When I first heard about a conference devoted to romance readers, I was really excited. RWA, obviously, is not a reader conference; and RT has grown to be more of an author focused conference. I think that the intentions of RomCon are excellent and that this has the potential to grow to be an awesome reader event. This year, though, it seems like there are about 3 authors for every reader. Which is great, I guess, because you really can get one on one time with your favorite authors and there were some big name authors here at the conference.
That said, I think it was hard for readers to meet with other readers. The conference does a great job of hooking up readers with authors. There were author speed dating events and author intimate chats and author meet up with bloggers and reviewers and so forth, but there wasn’t any time today for readers to meet up with other readers and that is one thing I really would have liked to have seen.
I went to three sessions today:
- Author Fairy Godmothers to the Rescue
- Build a Hero
- Book Reviewing Panel
The reason was that there were only one or two events that occurred each hour that was not a ticketed event. The author chats were open to those who had signed up before hand and received a ticket. I did not pre apply for those events so I went to the open events.
The Author Fairy Godmothers to the Rescue was how readers can help authors. The first fifteen minutes were about how we aren’t supposed to pirate and how we are supposed to speak up against piraters. Yo, folks, don’t pirate.
The next 35 minutes were about how you should be posting something about the books you are reading all over the internet, from goodreads to Amazon. The authors seemed obsessed with Amazon and I felt bad because there were a number of Borders booksellers at the table. Further, I’ve heard that Amazon only represents a small fraction of overall sales for an author’s books but from the emphasis that authors placed on Amazon you would think that it was the only bookseller ever, Amen.
Build a Hero was more reader oriented but there were probably one reader to every three authors in the room. Each table had three to four authors in a separate genre. We were handed a worksheet and asked to answer questions like “What do I look like”, “What are my dreams” etc. I listened to three authors talk about writing, in general, and heroes in particular. Authors like hero names that have hard consonants. They also liked men that were tall, dark and handsome. It appears that authors believe that readers prefer the heroes that save the heroine or that readers are more responsive to them. It was interesting to listen to the authors talk with each other about their writing process.
Book Reviewing Panel was moderated by Cathy Maxwell who did a good job of involving each one of the panelists and the audience. The one reviewer was Jen from Bitten by Books. The authors were Courtney Milan, Melissa Mayhue, Catherine Anderson. Deb Werksman from Sourcebooks also participated. Courtney Milan said that reviewers should review for themselves, not for authors and readers. Deb reminded everyone that books are not the author’s babies. Jen said that reviewers serve two masters: readers and authors. Catherine Anderson said that Harriet Klausner is the epitome of a professional reviewer.
There were a number of people who said that reviewers need to recognize and acknowledge the effort authors put into their books. Perhaps we should change the F review to an E review?