Cats and San Francisco

Day 2 at the Cat Writers International Conference.  Things are going swimmingly but I can tell I'm ready to come home.  I only attended 1 out of 4 panel discussions today.  The first panel involved feline medical issues, which I don't write about. The second was similar.  I did attend the program on Shelter Issues and learned some interesting information.  For example,  consider the terms "kill" and "no-kill" shelters. When anyone hears the two terms of course they think, "Obviously no kill is better."  But what the SF shelter people pointed out is they are "Open Admission."  They take ANY animal at any time for any reason.  So they're getting dogs 1/2 crushed by semi's, feral cats, blind animals, and a host of others. They do the best they can and then some but can still receive negative press because they are not at "no-kill" shelter.

There was also discussion on what makes an animal "adoptable."  A lot of shelters categorize animals as "adoptable" or "unadoptable," but those terms are misleading.  It depends on the person. What is unadoptable to one person may be perfectly acceptable to another and we're doing animals a disservice to continue these categories.  So, lots of good information like that.

Then I missed the agent/editor panel which was unfortunate, as I would have liked to attend.  But the CFA (Cat Fanciers Association) International Cat Show is two miles away and a group of us had to leave early to take a cab there for our book signing.

I sold 4 books (so far, the conference is still going on) but that's far, far less than what I'd hoped to sell. I think it was a matter of cat material overload for attendees.  I market my book as a great gift book, especially with the holidays fast approaching.  But the Cat Show had cat toys, cat carriers, cat food, cat tree ornaments, cat socks, cat clothes, cat art, cat jewelry, cat sculpture, cat stationary, and a million other cat related products.  And like me, all vendors are of course thinking, "Hey, a cat show.  What a great place to sell my stuff!" But put all under one roof and it just becomes too much.  I think my book would do much better in a venue where maybe it was mainly dog or bird items (or whatever) and I was one of the few cat products.

I did spend some time with Dan Poynter, self-publishing and marketing guru, and got some GREAT advice for converting my books to audio at a highly discounted price.  So I'll act on that once I return home.

I was also fortunate enough to share a breakfast table with Shirley Rousseau Murphy, a well-known mystery writer of the Joe Grey, PI, feline mystery series.  I confessed to Shirley that I never had an interest in her books until I had to read one of them because I was a novel judge for this years award. And I LOVED it.  Great plot, great fun, and a very entertaining read.  I'm delighted to find a new series I enjoy AND have the added bonus of knowing the author behind the words.  Getting up early (we were two of the few people in the dining room at 6:30 AM) pays.

And finally, my workshop.  Huge success.  I'm extremely pleased with how it went.  As always, I managed to leave out a few key points, but such is the public speaking life.  I'd say about 40-50 people attended.  My ice-breaker, People Bingo, was fun (I had people doing jumping jacks and singing "I'm a little teapot,") and got us up out of our seats and talking.  This group can always be counted on for interaction, which makes my part much more relaxed.  One long-term exercise ended up a bust, which I'll try to remember to discuss in a later post.  I've got a 3 hour layover in Atlanta tomorrow and will need something to do to fill the time!

And that's it for now.  The awards banquet is tonight.  I won 2  "Certificate of Excellence" Awards for my humor stories so I'm actually competing against myself (and a few others) in the humor category for a Muse Medallion--the highest award bestowed by the organization.  (Blair's comment was "Gee, since you have two chances of winning you'll feel really, really bad if you lose, huh?" Thanks for the support, honey.) Winning a muse medallion would be nice because both the stories are in Lessons In Stalking and I could order award stickers to put on the cover--something which is supposed to increase book sales. 

Fingers crossed!