20Books Vegas LogoLast November, I attended the 20Books Vegas Conference, and it was quite a whirlwind. This was the first writers’ conference I attended where 90% of the sessions concentrated on business and 10% discussed craft. With over 2,000 attendees, it was the largest in the world and was very humbling.

Largest conference room


For the last ten years, I’ve been involved in writers’ conferences — moderating panels, presenting workshops, helping writers practice their agent pitches, and emceeing live lit events. I’ve published four books and will release the next book in The Devil Particle series and the 10th-anniversary edition of Carpe Diem, Illinois this year.



But in Las Vegas, I was a novice.

Authors on the success panel were ten to twenty years younger than me and had each published over one hundred books! Oh, except for Joanna Penn. The New York Times and USA Today bestseller and award-winning podcaster (I highly recommend her Creative Penn Podcast) joked that she felt like a fraud being on the panel because she’d only published forty-seven books.

Michael Anderle, founder of the 20Books to 50k Facebook group, said he wanted to write and publish thirty books in one year, but was disappointed that he only made it to twenty-nine! That’s more than two books a month! Not only did he write them, he edited them, selected the covers, formatted the interiors, marketed, and published them. When did he have time to sleep?

But are their books any good? Their readers think so. These authors are making between six and seven figures — each month!


What have I been doing with my life?

The pressure to crank out books was intense, making me wonder what the hell I’d been doing with my life. But then I reminded myself that I love the act of writing. I enjoy creating flawed characters, intriguing settings, and exciting plots. While it’s wonderful to have the published book in my hands, for me it’s the writing that’s thrilling. Sure, making millions would be nice, but I don’t want to just churn out stories as quickly as possible. There would be no joy in that.


The terrific Vendor Hall

Bryan Cohen and meDespite this pressure to write a crazy amount of books, I enjoyed the conference. At the Vendor Hall, I met representatives from Reedsy (where my cover designer works), Book Vault (who will distribute my books once I sell direct from my website), Book Funnel and Story Origin (for eBook, audiobook, and ARC distribution), and Bryan Cohen of Amazon Ad School (pictured with me).

Everyone was personable and professional and gladly answered all my questions.


I made wonderful connections

I also met John Truby (author of The Anatomy of Story), Joanna Penn during her private sessions with patrons, and Jonathan Maberry (who wrote Patient Zero, a favorite book of mine).

John Truby and Kristin

Joanna Penn and meMe and Johnathan Maberry








Selling direct and AI discussions

I sat in sessions about selling direct from author websites and artificial intelligence (AI)—the two hot topics of the conference. The benefits I’ll have of selling direct will be knowing exactly who is buying my books, giving me the freedom to write and publish what I want (no more writing to market), instant payment, and independence from the big retailers. Essentially, it gives self-published authors like me more control over our businesses.

The discussions about artificial intelligence surprised me. Panelists never addressed the ethics of AI, as if it wasn’t a concern. Most authors fully embraced using AI for everything from research to marketing to brainstorming story ideas. One panelist even said she couldn’t wait for the day to simply push a button to “write” a book. Her definition of a writer was decidedly different from mine.


Exploring VegasInside the Venetian

While I attended as many sessions as I could, I also took time to explore Vegas. I had a massage at the Venetian and squid ink pasta at Bobby Flay’s restaurant in Caesar’s Palace. With friends Celeste Anton, Valerie Biel, and Angie Stanton, I laughed during the Potted Potter comedy show at the Horseshoe (formerly Balli’s). Celeste, Val, and I watched the amazing Cirque du Soleil Beatles show at the Mirage, and Celeste and I ate incredible sushi at MGM’s Morimoto’s.

Blueberry crepe


And almost every day during the noon break, I’d leave the Horseshoe Conference Center, wander the “streets of Paris,” and have a crepe for lunch.




Author Nation

This year, the conference has new management and a new name — Author Nation. There will be less emphasis on cranking out books as quickly as possible and more emphasis on the different ways authors define their success. The sessions, discussions, and connections will help authors achieve their goals. This approach appeals to me much more, so I’ll be heading back to Vegas this November!


If you’re an author and are considering going to the Author Nation Conference (Nov. 11-15, 2024), order your tickets in the next thirteen days to take advantage of the discount.


Great books to read this February (including The Devil Particle)!


Post-Apocalyptic Survival Thriller banner


3-D image of The Devil Particle paperbackSociety crumbles. Criminals thrive. Everything changes and you’d do anything to survive.

These bestselling authors have teamed up to take you on an adrenaline-pumping journey through an all-thriller no-filler selection of stories, packed with post-apocalyptic mayhem, intense character conflicts, life-or-death survival situations, and the ever-present threat of destruction for everything our heroes hold dear.

So plug in your e-reader, grab your favorite snacks, and add some books to your TBR pile, because you’re in for a real treat!

Click here for thrilling stories!


Kristin holding her books


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