Today I slept through breakfast and then woke up in time to hear agent Gale Hochman talk about the 'publishing world.' I am trying to think of what she said. I remember she talked about how publishers send 95% of a print run to the major booksellers (Borders, Barnes & Noble, etc). She talked about how they send 30,000 copies to those places, expecting to get 50%, 60%, or 70% back. This is what they have to do to sell 15,000 copies of a book. 

Then she talked about Amazon's new electronic reader and she 'crunched' some numbers. She compared the hardcover price of a printed book to the price of an electronic book. There was some math in there, but I zoned out a little. Her point was that with the Kindle - something. I got really confused, actually. Oh, right, she was talking about how the readership has changed over the past few decades, how everyone is 'plugged in' or whatever, and how she's not sure what this means for selling books, whether electronically or in print. 

Then she went on to discuss agents, how to contact them, how busy they are, what to expect, etc. She said that she reads manuscripts from 9am until 10pm on the weekends, unless she's out to dinner or something. That is a lot of reading, I think. A part of my brain, though, said, 'really?' when she said that thing about the weekends. I was a little skeptical.

She talked about other things too, but I forgot some of them. I have to admit that I was a little disappointed that she seemed so 'doom and gloom' or whatever. She didn't mention anything about small press/independent publishing (understandable, I think, since she doesn't seem to be involved in that), but it would have been nice to hear the alternative to publishing at the bigger houses.

I had other thoughts about this during the presentation, but I forgot to write them down.

After Gale spoke, Jill McCorkle gave a lecture on Self-Censorship/Freedom. It was a good lecture. She talked about how censorship occurs externally and internally, how one affects the other, etc. It seemed like the trick was learning how to turn that censoring instinct into a creative impulse? Like, to fight against that censor, to do the opposite of what it suggests, and to learn how to tell the difference between censoring your writing and editing your writing.

Then I went to lunch, mailed some things at the post office, and printed off some things. There is a Scholars reading in the morning tomorrow and on Friday for those of us who do not have books coming out. I am reading sometime on Friday. Hooray. Now I am happy but scared and nervous.

Now to do some reading.