A number of us attended the Greater Lehigh Valley Writers Conference this past weekend. The highlight for me was the number of presentations by Donald Maass. His keynote address was special.
Maass acknowledged the anxiety among many writers and tried to calm those fears. Ebooks are big - in January 25% of published books. He cited a well known thriller writer who walked away from a 1/2 million dollar contract to publish on ebooks. Wow.
He listed three trends he see for the 21st Century that fiction writers need to embrace.
(1) The concept of genres are dying. No longer will there be just romance or westerns but paranormal romance, urban fantasy. As an agency, they are trying to sort out where to place some of these great books. He said think of genre as a starting point only.
(2) Combine literary (fine writing) fiction with commercial (sells well) fiction. This ends up with a faster paced novel with deeper meaning. He says writers must write from passion and a personal place.
(3) Publishing itself. Rapid publishing. Marketing: Build a community and relationships through social networks and giving books (maybe a short story) away to hook readers. He called Twitter Blogging on crack. Guts of the matter is that writing hasn't changed. Still need that great story.
I'd be interested in what others thought.