The Skinny on L.A. & One Big Question–Does Likability Matter?
Made it back from my trip to LA on Monday. Six days away from home, but it was a blast. It was a real treat to get to attend the Romantic Times Booklovers Convention, and I would recommend it for any author, even if you don’t happen to write romance. This conference, first of all, is MASSIVE. I believe someone said that there were 1500 attendees, and from what I witnessed, that number appeared accurate.
I arrived in LA on Tuesday afternoon, which was nice in that it gave time to get to the hotel, wind down and find a few authors to talk to. The Bonaventure is a leviathan, and I believe it was designed by MC Escher. Seriously. Like elevators that don’t go to every floor and stairs that seem to lead nowhere. The inside of the hotel, while lovely, reminded me of the video game HALO…where, coincidentally, I spent most of my time lost as well.
I wore my Body Bugg the first day and I took almost 12,000 steps that day, mostly because I always seemed to be in the wrong place or the wrong floor. By the time I figured out what I was doing and where I was going, it was time to come home to Texas.
Sigh. Ah well.
My panel was Wednesday afternoon, and I have great news. Apparently, the lessons I have been giving you guys are spot on. As if you doubted. I was even quoted by the Los Angeles Times as an expert, and since then have not been able to fit my head through a door.
RT had a stunning array of experts to teach about EVERYTHING. Forensics, firearms, screenwriting, you name it. The wealth of training offered is worth the conference fee alone, and they hold some pretty killer parties, too (though I was too wiped to enjoy those to the fullest).
The best part of the conference, though, was that I was able to meet a lot of really talented authors of all levels. I even got to know some top-notch authors—those folk who live at the level I hope to one day see. The cool thing is…and don’t tell anyone that I told you…they are actually human and even very nice. Kathy Lyons (a.k.a. Jade Lee), Stephen Jay Schwartz, Allison Brennan, April Smith, Boyd Morrison, Brett Battles, F. Paul Wilson, Dianne Emley, Barry Eisler, to name a few. I hope you guys will check out their sites and their books. I bought books from each just because they were all such great people.
I even got a chance to meet…
Are you ready for this???
DEAN KOONTZ!!! HOLY CRAP, I GOT TO MEET DEAN KOONTZ!!!!
I have read Dean Koontz since I was in middle school. Back when I was a kid, there was no such thing as YA, and so I read a lot of J.R.R. Tolkein, L. Ron Hubbard, Stephen King, David Eddings and, yes, Dean Koontz. I don’t tend to be much of a fan-girl as far as music or movie stars, but boy do I get silly when it comes to meeting some of the writers who have inspired my career choice. And my favorite of all time has got to be Dean Koontz, so to get to meet him was sublime. And, he is really interesting and funny and brilliant and at the end of the day I realized…I like Dean Koontz.
I find it interesting how I can preach this stuff all the time, and yet still be amazed at the truth the lessons I share with you guys each week. It is so critical that others like us. Being likable has tremendous power.
I came home with a suitcase full of books that I’d purchased for the simple reason that I liked the author and wanted to support him or her. It is strange how likability filters into how we spend our time and money as consumers.
I remember when I was growing up, there was a comedian whom I LOVED (won’t mention any names). I would rent his videos over and over and over and play them until I thought the tape would break. When I made it to college, I scraped up enough money to go see this comedian, and he happened to be signing autographs before the show. I stood in a line that went on for miles in the freezing winter weather all to get my 30 seconds to tell him how much I loved his work. Yet, when I finally got to talk to him, he was a nasty, sarcastic ass who was too good to be bothered with the likes of me.
I was crushed.
That night’s show was the last time I ever watched him. His career seemed to dissolve away after that. I wonder if his poor attitude finally caught up with him. Maybe all the people like me realized we could find another comedian to love, one who would be nicer and more grateful to have our devotion.
The authors I met at RT were all so wonderful, and I know that I will actively support them in any way I can. And it is for no other reason other than they were kind. Fame can make us weird. I know I am nobody and let me tell you, when I saw my name in the LA Times, it was easy to get a puffed up ego. But, I think we are always wise to remember that this…all of this writing and blogging and tweeting doesn’t happen in a vacuum. It is ALWAYS a team effort and we need to always thank our team, remember them and let them know we would be nowhere without them.
Authors only become best-sellers because readers are willing to part with their money to support us. Twitter only works if others are willing to help us spread the word. Yes, there are increasing numbers of self-published or indie published authors enjoying large sales numbers, but often that is due to the social platform who was willing to help spread the word.
I work very hard to post great content regularly, but it means nothing if you guys don’t take time to read. I am so very grateful for your support.
So what do you guys think? Today, we’re running a very unscientific social experiment. What makes an author likable? Am I putting too much weight on likability? Would you buy books from an author you liked as a person, but didn’t care for her novels? Conversely, if you met an author who was a real toad, would you still buy his books because his writing was superb? Same with movies. Do you find it harder to watch movies with starts known for poor behavior? Or? Does that not mean anything to you? I want to know what you guys think.
I love hearing from you! And to prove it and show my love, for the month of April, everyone who leaves a comment I will put your name in a hat. If you comment and link back to my blog on your blog, you get your name in the hat twice. If you leave a comment, and link back to my blog, and mention my book We Are Not Alone in your blog…you get your name in the hat THREE times. What do you win? The unvarnished truth from yours truly.
I will pick a winner every week for a critique of your first five pages. At the end of April I will pick a winner for the grand prize. A free critique from me on the first 15 pages of your novel. Good luck!
Note: I am keeping all the names for a final GRAND, GRAND PRIZE of 30 Pages (To be announced) OR a blog diagnostic. I look at your blog and give feedback to improve it. For now, I will draw weekly for 5 page edit, monthly for 15 page edit.
Last week in March Winner of Critique of First 5 Pages (approx.1250 words)–JM Cornwell
Month of March Winner of 15 Page Edit (approx. 3250 words)–Patti Mallet
April Week One Winner of 5 Page Critique (approx. 1250 words)–James Loscombe
April Week Two of 5 Page Critique (approx. 1250 words)–Jenyfer Matthews
Please send your pages, double-spaced in a Word Document to kristen at kristen lamb dot org.
Until next time…
In the meantime, if you don’t already own a copy, my best-selling book We Are Not Alone–The Writers Guide to Social Media is recommended by literary agents and endorsed by NY Times best-selling authors. My method is free, fast, simple and leaves time to write more books.