Hugh Howey on the RT conference in New Orleans

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Hugh Howey 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.
 
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JustSarah

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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?
 
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Alessandra Kelley

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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.
 

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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.
 

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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.
 
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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.
 

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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.
 
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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.
 
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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.
 
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...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.
 

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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.
 

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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.
 

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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.
 

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I didn't see his name listed as an attending author, either. Any comments coming from other SPs that actually attended?
 

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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.
 

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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.
 

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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
 

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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.
 

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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

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Hugh wasn't there, he was speaking on behalf of a few other successful self publishers who were in attendance.
 

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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.
 
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