Last weekend was the annual gathering of Romance Writers of America in hot and humid San Antonio where 2000 romance writers, editors and wanna-be’s descended upon the Alamo. The entire week was filled with schmoozing, great laughs, pitches, meetings, and lots of Tex-Mex.
My week began with a bundle of panels that clued me in on some information about publishing and specifically erotic romance that I hadn’t taken into consideration. Check out the summary of those panels below:
The Basics of BDSM:
It is no surprise that with the emergence of the Fifty Shades phenomenon, interest in BDSM is at an all time high. In an approximately one hour, I was schooled on the appropriate terms and education of the BDSM community.
The panel was led by authors Opal Carew, author of His to Claim and Master Box Set, and Lauren Lawson (also known as Lauren Hawke), author of Linger, Both authors have published numerous books on BDSM as a lifestyle and as kink. The panel began with the discussion of deviant behavior and how that transfers over to BDSM.
We started with the definition of BDSM:
BD- Bondage & Discipline
Ds- Dominate & submissive (which can be male or female)
SM- Sadism & Masochism
We discussed the Dom/sub relationship as being an exchange of power wherein both parties are giving up as well as gaining something in return. Not all submissives are women. However the ones that are say that their attraction to the Dominant lies in their natural inclination to masculine strength.
The panel closed with information on how to clearly define terms giving a BDSM Dictionary and introduced toys as well as instructions for beginners. They also shared a coupe of sites to further benefit your own research, such as: you local sex store, clubs, workshops, fetlife.com, and chat rooms.
I’ll Take Care of That For You: Working with Personal/virtual Assistants:
As an assistant myself, I found this panel to be especially interesting. The concept of a virtual assistant is a very attractive option for authors who aren’t tech savvy, who need the connection to bloggers, who don’t understand social media or just plain don’t have the time to juggle all the tasks that arise with being an author in this day and age.
Nowadays, an author needs to constantly update their website and social media in order to let their fans (and the rest of the world) know about upcoming releases, sales or any other important news that needs to be divulged to the public, readings, etc. This panel discussed how services, such as elance.com offer services to make these daily tasks easier.
But they warned to be wary of people promoting their services because they might not be completely qualified. I mean, how can you expect your sister’s daughter’s best friend to know what she’s doing? Your assistant should be technologically adept, supportive to authors, have some administrative experience and should have testimonials and work samples for you to be able to check their professionalism. However, it is important to remember that your virtual assistant is a reflection of you and your brand; He or she should be flexible to you and not the other way around.
How To Be A Successful Hybrid Author:
This panel was all about the dangers and benefits of self-publishing. While, there is a stigma to be self-pubbed, one should remember that it also provides you with the freedom to write what you want to write about, control of your cover, monthly checks, and control of pricing. The drawbacks are problems with distribution, and deadlines.
There’s also the issue of trying to get published by a traditional publisher in the future. Publishers believe that self-publishing is ruining the market and if you’re not writing an already popular series then you’re in for more difficulty.
Much to my regret, I was unable to attend all of the panels that I wanted to and these are only just a few that Romance Beat went to. But, it wasn’t all work and no play, I had the opportunity to watch author Sylvia Day accept an award for her volunteer work for RWA on local and national levels. She was also honored for her achievements in her career and in her speech she promoted freedom from the fear of failure that consistently holds writers back from reaching their true potential. She herself has learned from her mistakes and encourages authors to be willing to make mistakes in business as well as grow from them.
Spilling into the weekend, Romance Beat attended multiple parties such as Avon, Hachette, Berkley, and a Margarita Mixer for the Austin Chapter of RWA and Passionate Ink, the erotica chapter of RWA. All of the parties we attended were extremely entertaining, down to the very last detail. Check out a few pictures from some of the parties.
And see you next year at RWA 2015 in NYC!
RWA Conference 2014: How to Be a successful Hybrid Author
We must be in Texas, these delicious cookies were seen at the Barnes & Noble cocktail party
RWA 2014: Avon party details
RWA 2014: Avon authors leave party in style
The Biggest struggle at the Avon Publishing party was choosing which dirty word best suited our personalities, author Cecilia Tan helped us out with choosing which back ground was best, what do you think?
Big news came from Samhain, they announced that award winning romance editor, Latoya Smith joins Samhain as Editorial Director and launches two new lines. These lines will include an African American line of romances showcasing voices of color as well as love stories told by the LGBT community.
The weekend ended twitch RITA awards, which as usual was touching in a way that made everyone in the room appreciate what they do just a little bit more than usual.