Heard best-selling author Lisa See (Snow Flower & The Secret Fan; Shanghai Girls)…that, besides Speed Dating with 17 or more Agents was the highlight of the event for me. The theme of the 2012 conference was traditional publishing vs. self publishing. There appear to be two overwhelming trends in the writing and publishing industry: 1) Self-publishing has exceeded traditional publishing in the last three years; 2) E-books will overtake print in the next five years, leading many agents to actively seek out hybrid deals where they are willing and able to work with self-published authors.
For those desiring to undertake the joys of self-publishing, Smashwords or the newly launched, BookBaby, brother to CDBaby, offer easier options for the uninitiated. If you choose to go the traditional route for your debut novel or non-fiction treatise, the best tip to come out of the conference: Writing Query letters that make Agents beg, should have: a premise; a fresh, interesting voice and some real authority to them. And, a smidgen of humor never hurts!