Tuesday, July 05, 2011

The RWA Conference

The RWA conference was amazing but then it always is.
It was a bit different for me this time as my daughter, son and sister were there.
The main theme of the conference for me was the growth of digital and so it was appropriate that the first person I saw when I arrived at the hotel was Malle Vallik who is the head of Harlequin Digital. If there is anyone who knows more about what is going on in the digital sphere, I would like to meet them...
We were able to have a private meeting during conference and lots of lovely things flowed from that. My website will be getting a makeover and I have a lovely new tagline -- Warm, witty and intimate historical romance from Michelle Styles.
Digital is growing expontentially. No one is sure when or where it will stop. After only a few weeks with my kindle, I can understand why avid readers are going digital. It is just easier.
The Ethan Ellenberg workshop which was given by an associate of Ethan Ellenberg as he had a family emergency confirmed some of what I was thinking. If you are interested in contracts and the nitty gritty about ebook publishing, it is worth listening to as it was recorded. Basically you do want a publisher with clout and authority. Yes, digital has changed things but you still need distribution. The gate keepers remain and unless you know about metadata, platforms and searchability, you will be lost. Self-publishing does remain vanity. Very few people make money from self-publishing. The barriers to entry may be lowered but...you are essentially becoming your own publishing house and have to create your distribution network etc.
If anyone ever needs to be inspired, it is worth reading Sherrilyn Kenyon's keynote speech on Facebook. There was not a dry eye in the house.  My daughter who was sitting beside me was in awe. You never see the failures and hard work. You often only see the success. But Sherrilyn Kenyon deserves every piece of success that she gets. She got there because she was determined.
Another great workshop which can be downloaded from the RWA is Michael Hauge's on Uniting Plot Structure with Character Arc. Very impressive.  He does run a website and send out a newsletter. But the workshop was excellent. I have ordered his screenwriting book which for some unknown reason is not on Kindle UK...
The Historical Round Up was disappointing. I had hoped to hear about what was going in the genre but the three panelists had ignored Harlequin. For example, Love Inspired Historical is going to 4 books per month starting in Jan 2012. It is one of the fastest growing series in the company. They are actively acquiring Westerns. Harlequin Historical is 6 books per month and they are actively acquiring books from all time periods with G/R/V being the most popular. HH Undone is still going strong (despite Spice Briefs stopping and Nocturne changing) and they are looking to acquire sensual romance across all time periods. The one thing that all the panelists got right was that it is the STORY that counts. I was interested to learn that Pocket calls G/R/V simple Regency.
The one piece of interesting news concerns Love Swept. Ballantine/Bantam/Del Rey used to have a series imprint called Love Swept. When I saw the old covers, I knew I had read it. It folded but they are bringing it back in digital. First with old beloved books but they are also acquiring. There are no slots to fill so they can afford to be picky.  It is currently digital only and pays 25% NAR. The best way to find out what they want is to follow Sue Grimshaw on twitter. That is how their first signing (Jessica) was taken on.
I will be back tomorrow with bits about the social side. The parties were great...


Caroline said...

So glad you had a great, and informative, time at the RWA. It's interesting about digital. I was reading an old "How To.." book at the weekend and they were saying that they didn't think it would take off! How wrong they were/are. Caroline x

Evangeline Holland said...

Great roundup on the business side of the conference. I just read Sherrilyn Kenyon's keynote speech and am left amazed by her courage and tenacity. Very brave and talented lady.

I think Harlequin's historical lines (regular and Love Inspired) are ignored because a lot of writers and industry professionals consider Harlequin a completely separate sphere for romance writing. Ergo, both sides of the equation assume HH has the same guidelines for content as the other category lines, and continue to focus on single title historicals. Plus, I think the average wait time for a submission is a major deterrent for those interested in writing for HH--why wait 6+ months for a response when (agented) submissions to Avon or Berkley receive immediate responses?

And is HQN really discontinuing their Spice Briefs line?

As for LoveSwept, I read on Dear Author that they are also offering negotiable advances with that royalty rate, which is very very interesting in light of Avon Impulse only offering royalties (or perhaps they do offer advances to their print published authors).

Marguerite Kaye said...

Hi Michelle, Just wanted to say I saw you in a few of the pics on Facebook, and all that hard work you've been putting in has really, really paid off. Thanks for all your various updates, I almost feel like I didn't need to be there (which is a total fib).

On your recommendation, I got 2 of Suzanne Bowen's DVDs. The Pilates Perfect Body wasn't a cinch, but I managed the whole thing reasonably okay, since I go to a pilates class most weeks, but after the first 12 minute segment of the Belly Blitz, I was lying gasping like a landed trout on my mat. And the same the next time I tried it, and the next. Surely it must be working!