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Being Nimble

Being Nimble

When I was at Romantic Times convention, I heard the news that The Tools of Change conference, a technology and publishing conference, was being shut down.  Begun in 2007, the conference was aimed at bringing technology and publishing together.  The announcement indicates that the sponsor, O’Reilly, will move on to offering other things.   The publishing conference was very expensive  and it often  included people outside of the traditional publishing sphere which I thought was a positive. A couple years ago, Digital Book World began its own conference with a much higher traditional publisher involvement.  The tech focus and the lack of traditional publisher support likely led to the decline of TOC.  I’ll always appreciate what I learned from these conferences and I’m sad to see it cancelled.

But I also applaud TOC for pulling the plug on something that wasn’t right for them any longer because as the landscape of publishing is rapidly evolving, being nimble is never as important as it is now.  I was sitting with Angela James and Sarah Wendell on Saturday discussing how Romantic Times has really evolved as a the convention.   The conference organizers have been very open to suggestions and recommendations. It is not the same conference that was five years ago with the strippers  and the focus on the sexuality in romances. Instead, the conference is really about bringing authors and readers together as well as  facilitating readers meeting other readers. RT in responding to both author and reader input on how to make the conference better has created an atmosphere full of conviviality and passion around reading.  I heard nothing but positive things this weekend as people planned to attend RT in New Orleans next year.

There truly is something for everyone here.

There are some conferences and conventions and businesses that are stale and suffer the lack the ability to recreate itself, as needed.  Tools of Change wasn’t one of those, however.  But maybe the conversation about what needs to be done to change is being replaced with change itself.  If we’ve learned anything in the last year of publishing, it is the need to be able to respond quickly to the changing market.  It’s frustrating to hear the constraints that certain long standing businesses are operating under because, in the end, the inability to innovate will be their demise.

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com

5 Comments

  1. carmen webster buxton
    May 05, 2013 @ 09:57:55

    The only thing constant is change. The trick is to pay attention to which way things are changing so you’re ready for it when it happens. It is so easy to say that and it’s so hard to do!

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  2. DB Cooper
    May 06, 2013 @ 07:17:56

    Jane (or anyone else who attended past RT conventions)

    …I’m going to be simple (and vulgar) here and ask about those strippers. Were they mk ale strippers ‘for the ladies’? Were they female strippers hired on to add ‘dancey atmosphere’ like I’ve seen at other conventions (often planned or somehow organized by guys)?

    …or, heaven forbid, were there actually male and female strippers both for a wider variety of tastes? I’m curious because I been to conventions before, just not one for the romance novel industry.

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  3. Lada
    May 06, 2013 @ 10:30:52

    I think Jane makes some great points, especially with regards to business and the need to recreate. I think part of what makes it so difficult is keeping up with such rapid changes in technology and tools. Just as everyone gets used to one thing, the next great thing is already out there.

    (Off topic side-bar: Saw a really great piece on bio-3D printing and thought of you. They are much closer than I realized in printing viable human tissue with the ability to grow normally once implanted. Amazing stuff!)

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  4. Susan
    May 06, 2013 @ 16:53:04

    @DB Cooper: I’ve never been to one of these, either, but I think the strippers were primarily hot, shirtless guys–some of whom were actual cover models. (Don’t recall hearing of any female models.) Lots of picture-taking and partying, but I had never heard of actual stripping before–but I could be wrong. I think the organizers wanted to move in a more family-friendly, professional direction and ditched the guys (at least those in a state of semi-undress).

    Someone who actually attended one of the older sessions (and who actually knows what they’re talking about) might want to weigh in, tho. :-)

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  5. Susan
    May 06, 2013 @ 16:57:26

    @DB Cooper: Oh, and wanted to add that I think the switch was also due, in part, because there were younger attendees starting to come for the YA books/authors and they wanted to tone down the raunch factor for them. (That’s what I meant by family-friendly.)

    ReplyReply

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