Review of the Texas Library Association Conference

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Today, I have something a little different for you. This is an indirect book review.  For the last 12 years, I have attended the Texas Library Conference.  Texas and California vie for the largest state conferences and at times have more attendees than the national conference.  This year we had over 7,000 attendees, almost 400 exhibitors and hundreds of speakers.

Now some of you may wonder why, now that I deal with Indie Authors, I go to a conference that for the most part promotes traditional publishing. There are Indie Authors there, gently tucked into the exhibits and even some of the panels.  However, the main draw is the incredible sessions.

For example, I attended sessions on Copyright Law, there are a lot of myths out there and the years’ update keeps me ahead of the newest legalities for myself and authors I am working with.  There are a lot of changes happening with the EU Copyright Directive as well as the Supreme Court ruling that copyright registration must now be in hand before any legal actions can be taken.  A great resource is HERE.

I attend the Buzz which is hosted by the top 12 traditional publishers and covers their new books for the coming year.  Trends are changing.  For the last two years, I have seen a steep increase in the amount of ARC’s (Advanced Reader Copy),  galleys and books that publishers are giving away in the hopes that those attending will read, review and promote the books.  See photo at the beginning of this email! (and I turned down about 40 more books). I have also seen booth space decrease for some of the top publishers while space for some of the smaller publishers has increased.  A Christian publisher I have been keeping an eye on went from a tiny slot to a triple booth and for the first time had ARC’s of several of their books.  This tells me that the publisher is growing, and so is that market.

One of the most interesting sessions was the Love is Love: LGBTQIA+ in YA Lit.  The authors spoke a lot about this changing market and how their stories are not just about coming out but building awareness of sexual diversity throughout literature.  We have a way to go but authors like Meredith Russo, Bill Konigsberg, Kari Anne Holt and L. C. Rosen are heading us strongly in the right direction.

All of this is my attempt to know the market.  Yes, part of being a freelance or indie anything is the ability to do as you wish, but I believe by knowing what is coming in the traditional publishing world I can see the gaps that could easily be filled by Indies.  It also gives me joy when I can hear speakers like Scott Pelley and have the opportunity to receive his book.

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