A good friend of mine, Jolie, is a bookseller who specializes in selling romances. She goes to RWA every year. This time I begged her to write up a report about what she found out at the conference about the future of romance. This is her report:
RWA 2006 &emdash; Hotlanta!
Another RWA conference has come and gone without a hitch or a huge controversy. At least not like last years' rouse of a RITA Awards, even seeing it unfold in my PJs &emdash; my usual RITA attire &emdash; was a shocker!
My conference started on Wednesday, and unlike last year there was actually a function for booksellers &emdash; a tea. I'm not much for tea, not the kind that RWA serves up anyway. I tend to be a little biased on this subject. Apparently, to the RWA, booksellers are a bother. So much so that you couldn't register for the event and no name tags were provided &emdash; well, you can't have name tags if you don't have registration. I just showed up anyway. Authors didn’t know who the booksellers were and as such, spent time talking amongst themselves. I remember the days when we booksellers were treated to a day filled with events, talks and seminars and even a luncheon. Those days are long gone for booksellers, but the librarians still have one in which we booksellers can participate. But I'm sure I don't need to remind readers that there is a vast difference between bookstores and libraries!
Thursday and Friday were filled with informative sessions &emdash; I hit the publishers' spotlights. It's where they reveal not only the direction of the industry, but who has the hot books coming soon.
As most readers know paranormals and erotic romance are hot right now &emdash; and the industry shows no sign of slowing down. In fact with erotic romance many publishers have new lines to feature these spicy stories. Although whether most of the erotic romance being published even remotely resembles anything close to a romance is beyond me! There is hope though; buzz around the conference is there are a few publishers left who are looking to develop an erotic romance line. Hear me now &emdash; READERS WANT THE HAPPY ENDING!!!
As for books obtaining a lot of buzz, be on the lookout for:
- Thea Devine has a contemporary due out from Pocket October of this year: His Little Black Book.
- Also from Pocket is Roxanne St. Claire's third book of the Bullet Catchers series, Take Me Tonight, due out spring of 2007 — is getting very good buzz. Without having read the first two in the series, I have to admit that I can't wait for it . . . this means I'll have to get caught up to date!
- Slave to Sensation by Nalini Singh was also a much talked about book (at least I was talking it up to everyone who would listen). StS is new paranormal due out in September from Berkley.
- Another hot read getting some early buzz from Berkley is Lora Leigh's Harmony's Way. It's the follow up to the break out book Megan's Mark, which made the USA Today's bestseller list. HW is in stores December 2006.
- Jacquelyn Frank's The Nightwalkers: Jacob is also creating some buzz. Kate Duffy, her editor from Kensington, is putting it on her best of the best list. After the number of years that Duffy has been in publishing, I have high hopes for this book. I have to admit I snagged an ARC of it immediately!
Friday nights’ publisher parties seemed uneventful. Mostly crowded, you could barely get around to even talk to anyone. The only thing noteworthy was Cindy Dees who cornered one of the Harlequin editors and seemed to be having an intense discussion, definitely not the party atmosphere.
That leaves the RITAs. Once I heard Nora was slated to MC once again this year, my curiosity got the best of me. I dressed for the occasion (see note above, me and my PJs) set on staying just for Nora's opening monologue. Two hours later I was still stuck to my seat! In fact, most people walking out of the theater kept stopping for the little shorts still playing on the giant screen. Little vignettes played throughout the entire ceremony, movies about, well, publishing and writing. Including the ever famous Kathy Bates Misery sequence where she *demands* that the book is written in her way! Oh and not to forget the ever famous Romancing the Stone &emdash; “Joan Wilder &emdash; THE Joan Wilder????” And please, anyone who knows what the name of the movie that Hugh Jackman plays a man who writes a romance, PLEASE, PLEASE let me know . . . !!!!
Yes, Nora is a classy lady. She is the very definition of a class act. To come back from last years' debacle to triumph with the best RITA Awards ceremony EVER, she is my hero! Honestly, I've never stayed for an entire ceremony before &emdash; I just hope she'll MC it next year too! My hat is off to you Nora!
The only thing left to answer was this years' hullabaloo . . . nothing concrete, but there was quite a bit of whispers about Ellora's Cave and its future. Now this could be some residual from the recent June update to Piers Anthony's website about how EC authors' checks are bouncing or maybe it's because some of their best authors have been picked up by New York publishers. We may have to revisit this topic another day when we have more information.
Notes for next years' Dallas conference: Find a dress for the RITAs if Nora continues to MC the event and also get a meeting with the Pocket editors &emdash; they seem to have a handle on the books for which readers are really enjoying these days.