Saturday was my last day and there were no panels for the day, only events. The two events that I attended were the booksigning and the Mr. Romance competition.
The booksigning was really large, although not as large as the RWA literacy signing. There were digital authors with their print books and traditional published authors placed side by side. Smart Bitches was sent with 25 books and sold out. Alyssa Day brought cookies for Sarah and for me!
Sarah and I met with Sue Grimshaw after the signing and before Mr. Romance. Borders is doing well. They had great sales numbers for romance last month and she feels like they are in a good position for the future. We talked about Borders.com and how she wants to make Borders a place for readers, focused on what they are interested in and providing a platform for readers to interact with each other. Sue is a very reader centric person.
Maybe in a nod to past criticism, Mr. Romance was surprisingly free of naked man titty. There were only 7 contestants this year. All of the expenses including the costumes the men wear are born by them. Some are able to get sponsors, but it really raises the idea of why. Mr. Romance is a title conferred by judges associated with Dorchester as the winner goes on an actual cover for a book at Dorchester. The attendee choice winner gets $200.
So why would you come to a conference of women to work your butt off for 4+ days in anticipation of winning $200? It seemed odd to me. There is no question that these gentlemen were nice guys but I would think that there are other ways to get cover contracts that don’t include this constant glad handing. Maybe I am wrong.
I think the whole event is one that every romance reader should attend because it’s such a different experience. I ran into one reader and asked her whether she would come back. She said she would because it was a way for her to connect with one of her favorite authors.
RT does make it easy for you to have access to authors in a variety of ways. The social mixers place you, the reader, in close proximity to the author. It’s a far more casual atmosphere than at RWA and in comparison, I would say that RT is more suited to the reader than RWA.
But there did not seem to be alot of discussion about the books, at least not panel led discussion, by authors. It’s much more of a constant social event for readers which can be fun and rewarding.