This weekend just gone was the annual TLC Conference, at which I was one of the delegates. The conference’s subtitle: Writing in a Digital Age was something I was very keen to get to grips with over the three-day event.
The keynote speech from Cory Doctorow (you can listen to the full speech here) was a wonderfully entertaining look at the dominance of Amazon, digital rights management and the importance of keeping control of your intellectual property.
This was followed by Neilson Book’s Industry Snapshot. For me, this was one of the highlights of the whole weekend. What it showed was what I have been ploughing on about for over a year now: commercial fiction is selling.
Cue a small dance from me. Look how high Fantasy fiction is! And apparently SF is included under that banner as well, which I personally think is nonsense (but that’s a blog post for another day). So the overwhelming focus on literary fiction from various corners is almost irrelevant. Of course, if you are writing it and reading it, it will seem incredibly relevant, BUT if Crime fiction is the fourth highest seller in 2013, perhaps there should be more out there for crime writers? Fantasy / SF is above Childrens! That means even with The Fault in Our Stars et al in the children’s section, Fantasy sold MORE. There definately needs to be a shake-up in the industry*.
I was lucky enough to get an interview with Arts Council England at lunch time. As I expected, the short answers to my long and rambling questions were that there isn’t any money and you need to be doing a public project / collaboration / experimental something to get the pennies that are there. Which was not unexpected, but still a little disappointing. I do feel sorry for the ACE employees who increasingly seem to be the bearers of bad news.
The panel regarding the author-publisher relationship got pretty heated! There were opinions flying across the room, which was great, and it was reassuring to see that the publishing world isn’t so cut and dry that it can be reduced to a single panel discussion!
The final panel I attended on the Friday (I left at 3:45 because I was so ill) was about funding for writers. Aside from lamenting the loss of funds, there were several resources that might still be of interest. In particular, check out:
Arts Council England’s funding for individuals
More blogging tomorrow about the second day!
* Sorry for the opinions, there, but you all know where I stand on genre-fiction representation at these events.