RWA 2009 Nationals Summary
This is my third RWA National event. The first year, I was all agog. Last year, I took in more events. This year, I actually did some Dear Author business. To the business first, then.
I met with Bob and Kana from BooksonBoard. I’m not sure what the discount will be, but starting next month (August), BooksonBoard will provide a special discount for the monthly recommended reads for Dear Author for those readers who purchase digital books.
Harlequin shared digital publishing news with us. They are actively seeking input from readers on how to make their digital program better. I got the impression that no idea is left unconsidered so if you have any idea at all, no matter how crazy, post it in the comments so that Harlequin can get an idea of what a reader wants. Wendy, Super Librarian, and I told them we wanted more backlist titles digitized. Apparently 50% of Harlequin’s sales in the digital format is backlist titles. I think digital publishing has really been a boon to series authors.
Harlequin has a new YA line coming out and I have an entire inteview about that to post next week (along with giveaways of the Rachel Vincent and Gena Showalter books).
Harlequin has been giving away paper goods made out of their vintage covers. I encouraged (begged) Harlequin to sell these. I told them I would blog about this idea and try to gauge what kind of interest there would be for these paper good novelty items. I think that they should be selling t-shirts, bags, stationary, personal cards, postcards, notepads with the vintage covers on them. What do you think?
Shauna Summers of Ballantine/Bantam sat down with me to share some news about upcoming books. Ballantine/Bantam want to do a regular feature (ala Berkley/Ace/Roc) to tell the readers about new books and give away books that are currently on sale. I thought the DA readership would enjoy that! Many of the books coming from Ballantine/Bantam have a fantasy or paranormal overtone:
- Jennifer Lyon had a book out in February and has two more being released. Her books feature witch hunter heroes and witch heroines.
- Jill Sorenson has an upcoming romantic suspense to look for, Set the Dark on Fire.
- Jenna Black is writing about demons.
- Dianne Emley has her 4th book in the Nan Vining, police detective series, coming out in 2010.
- Sharon Page is scheduled for at least one more book release.
- Lucy Snyder is an upcoming urban fantasy release.
- Stacia Kane is one that Random House is really excited about. The title of her first release will be Unholy Ghosts. Expect to see a 6 month release gap between books. The first is scheduled for the fall.
- Karen Marie Moning continues to write her “fever” series. Her last hardcover release hit No. 3 on the NYT bestseller list.
- Stephanie Tyler, one half of the Sydney Croft writing team, is releasing a 3 book back to back to back release in the fall featuring Navy Seals who are adopted brothers.
- Bella Andre is moving from Pocket to Ballantine/Bantam. Apparently Pocket is torpedoing any erotica content.
- Suzanne Brockmann just inked a new deal with RandomHouse. She has 2 paperback original standalones coming out as well as more Troubleshooters.
- Shana Abé has one more release in the drakon series called Timeweaver. It is scheduled for a late spring 2010 release.
Sourcebooks, one of the largest midsized independent print publishers, gave me a first chapter of Laura Kinsale’s latest release, Lessons in French. It will be Kinsale’s first book in five long years. There was a lot of talk at the conference about Kinsale’s influence on writing careers.
Sourcebooks told me that they really care about their authors and view the publishing relationship as a partnership. Their royalty rates are standard and start out at 6% for mass market, 7.5% for trade, and 15% of retail for digital rights.
They are going to be experimenting in digital format and despite withholding the digital copy of a new release, Bran Hambric: The Farfield Curse, they decided to release the ebook version of Mr. Darcy, Vampyre, simultaneously with the print release. I told Sourcebooks I would give away digital copies of this book to celebrate this decision.
In very good news, Sourcebooks will be releasing their digital books, regardless of release date, in DRM free format through Scribd and Smashwords.
Quartet Press’s founders were out in full force at RWA. I met Kat Meyer and Kassia Kroszer. They are definitely publishing romance books (sexy ones and sweet ones) and have great plans for marketing. I heard a rumor that the option clause is being revisited. I’m very excited to see what will come out of Quartet Press, both from the technological side and the content side.
It seems that the big news of the conference is always authors switching publishers. This year is no different. Liz Carlyle is leaving Pocket and the editor that found her, Lauren McKenna. I’m not sure where she was going although the rumor is Avon. It has been confirmed that Carlyle will be published with Avon in the future. Pocket is also losing Roxanne St. Claire, who has published most of her single title books with Pocket. She’s taking her new romantic suspense books to Amy Pierpont at Grand Central Publishing. Avon is losing long time author, Theresa Medeiros, to Pocket.
The Next Big Thing
Everyone seems in love with video. There were film crews everywhere from Penguin videoing signings and spotlights to Romantic Times and Borders taping segments with authors. I got invited to interview an author for Romantic Times. You’ll be able to view me and debut author, Courtney Milan, in January 2010. I like to call that interview piece the Asian Invasion. (Courtney is part Asian).
The conference seminars seemed very stale and I heard a number of complaints that the workshops were too rudimentary in terms of craft. The keynote speakers were very good, very inspirational, and maybe that is enough.
I attended the digital intiatives seminar that was hastily put together after the RWAChange brouhaha. Malle Vallik of Harlequin and Rachel Chou of Avon presented. It was sparsely attended even though it is an important topic.
Despite RWA not wanting to acknowledge digital impact, Sony was a sponsor of the seminar and RWA gave away Sony Readers to random volunteers. Ironic, no? Amazon reps where at the seminar pitching the greatness of Kindle to authors and publishers alike.
Our Rogue Digital Seminar was standing room only. We had over 80 people attend and rumors were that over 40 were turned away. Samhain had a social in our suite and over 200 people came to that. Digital publishing is here and RWA really, really needs to start paying attention.
I had the great opportunity to meet Janine and Dr. Sarah for the first time. Janine is gracious and articulate and everything you would expect from someone who writes such beautiful reviews. Dr. Sarah is intimidatingly smart. Dear Author is so lucky to have contributors like these two.
I roomed with Sarah from SmartBitches, Angela James, Heather Osborn and her editorial assistant, Melissa, Candy, and Jill Myles (upcoming January 2010 debut author). I couldn’t have asked for better roommates. I also can’t express how grateful I am for the friendship of Sarah and Angie who are possibly two of the most amazing businesswomen I know.
I can’t enumerate the great people that I met because there were so many of them. Rose from Publishers’ Weekly was a hoot. Susanna Kearsley told us about RNA Award which made me envious. Don Linn, publisher of Tauton Press, took Sarah and Angie and I out for lunch. (I’m a big Tauton fan and an even bigger Don Linn fan).
I got to meet up for a short while with the blogging crew, Katiebabs, Beverly, Kristie J, Lisa Bea, Rosie, and many others.
There was much hilarity and bonding which is what makes Nationals an event worthwhile.