The 3 most important things to know about #rwa12 (or any conference)

I see anxiety ramping up for RWA Nationals and it’s enough to make ME nervous for all those people who are letting their nerves get the best of them. Nationals can be a frantic, fast-paced conference for some but it can also be not only a lot of fun, but an incredible source of energy that will help you remember why you love writing and give you a ton of motivation to get back to your keyboard and get back to work. But in all the things people are talking about doing for preparing for #rwa12, the manicures, the visits to the salon, the party dresses and the right shoes, there’s a few key things that you should remember about this conference, and any other.

1) When next week is over, and we’re all back doing a postmortem of the conference, nobody will remember if you had your nails or hair done, or if your shoes perfectly matched your dress. But they will remember if you got completely trashed and made a fool of yourself. This is a fun conference, but it’s also a professional conference. Don’t let the heady excitement of being out with your peers and away from the husband and kids make you forget that you’re still at a professional conference, and you don’t want anyone’s most vivid memory of you to be puking in a trash can, stumbling to your room, or screaming at the barstaff for not getting your next drink to you quickly enough (I’ve witnessed all of these things at conferences). Moderation. If you drink, do it in moderation, pace yourself, drink things that aren’t 3 shots of alcohol at once, drink lots of water in between and at all times, be sensible!

2) You’ll get out of the conference what you put into it. You’d be surprised at how many people you’re jealous of for having a great time, holding avid conversations with others or seeming to be everywhere at once are really closet introverts. Many of them are putting themselves way beyond their comfort zone in order to get the most out of the conference and you may have to do that as well. Introduce yourself to people, attend lots of workshops–not only are they amazing in helping grow your writing, but you can make contacts just by chatting up the person next to you in the workshop before and after! Get out of your room, ask the people you do know to introduce you to people you don’t know, sit at the bar by yourself (I meet a LOT of people this way) and chat up the person next to you if they’re wearing an RWA badge and don’t seem to be engaged in doing anything else. There are so many things you can do to make this experience not only fun, but professionally worthwhile. But only you can make yourself do these things. Now is not the time to let shyness or lack of confidence get the best of you.

3) Editors and agents are just people too. We’re not mythical creatures. We don’t hold the sum total of your career in our hands. We’re not all powerful or all knowing or all anything (sorry to bust through any illusions!) We’re just people. So if you have a pitch appointment, it’s okay to be nervous, but not so nervous that you make yourself sick. Look, the worst you’re going to hear is no, but you’re likely to hear it pretty kindly. And no, while not what you want to hear, doesn’t mean your career is over, it just means you move on to the next choice, work harder, keep networking, attend the workshops to grow your craft and hey, keep moving forward because you will be published! In addition to all that, even if you don’t have pitch appointments, it’s okay to talk to us (just don’t talk at us). If you like our books, our blog, our Twitter, if you just want to say thanks for a personal rejection, or introduce yourself because you’ll be submitting in the future…those are all perfectly okay as long as you don’t a) do it in the bathroom (I’ve actually had people wait for me outside the bathroom so they don’t do it in the bathroom, lolol) and b) interrupt a 1:1 conversation. Don’t interrupt a one-on-one conversation. But if it looks like we’re in a big group at the bar, just chatting, it’s generally okay to just approach for a quick intro or minute or two of convo. It’s actually hard to find us when we’re not in convo, eh?

And even though I said it was only 3, there’s one last thing I want you to remember as you proceed to Nationals: Voices carry. Stories travel. People remember. Don’t say or do anything while you’re with a friend, at the conference hotel, at a local restaurant, or even at Disneyland, that you wouldn’t want everyone to hear. Be discreet, because you never know who’s sitting next to you, walking by your hotel room (hey, you really can hear conversations through the door!) or standing in line behind you. And not only that, be polite. The “anonymous” person you’re rude to might be the managing editor of the publisher you just signed with (yeah, that’s happened too! Not to me but…remember how I said stories travel?)

So there you have it, my tips for the most important things (okay, what I think are the most important things) to remember as you make your way to conference. Don’t let your nerves get the best of you now, because you’re going to have an amazing time & you’ll wonder later why you worked yourself up so much!

If you have other tips that you’d like to share, please feel free to do so in the comments. I’d love to hear them. There’s always something more to learn about getting the most out of conference!


Start small

I’ve let my blog go neglected for so long, that every time I think about blogging, I then think…but it’s been so long since I’ve posted, I don’t really want to post THAT. But I come to the realization that if I don’t just go ahead and post something, I may never post again, because it will be that much longer in between posts, that much longer that I let my blog just sit here, doing nothing. And that’s kind of depressing, because even the spammers have given up on my blog.

So I’m starting small, first with a reminder that hey! Carina Press launched! And actually, our week two books are up and for sale. I hope you’ll check out the thing that’s been keeping me away from my blog all these months. And, you know, maybe buy a few books so I have a job going forward. Otherwise I might have a LOT of time for blogging 😛

The other thing I can share is that we scheduled a family vacation to Disney World. We’ve planned it to occur the week before RWA, to take advantage of the RWA hotel rates. Plane ticket prices dropped yesterday and that was our final determination (we had been thinking of driving). I’m excited to do this, despite the fact that we’re going to be in Orlando in JULY because Brianna still remembers our trip to Disney just before her third birthday and she’s been asking to go back ever since. We’re not going to tell her we’re going quite yet, we’re going to wait (until at least the week before). I’m not sure when exactly we’ll tell her. Possibly on the plane ride there? No need in creating an agony of suspense for a 5 y/o any sooner than we have to. Of course, it does make a wonderful threat for good behavior, doesn’t it? As in “you’d better listen or you’re not going to Disney World”?

Last, I’m kind of excited because I only have two more work trips planned for this summer–one to Birmingham, Alabama (if you’re near there, you can come hear me speak on June 26th!) and one to RWA. Other than that, I have all of my weekends free to enjoy the summer and the beach. That kind of rocks, and I plan to enjoy it since I don’t expect to have many summers like this.

Oh, and I got a new lens for my camera. Now I just need to learn how to use it (both the lens and the camera)

Passionate Ink speech

I was asked to speak for a few minutes about digital publishing for the Passionate Ink chapter’s RWA party last week. Since digital publishing is such a broad topic, I chose to take the rah-rah approach. I think the speech loses a little in translation, reading it instead of seeing it presented, but several people on Twitter requested that I post it so here you go:

“Zor Q’an Tal, High King of Tryston, Emperor of Trek Mi Q’an galaxy, Guardian of the Sacred Sands, and the most feared man in six hundred galaxies and seven dimensions, popped a cheesy doodle into his mouth.”

And in 2000, with those highly evocative words from Jaid Black, author of the Empress’ New Clothes, Ellora’s Cave was open to the public and thus began the age of erotic romance. Prior to 2000, there were other digital publishers in the market, but Ellora’s Cave, who holds the trademark for romantica, was arguably the publisher to put erotic romance on the digital map. After Ellora’s Cave came other digital publishers such as Loose Id and Liquid Silver. In 2004, Samhain Publishing exploded on the scene (I can say it like that because I work there :P) with offerings like Maya Banks 2005 debut, Colters’ Woman:

“His big hands traveled down her back and settled on her ass, cupping and squeezing, pushing her against his groin. His cock, hard, big, bulging in his jeans, thrust into the cradle of her pelvis. Can you feel how much I want you?” he whispered.”

In the almost decade since erotic romance has made its mark on the publishing map, countless other digital publishers have opened their doors from Cobblestone, to Total E-bound, to Wild Rose Press, to the most recent addition, Quartet Press. Print publisher Red Sage joined the digital-first/digital-only ranks. In that time we’ve also seen traditional print publishers join the erotic romance trend…and now release their books in digital formats as well. Beth Kery’s Sweet Restraint from Berkley Heat:

“He saw her eyes go wide but he didn’t give her a chance to respond to his totally irrational proclamation before he covered her mouth with his own.
He drank from her furiously. Pain vibrated through his flesh. Not the discomfort of a wound or an injury, but the raw, searing pain that came from exposing a desire that had long been denied.
At that moment he needed Laura Vasquez just like he needed to breathe.”

And yet, while there is now an outlet for erotic romance in the traditional publishing realm, authors and readers continue to seek out digital publishers to publish not just erotic romance, but all genres of romance, as well as fiction.

When Passionate Ink asked me to speak to all of you about digital publishing, I didn’t know how I could possibly do justice to the topic in five to ten minutes. Where do I begin to explain why I think readers and authors continue to seek out digital publishers? How would it be possible to convey how amazing I think digital publishing is. How excited I am to work in a part of the publishing industry that gives me the freedom to publish books that I love, to push the envelope and allow authors the ability to get books that bend genres (and body parts) in new and unique ways.

Then I realized that I probably don’t have to do that. Many of you already come from a digital publishing background. Those who don’t, who are here tonight, are here because of your love of erotic romance, a genre everyone can acknowledge got its push in digital publishing. So many of you already share my excitement and love of this corner of the industry.

Still, with all that’s been discussed leading up to this year’s conference, we have to acknowledge that there are those who don’t feel the same optimism, excitement and passion for digital publishing, and in some cases, erotic romance, as we do. It would be easy to be discouraged, angry and frustrated about this, and since I’m only human–don’t tell anyone, I heard earlier that there’s some talk I’ve never been seen in the sunlight and I don’t want to shatter anyone’s illusions– but since I am only human, I’ll admit there are times I feel all of those.

But then I remember I work in an industry that allowed talented authors like Lora Leigh, Lauren Dane, Angela Knight, Jaci Burton, Maya Banks, Beth Kery, Mary Janice Davidson, Megan Hart, Linnea Sinclair, Lilith Saintcrow and so many others to get their start. An industry that’s drawn authors like Deidre Knight, Shayla Black, Ilona Andrews and Lucy Monroe. And an industry that’s showcasing talents like authors Josh Lanyon, Laura Baumbach, and K.A Mitchell who write male/male fiction they otherwise might not have found a home for.

Digital publishing is a place where authors can start their careers, continue their careers, write short, write long, write erotic, write male/male, write female/female, write about three brothers loving and living with one woman…write about werewolves, demons, vampires, suspense, erotica, BDSM, and publish a book like Deidre Knight’s Butterfly Tattoo, a simple yet amazingly complex story of a man and a woman falling in love and facing obstacles…such as finding a publisher because the hero was formerly in a homosexual relationship. Digital publishing offers all of that and so much more.

I know that, you know that and I believe that as time passes and more people get to know digital publishing, they too will recognize that. I’m not going to stop believing in our industry because people question, disdain or disbelieve. In the words of Galaxy Quest, I choose to “Never give up. Never surrender.” because I have faith in digital publishing.

Chassie planned on having a whole lotta beer. She definitely needed alcohol to get the conversation started and probably an entire case to follow through with her plan. She took two bottles of Bud Light from the door and passed one to him. Snick, hiss, pop echoed, as the lids were untwisted.
Edgard’s backside rested against one counter; hers on the one across from him. She gulped her beer, cautioning herself to be tactful and calm, but what burst forth from her mouth was, “Are you in love with my husband?”

This is the industry that brought readers erotic romance and powerful books like Lorelei James’ Rough, Raw and Ready.
And it’s not going away.

Lori Foster Get Together 2009

**apologies that this is showing up in your RSS feed again. I deleted the original post, thinking it might have somehow been causing the blog’s lagging problems. Now that I know it was a plugin, I’m reposting the post for those who hadn’t yet seen it the first time.

Sorry for the delay in posting the rest of the videos. I was having problems with uploading to Vimeo. Turns out it was AdAware blocking the upload. In case you ever have that problem.

Video one is a quick video of readers/authors talking digital devices. Video two talking digital books, and video three is just a quick glimpse of some of the activities at the Lori Foster event. (and someday I’ll figure out why all videos of me start with my eyes closed. Gah)


Lori Foster Day 2

This morning I gave a two hour presentation on epublishing to standing room only. Of course, it sounds impressive, but that was maybe 30 people. At least 20 more were unable to fit into the small room, much to our mutual dismay. I had quite a few people look into the room to try and come in, and many say they walked by but it was standing room only, even in the doorway. But it’s encouraging to see so many people interested in learning about the business of epublishing–and the business model.

I took a bunch more videos, both of the conference and of individual readers/authors asking them about digital publishing. I’ll be posting those on Monday.

A couple of quotes I thought were interesting:
“Why would I spend $25 on one hardback when I could get three books instead?”

“I’m much more likely to buy books from an author I’ve met in person.”

“You’re shorter than I realized.” (I’m not THAT short).

It was a fun day, though I’m fairly sure I talked for thirteen hours straight. Talking for two hours on epublishing is always entertaining but hard on the throat. Good thing I love the topic.

There were a bunch of raffles during the conference. I was fortunate to win two of them, including an absolutely stunning crocheted afghan in shades of red/dark red made with “green” yarn (yarn made from recycled materials. It’s so soft and cuddly, I adore it. And I also wonan Ed Hardy purse filled with fun goodies (like chocolate body paints, kama sutra set, perfume and a t-shirt) from Red Sage author Liane Gentry Skye. I love, love, love Ed Hardy and have looked at the purses many times but given how many purses I own, know my husband would move me out of the house if I spent the money on. So I’m thrilled to have won it. Thank you, Liane!

Tomorrow winds down the conference, and I don’t leave for home until tomorrow night (getting home at almost midnight). Next up: RWA Nationals!

Pin It on Pinterest