiction convention later this year, and it cost me about 1/3 of that (Ticket prices have gone up lately -- they usually give discounts if you book early). I will almost certainly come away with more free books than I can carry etc. I usually do at cons! Learnt my lesson -- always leave lots of free bag space for books. The free ones at World Fantasy almost dislocated my shoulder...

OK RT is bigger probably, but it still seems like a lot for just the ticket. Add accommodation onto that, plus easting etc and we're talking a month's wages at least. That's a lot of money for a con. I would certainly expect something pretty special for that money.

ETA: Though I am reminded that cons US side are a bit different to over here. We tend to be a bit more "fan run" rather than professional. But if I pay professional prices, I expect professional product, you know?

Alessandra Kelley
05-20-2014, 03:17 PM
You're telling me RT made over a million dollars at this convention yet they couldn't get it together enough to save readers from having to spend hours in lines? Well this is not endearing me to them at all.

Actually, the bigger the convention the longer the lines, on the whole.

The big for-profit science fiction and comic book media expos have gigantic attendances and equally long lines and waits.

amrose
05-21-2014, 12:58 AM
/derail

$484 still seems like a heck of a lot.

I balked at the price at first, but -

I paid 484 for the full convention registration as a published author but did not participate in the signing. Besides enormous amount of informative panels, agent/editor/publisher presence, etc. There were a number of events that fed everyone who attended well. One of the evening events was a sit down dinner and another was a pub crawl with access to free drinks depending on how early you started.

On top of the panels and the food and events, there are endless gift bags filled with brand new books and promotional items at most of the panels and events. I gave my freebie passes away to someone with a day pass who wanted free stuff way more than I did, but those tickets would have got me two bags of new books and promo items. There were also at least two additional events where the entire point was you could take as many free, new books as you could carry. The two women that accompanied me as readers/fans went home with over 80 new books a piece.

It is expensive but I never felt I overpaid for anything. It was a lot of fun.

Mr Flibble
05-21-2014, 01:12 AM
access to free drinks depending on how early you started.


This would bankrupt a UK con :D There are some events with free booze but usually laid on by pubs. And the booze goes very quickly!


over 80 new books a piece.


Okay that IS a good deal.

It is expensive but I never felt I overpaid for anything. It was a lot of fun.

Fair enough --- like I said, I know there are diffs between Uk and US cons but wasn't sure about what was included in the price (was going by what I get from a UK con apart from access, which usually consists of whatever publisher will give away)

eqb
05-21-2014, 04:49 AM
It's not so much the difference between US and UK, but between SFF and other conventions. I too went OMG when I saw the price for RT, but yes, the con was just chockful of programming, parties, and freebies. The awards ceremony was amazing, too, and much fancier than WorldCon or World Fantasy.

Medievalist
05-21-2014, 05:02 AM
RT registrations seems similar to the ALA and other book-related conferences.

http://ala14.ala.org/rates

But for high prices, check out a developer conference for software developers.

A pass to Apple's World Wide Developer conference costs $1,599.00 USD and includes access to five days of sessions, hands-on labs, and special events.

It includes a coffee break with coffee, juice, tea and doughnuts, or granola, or bagels and fruit and yogurt each morning, a lunch that's buffet style, and an afternoon coffee break.

Because more people want a ticket than there are spaces, opportunities to buy a ticket are raffled off.

There are often free coffee/beverage carts located throughout the conference.

It includes a party with food and a partially open bar at the Apple conference one evening.

The opportunity to buy a ticket is raffled off.

Beachgirl
05-21-2014, 05:31 AM
Prices for my professional conferences are usually at least $500, with extra charges for the mixers, dinners, lunches, walking tours, etc.

For that $500+ I get three or four days of presentations, a cheap shoulder bag and a pen.

Anna L.
05-21-2014, 08:41 AM
It seems to me literature/SFF cons are too often priced way above what low income fans/readers could possibly afford.

In Quebec, we have a yearly book event that's bigger than Book Expo America. Price to get in? Four dollars. Mind you, there is no free books or food involved. But people can see as many authors as they want, buy whatever books they want, and attend a bunch of panels/readings/etc. For 4 dollars a day.

Cathy C
05-25-2014, 10:17 PM
Arriving at this thread late, but I was there and visited both rooms extensively. The events described at RT simply didn't happen the way Howey claims. I was at the book signing. I was at first surprised there were two ballrooms, but the main room was PACKED, with just room at each author's station for two small stacks of books (remainders stayed in boxes under the table until needed.)

The fire marshall was a real concern. Authors had to take down any displays that couldn't be attached to the table skirting, and readers were let in in small groups to prevent capacity problems. The Fire Marshall actually stayed for the entire event, which is rare beyond belief. Colored bands were required for major bestsellers so people stuck in line outside the room could gain admittance when their number series was called. It's difficult for people who have never attended an RT to grasp the sheer scope of a signing. There are anywhere from 200-500 authors present and more than 1,500 readers. I'll see if I can find some photos taken from prior events where there were balconies overlooking the room.

ETA: Okay, I found a few from the 2009 convention taken on the second floor overlooking the signing. Note that all three photos are of the same signing. The whole room wouldn't fit in one photo.

https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-0qAKx-uA0Yk/U4I5b5_dAOI/AAAAAAAAAXw/7jY4UjcQndQ/s292-p/RT2009+043.jpg

https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-NS5QzZptwSI/U4I5bzTBWiI/AAAAAAAAAXs/qxfcYybgliU/s145-p/RT2009+044.jpg

https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-yxk0U2TPbhA/U4I5b14r_jI/AAAAAAAAAXo/49LnMHN_6_w/s145-p/RT2009+045.jpg

Here's one I posted on Twitter during the signing (https://twitter.com/cathyclamp/status/467700402041794560/photo/1). Look at the table across from where I sat. See how tight the authors are? It was about the same in the second room. I was in row 3. There were 42 rows in the two rooms, with about 25-30 authors per row.

I directly asked RT staff, including several people I know well, about the two rooms. The issue came down to room capacity along with returnability of the books. Books brought by authors for sale had to be separately accounted at the registers, so the most efficient way (although perhaps not the most user-friendly) to solve it was a second bank of registers. There were trade pubbed people in that room, including NYT and Harlequin authors (both of whom are beloved by RT and fans) who just happened to have self-pubbed titles for sale too.

As for the value for cost, it's hard to imagine another con where there are so many devoted readers, booksellers and librarians in one place. I always pay for the full registration, although there are one-day passes just for the signing. I believe for Teen Day (just YA authors) the fee is $30.00 per teen plus one adult chaperone. For adults, it's $99.00 but you get access to the full day of events.

I've been to two WorldCons, two World Horrors, two Thrillerfests, and any number of smaller cons. RT is like nothing you can imagine. It's book binging on an insane level, plus meeting 3,000 of your soon-to-be best friends in one spot. Everyone is happy to the point of chirpy. No other con compares, and I don't even try to anymore. RT is worth every penny, every year. :)

BenPanced
05-30-2014, 03:40 AM
An email I've received from Carol Stacy, Publisher of RT Book Reviews

(Mod note: email contents removed -- Kylabelle)

Sorry. It went out to everybody involved with the Book Fair, so I figured it was okay to post.

Summary:

1) RT was looking for a better way to handle the signings. They'd done the E-book, Independent Publishers, and Graphic Novel Expo separately for several years but just didn't get the same traffic as the separate Big Book Fair.
2) She conferred with several authors, commercially published, self-pub, and hybrid, on how they could improve the Expo traffic. The general consensus was have one big fair.
3) New Orleans was the first time they tried it. Lots of things didn't work, especially when the Fire Marshall appeared unannounced the day of the book fair and they had to change things that he had previously approved, including taking down directional signs and banners that helped people figure out where to go.
4) Because the signs and banners were removed, there was confusion on who was seated in which ballroom. Attendees got a road map that listed which author was seated in which row in which ballroom, but the Fire Marshall had the signs removed that pointed out which row was in which ballroom. Nobody directed traffic to go through the larger ballroom first. Carol Stacy, Publisher of RT Book Reviews, was personally doing the opposite and directing people to the smaller ballroom first, where the indie and self-pub authors were.
5) People weren't told to stand in line twice and make two separate purchases for their books. They were told the opposite to save a trip since books sold on consignment had price tags attached to the backs of the books and the bookseller had a handle on inventory.
6) Authors were seated according to the bookseller's criteria, based on "easy ordering from a distributor or publisher with a 40% discount, returns accepted with no additional cost to the bookseller for return shipping" (direct quote from the original email), to help him keep his books separate from the items brought in on consignment, not because of the rumored hierarchy of commercially published vs. indie/self-pub. Some independent presses met the criteria, so they were seated in the main ballroom; some commercially published authors brought in books that were out of print and no longer available from a distributor so they were seated in the smaller ballroom since they had to sell these books on consignment.
7) A volunteer mistakenly referred to the authors in the smaller ballroom as "aspiring authors". The organizers seriously regret this error.
8) But RT wants to make it work and is willing to listen to any suggestions, so email them and they'll take things into consideration.

Kylabelle
05-30-2014, 04:24 AM
That's all good information, but it's really not okay to post the entire email, sorry.

I'd very much appreciate it if you could summarize the main points and maybe share a couple of key excerpts?

I do gather she clarified all of the points of contention that have been expressed here, quite thoroughly, and asserted the intentions of RT to work out the issues before the next conference, which is great to learn, though not surprising to me at all. :)

Thanks much.