This April 14th I'm posting from the RT Booklovers Convention in Chicago, Illinois. For those of you who aren't familiar with this convention it is a non-stop celebration of books and the book business with seminars, parties, and even costume balls.
The convention has changed a little bit over the years. For one thing, there used to be a big emphasis on the beefy gentlemen who grace the covers of our books. There is less of that these days, but you can still see the well-developed upper torso and charming grins of the occasional male model at the events. Also the RT convention used to have a great deal more readers and book sellers than writers, and now you can see far more published or aspiring authors attending.
To accomodate those writers there are now a number of writing oriented seminars. For example there is one entire track this year across three full days of the convention on self-publishing, from where and how to put your writing up for sale, to when and how to promote it. There are so many options, and lots of opinions on the best strategies, and the only clear thing is that it is a viable option for many writers, regardless of how they go about it.
Feels a bit like a gold-rush with people pointing their fingers and saying "Go to the Internet. There's money in those iPhones, Kindles, and Kobos!"
I have my own stake in that hopefully fertile ground with a couple of my backlist stories, The Girl In The Box and Imperfect Judgment, both of which are science fiction romance books and both of which are up at Smashwords and Amazon.
I was on one panel discussion on Wednesday where we discussed Erotic Romance, which strangely seems to have just been discovered, again, by the world with the hype around "50 Shades of Grey". Those of us who have been writing "Mommy Porn" for the past ten or more years are somewhat amused by it all, but hey, when someone's book starts selling like crazy, it can't help but lift the rest of the books in that genre.
So there is a business side to going to the RT convention, in addition to the promotional aspects. But first and foremost, RT is a fun convention, with lots of opportunities to play games, dress up, and enjoy the company of other writers, readers, and industry professionals... before heading back to your lonely little office to write or rewrite that next title.
Janet Miller/Cricket Starr