RT Wrap-Up #2

Posted May 17 2013, 4:27 pm in , , , , ,

I had planned to post this earlier this week, but then page proofs for A GOOD TIME landed at my door, so my days have been filled with proofreading.

Last week I wrote about all the cool and fun things from RT. This post will be about the actual workshops and panels I attended. At least the ones that I have something to say things about. As I said, I didn’t attend lots of workshops, but I enjoyed the ones I did attend.

One of the first panels I went to was on social media. The panelists were Sarah Wendell (Smart Bitches, Trashy Books), authors Jaye Wells, Liliana Hart, and Shiloh Walker, and Mandi Schreiner (Smexy Books). I wanted to attend this panel because I’m still trying to figure out the social media thing. In general, I don’t worry about numbers when it comes to social media, which was one of the points the presenters made. It’s about chatting with people and having fun. So really, I didn’t learn much from this panel. There was one really important takeaway that I tweeted at the end: When you fuck up on social media (and everyone does), own it and apologize. Really apologize — not “I’m sorry if you were offended.”

I went to two panels on Contemporary Romance both because that’s the genre I write and because I am a fan of the authors presenting. The first was Reinventing the Modern Day Romeo (Beth Ciotta, Victoria Dahl, Sarah Frantz, Erin McCarthy, and Shannon Stacey, moderated by Louisa Edwards) There were lots of laughs in this one. The one I remember most was Victoria Dahl saying that all heroes have to have good aim (in the bathroom — she had just told a story about having to clean her sons’ bathroom).

The second panel was on the many flavors of romance (Roxanne St. Claire, Jill Shalvis, Ruthie Knox, Brenda Novak, and Julie James, moderated by Louisa Edwards). In this panel each author represented a smaller subgenre within contemporary. For example, Jill Shalvis will make you laugh, and Roxanne St. Claire will make you cry. Julie James writes big city, while Brenda Novak writes small town. Ruthie Knox was there as a digital first author. The thing was, even as each author represented one thing, there was cross-over everywhere. Jill Shalvis and Roxanne St. Claire also both do small town. Ruthie Knox has done small town and big city. One thing they all agreed on was that they liked to do series, and series generally do better. It was fun hearing the authors talk about which heroes they liked best and whether that differed from what they heard from readers.

I did quite a few industry-related workshops, like spotlights from various publishers to hear about what they’re looking for in each of their lines. I caught part of RT’s workshop on what RT editors want. While it’s really hard to get reviewed in RT, there are a lot of other opportunities for getting your name out there, especially in the on-line version and daily blog.

Finally, I attended a workshop on self-publishing and the future of publishing by Bob Mayer and Jen Talty. They have their own publishing company, Cool Gus, where they partner with authors. I’ve been following Bob and Jen for a while because I think they have some really good ideas and they’re forward thinking. One thing Bob said, which I think is really true is that publishing right now is run by fear. Authors are afraid to self-publish, agents are afraid for their jobs because so many authors are self-pubbing, and New York is afraid of change. I think a lot of publishers are changing, but they aren’t moving all that fast. Most (if not all) of the Big 6 now have digital first arms that allow them to accept more authors and take more chances. I think it’s a good thing because digital is where it’s at. They also pointed out that having multiple books out, especially a series was the way to go for both discoverability and sales.

In talking with many of my writer friends at RT, I found it fascinating that 75-80% of their sales come from ebooks, not print. We’re talking about some well-known, established print authors. ┬áThis makes me happy that I went with a digital-first publisher, not that I ever really doubted the decision, but you know, there’s still that part of me that would like to see my name on a spine.

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