Friday, April 20, 2012

The 10 Things I Learned at Left Coast Crime

A guest post by Jess Lourey

1. It's okay to be a humorous mystery writer. Really, it is. Left Coast Crime 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 in Arachnaphobia! 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, GM Malliet, and Catriona McPherson are all fabulous people to hang out with!

Jess Lourey is the Lefty-losing author of the humorous Murder-by-Month mysteries. November Hunt was released March 2012, and in a starred review, Booklist says of it, "It's not easy to make people laugh while they're on the edge of their seats, but Lourey pulls it off!"


Robin Allen said...

Big congrats on being nominated for a Lefty, Jess! You'll win next year.

Dru said...

Arachnaphobia happens to be one of my favorite lite creature movies. Watch every time it comes on TV.

I love C.H.U.D.

Hey, you're not a Lefty-losing author, you're a winning author and Lefty just don't know it. You'll get them next year.

G.M. Malliet said...

Wasn't it fun, Jess? We had the best table at the banquet.

I hope to see all of you in Colorado next time.

Shannon Baker said...

WE DID have the best table. Where are those pictures, btw? You aren't Left-losing, you are Lefty-ROBBED. Anyway, who could tell after all that gin?

Lois Winston said...

Hey, Jess, if you're a Lefty losing mystery author, doesn't that make you a Right winning mystery author?

Jess Lourey said...

Thanks, Robin! Thanks also for the guest post. It looks like part of it is missing, though. Can you stick the second paragraph and #1 up there, or did I fail to send it? See,s like something a Lefty-losing author would do.

Jess Lourey said...

Thanks, Dru Ann! I love having you on my team. Shannon and Gin, we did have a pretty sparkly table. Lois, your powers of rationalization are fantastic. I'm on board!

Kathleen Ernst said...

The nomination itself is huge, Jess! Big congrats on that.

I've never been to LCC...sounds like I've been missing a good time.

Jess Lourey said...

Thanks, Kathleen! There's so many good conferences out there that it's hard to pick which ones to go to, isn't it? Hope to see you at Malice again!