2005 RWA National Conference
Linda Hurst: Day Two (July 28, 2005)
Thursday dawned early for us as Blythe wanted to attend two early morning seminars. This was a special day for me as it was my 60th birthday and celebrating with my favorite authors, seeing old friends, and discussing books was just about the best present I could have gotten.
Blythe headed for her early morning workshop and I sat in the registration area of RWA. This turned out to be a great choice as several friends came through and I was able to catch up with them. Raelene Gorsky, managing editor of Ellora’s Cave, stopped by and told me about some of the exciting things going on at EC. They now have over 200 authors and many of their books are available now in both e-book and print formats. EC seems to have found a profitable niche in the publishing world and remains one of the few profitable (or even surviving) e-book sites that were so rife a few years ago. I also noticed far fewer e-book authors at RWA then at the Romantic Times convention I had attended 3 years ago, which was certainly predictable.
As I waited for Blythe, I had a wonderful conversation with Jo Beverley and Cait London. Jo informed me that the wonderful SF anthology Blythe and I had reviewed for Pandora’s Box was going to be reissued in mass market paperback for the Romance market. Jo said that SF fans like trade paperbacks, but as Romance readers don't, sales suffered. Another problem was many stores put the anthology in the Romance section. Jo echoed the comments Jayne Ann Krentz had made during her speech for the librarian/booksellers: Romance fans will go to the sections of other genres, but SF and Mystery fans will not go to the Romance section.
I do have personal back up for this assertion: I read only Mystery until the early 90s and I found Georgette Heyer’s mysteries in the mystery section of the library. I read all of them (five, I think) and then wished that Heyer had written more books! LOL Imagine my shock years later to discover she wrote a lot of Regencies, which I would have discovered if I had only looked in the Romance section.
After Jo left for a workshop, I had an interesting discussion with Cait London about the Janet Dailey plagerism situation. Cait lives in the same area as Janet and said townspeople preferred to think Nora had stolen from Janet and not vice versa. Cait drove home that publishers need to be more flexible about deadlines when an author runs into trouble in her personal life. She wonders whether, if her publisher had allowed Dailey a six-month extension on her deadline, perhaps she wouldn’t have panicked and stolen from Roberts. I don’t think this excuses her and I will never, could never, read her again, but Cait pointed out that Dailey is back in the NY Times top 20, so obviously others have forgiven her. I do think Cait’s point about a need for more flexibility was certainly valid, I know several authors who turned out rushed books because of a deadline - in one case the author’s husband had cancer and she rushed a very formulaic book to market - which is not fair to either the reader or the author IMO.
After talking with Jo and Cait, I decided to go to the Goodie room, where I rec’d a nice book bag and more free books. Free books became my enduring mantra for RWA, just heaven for a reader of my prodigious habit of four to five books a week.
Blythe returned and we were off to the Welcome Luncheon with keynote speaker Debbie Macomber. Lunch was a delicious filet mignon and a to-die-for chocolate dessert. After President Tara Taylor Quinn’s introduction Debbie gave a very moving account of her efforts to become a published author. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house as Debbie detailed a five-year struggle both creatively and financially to reach her dream of making a living as a writer. Debbie was blessed with a supportive husband, who allowed her the freedom to achieve her dream, and I think many of the aspiring authors present took heart from Debbie’s story. Debbie is an intensely spiritual author and her speech was peppered with biblical scriptures that kept her going during the tough times.
After the luncheon three of us headed to the local mall to replace my glasses and amazingly buy some books at Walden’s. The latest Diana Palmer hardback was there and I couldn’t resist getting it - especially since it was not being given away free at the convention. <VBG>
We got back to the hotel in time for the Welcome Reception, which turned out to be very crowded, it was hard to visit and eat at the same time.
We left the reception and went upstairs to former AAR reviewer and new author Marianne Stillings' room where we ended up having a late room service dinner and gab session instead of attending the Moonlight Madness sale. I am sure my hubby was happy I was busy elsewhere, as I would have been sure to buy something at the sale, and after my $200.00 splurge at the Literacy Booksigning Wednesday night, it was best I stayed away. All in all, a terrific birthday.