Romantic Times After Action Report, Konrath wears wings, and library eBook lending
Okay. You gotta admit, that’s a pretty catchy title.
I returned yesterday from my first Romantic Times Convention, still in one piece despite many dire warning about cover models, costumes, parties and more. Actually, I found RT to be very professionally rewarding as I met a lot of people I’ve bumped into over the years at various other conferences. I even emailed home saying that there was a synergy of my career in publishing pulling together in many ways. And then, of course, I was late to receive a career achievement award in genre because I lost track of time after teaching a workshop and hanging around to answer questions. I did make it in time to see many of the writing awards.
I took a lot away from the conference. First, there was an entire track on digital publishing. The panel by Liz Edelstein (HeroesandHeartbreaker.com) and Megan Frampton on self and traditional publishing was very honest and up front. Pretty much every workshop I sat in on had solid information and open discussion. Even the one on writing Special Operations heroes where the ever original Cherry Adair waxed poetic about their “super sperm” and how part of the appeal of that alpha male hero is based on a basic animal instinct to procreate the species. She specifically told me to use that term if I was going to blog about it.
It’s a great time to be an author. And it’s wonderful to hear the excitement in a lot of writers’ voices when they discuss rescuing out of print books or new authors putting their stuff out there.
On the other hand, it’s tough to see those that can’t pry their rights back from their publishers and the books are languishing. I really believe there needs to be some original thought on this issue and a compromise reached. Whether it be reverse royalties, a flat fee buy out—whatever. But right now neither side is really benefiting from the gold mine of backlist.
I also talked for a long time with a friend from the King County library system (Seattle). She detailed how many problems they had trying to get eBooks into the system. Which immediately started my brain working. Like the DRM issue (I don’t do it and don’t think it’s smart), I’m not exactly following the way it’s being handled. I’d love to give libraries many of our titles. I’ll be working with King County (and any other library system that wants eBooks—drop me a line). I think a lot of the problem is that people are still equating the print book with an eBook in concept and since the eBook never wears out, then they have to limit lending. Perhaps. Smarter brains than mine have spent a lot more time working on this so I’d love to hear some comments about it. Once I’m able to talk to some of the people who acquire books for libraries, I can speak with more knowledge. I profess my ignorance on many angles of this issue, but I know for my publishing company, I see great opportunity.
Here’s another cool thing about RT. The first day I asked someone next to me in line what she wrote. She looked at me like I was crazy and said: “I’m not a writer, I’m a reader.” She listed a bunch of authors who she was dying to meet.
Of course, there were also many authors and aspiring authors. In fact, the name badges said one or the other. One thing I sense that many aspiring authors aren’t quite doing right is they’re very focused on promoting. I believe the focus should be more on building community. People buy books. People sell books. People provide you with discoverability. One of my titles, Psychic Warrior: Project Aura, is being featured in Nook First this week because a person at Barnes and Noble made the decision to put it in the program. And I appreciate it.
They didn’t have the Mr. Romance competition this year, so all those crunches and bench presses I had been doing counted for nothing. JA Konrath and Blake Crouch, wearing wings, did make an appearance in the fairy contest during the Magical Scottish Fling & Costume Competition, and were easily upstaged by a flying baby, but they get points for giving it a shot. I couldn’t quite make out the look on judge James Rollins face when the two strutted onto stage.
At the booksigning they had to give numbered wristbands to those who waited for Anne Rice and Charlaine Harris. Interestingly, the YA book fair was packed, which I always think is a good sign.
In sum, I’d highly recommend the Romantic Times Convention both professionally (networking) and personally (kilts, wings, super-sperm and more).