Monday, April 23, 2012

The Ten Things I Learned at Left Coast Crime 2011

  1. It’s okay to be a humorous mystery writer. Really, it is. Left Coast is the only conference that celebrates the art of combining murder with mirth. They offer the Lefty Award for best humorous mystery, which I’m proud to say I was nominated for. And lost. I’m considering putting that on future book covers: “Lefty-losing author Jess Lourey…” 
  2.  Self-publishing ebooks can be profitable, and as of right now, Kindle (Amazon) is where most of that money is being made.
  3. If you are considering self-publishing, there is an awesome site called CrowdSpring where authors can post a description of their book for thousands of graphic designers to read. The designers, usually a couple dozen per book, will each create a book cover based on the description. If the author sees one she likes, she can buy it, usually for a couple hundred dollars. If she doesn’t like any of them, she doesn’t pay.
  4. Book trailers are a waste of time and money *unless* they help the reader to connect with the writer, either by answering interview questions or talking about places/people/events that inspired the book and maybe filming at associated locations. Laura Lippmann and William Kent Krueger both do this well.
  5. Harley Jane Kozak, the conference’s toastmaster, wears size 9 shoes. She also starred inArachnaphobia! How cool is that??
  6. Along that same line, did you know that Parnell Hall (, panelist moderator at Left Coast Crime, wrote the screenplay for C.H.U.D.? I cornered him by the ATM and made him admit to it. I think he thought I was making fun of him, but I’m a sucker for campy horror movies. Give me a glimpse of a zipper in the monster’s back, and I’m yours for life.
  7. It is incorrect to refer to a Scottish accent vs. a British accent, as Scots are also Brits. Thanks for this, Simon Wood. I blame the American education system for my ignorance.
  8. Volunteer at any conference you attend. It’s the best way to make connections, particularly for us introverts, and you can feel good at the same time.
  9. The television and film industries are going the way of the music and book industries in that they are becoming democratized. Some of the best TV shorts and films are coming from independent people with no connections to the industry, no formal training, and little money.
  10. Bring your own books to a conference, if you can. The on-site bookstores can only bring in so much, but they’re often happy to sell on consignment.
  11. I know, I know, the title says ten, but I didn’t really learn this one; I already knew it: Keith Raffel, Vicki Doudera, Shannon Baker, William Kent Krueger, and Catriona McPherson are all fabulous people to hang out with!


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