Thursday, May 6, 2010

Firsts: Thanks to 13 to Life and, well, Life.

You always remember your first, right? Well, 2010 marks a bunch of firsts for me. My first novel, 13 TO LIFE, debuts June 22. My first trip to BEA in NYC is this year. My first books (ARCs so far) got signed this year at RT BOOKlovers Convention during the Not So Sweet 16 Party. My son lost his first tooth this year (while I was signing my first set of 13 TO LIFE excerpts (chapbooks) at my first public signing at my first RT).

Yeah. Firsts aplenty. :D

I attended my first RWA conference last year and was looking forward to my first RT. I knew they’d be vastly different. I’d heard the party atmosphere was a big part of RT and RWA was more about education. In retrospect, I’d have to agree, though I learned quite a bit in the workshops I attended (and hopefully imparted some good stuff in the panel I moderated about psychic fiction and in the workshop on serendipity and goal-setting I led).

The Mr. Romance competition was one thing that was VERY different. It’s an annual competition that Dorchester publishing (kings of competitions and contests) host for a group of men who compete to win the title of Mr. Romance and the opportunity to be a cover model on one of Dorchester’s romance novels. It can change things for them. Dramatically. But (without me getting on a soapbox and preaching too much about how we women shouldn’t objectify men if we don’t want to be objectified ourselves—and there were plenty of women treating the guys in a way we’d argue against if the tables were turned) it’s not an easy competition.

Readers are subjective. So are women imagining men on romance covers. We all know what we personally like to see.

Other than the Mr. Romance competition, a couple differences between RT and RWA (at least from my recent experiences) were the following:

1.) more media-related classes at RT than RWA (if you consider a ratio)
2.) more open parties at RT than RWA (Ellora’s Cave, Dorchester, Heather Graham’s Vampire Ball, the Faerie Ball, the Street Party, the Mystery Chix and Private Dix and Intergalactic Bar and Grille event, and I know I’m missing more).

When it comes to free books, it’s a toss-up. Unless you win big (which I did). And the HUGE baskets (yes, 2 laundry-style baskets) I won filled with YA novels and ARCs are going to be given away. HERE. And on Twitter. And on Facebook. Starting in June (13 to Life's release month). All thanks to RT.

Did I get my money’s worth out of this trip? Did I learn enough, party enough, make enough connections, score enough free books to make it worth my while?

YES.

There were even events I couldn’t get to and events I left early because I was so tuckered out (as my mother would say). RT’s exhausting and overwhelming (and not to be missed). You want your education and social mingling in the romance industry to really be complete by attending two educational events? Hit RT and RWA.

Next year RT’ll be in Los Angeles. This is probably the only thing that'll get me to LA (other than a movie deal ;-).

Am I going? How could I not? I’ll have 2 books in my 13 TO LIFE series out by then with the 3rd on the way. And if you didn’t make it to RT this year, I sincerely hope you make it next year! Catch up to me there. We'll get a drink or dessert or hit the dance floor together. I'll sign stuff for you--or perhaps I'll ask you to sign stuff for me! Either way, come to RT. Have fun because that's a big part of romance and should be a big part of publishing!

Hope to see you in LA!
~Shannon

1 comment:

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