Before I left for my booksigning and talk at Watchung Booksellers, I asked Ye Olde Twitter Wise People for help with my presentation. The bookshop folks didn’t want me to read from the book as much as they preferred a talk about the book – which I’m totally down with.
So I said, “What are the top five things you didn’t know about romance readers. In case you missed the complete list, here’s a recap:
5. We are smart. We are educated. We have conferences in Princeton and one of the best peer-support writers orgs in business. We are not dumb.
We are NOT your grandma.
We are not exactly like your Grandma. We’re not even exactly alike. We are women of all ages from every country. (My apologies to JoanneL for unintentional slight. My bad!)
And while many dismiss us as disconnected and isolated, we are not. We’re often on the cutting edge of technology. Biggest ebook pioneer? HQN. And: We are not all WOMEN. (Angela James gave me that last bit – excellent point)
3. We spend money. Publishing banks on the success of romance because it sells to the tune of $1,7b (2007 RWA) so thank rom that u have books.
2. WE DO NOT LIKE THE COVERS EITHER SO LAY OFF WITH THE BODICE RIPPING JOKES, K?
1. We. Are. Everywhere. You could be one & not know it. We hate when folks put us down & we’d LOVE to intro you to a great romance novel.
Watchung Booksellers is a small and delicious smelling (NOM BOOKS NOM) independent bookshop in Montclair. If I had to sum up their stock in one word, I’d say, “Trade.” They carry a LOT of trade paperback fiction, and a lot of it is literary fiction, with a shelf for science fiction, mystery, and books on a featured theme. Behind the counter were many books on Jersey traveling and walking – local staycation reading that looked really good. And then the children’s section was to die for. It’s adjacent to the YA, too, so there’s a lot of good reading for kids and adolescents in the back half of the store. And did I mention the smell?
Interestingly enough, I learned from Margot, who was running the show this evening, that while romance as a genre doesn’t sell there very much, a good number of romance authors frequent the store. I am wondering who, and what they buy!
A great group of women came to the talk, including TWO ladies, Tamar and Katherine, who put their clothes back on after changing into their jammies, then remembering that I was at Watchung Booksellers tonight. AND another brave soul, Julie, I think, attended who hasn’t slept in weeks because she’s in the middle of law school finals (no, not Candy but I imagine she is in about the same state). I was really floored by that kind of dedication. I mean, finals? Putting clothes on after changing into jammies? WOW. Thank you.
Two of the women who attended came because they’d been at the Princeton conference and wanted to meet me and hear more about the Bosoms – which is awesome. And Katiebabs came after rushing home from work – and yes, her haircut is exceptionally awesome. I was totally jealous of it.
Interestingly, none of the women there said they were romance writers, but they were all avid readers. One woman told me she was a big fan of suspense and contemporary, and loved finding new contemporary authors. She’s in a mom’s group and only three of them “admit” to reading romance – but score for her because when one of them received a giant bag of romances, it was divided among the three of them by interest. (Dude. I want to be in that mom’s group.)
After I talked a bit about the things you didn’t know about romance readers – to a group of romance readers who probably already knew all of those things! – I asked what books they’d read and enjoyed, romance or otherwise. That was my favorite part: talking about books with book fans once it was clear that they can admit to loving books that they might get mocked for enjoying should they saw so elsewhere. Edith, who had been in the store when I arrived picking up an order she’d placed, told the group that she was part of a book club with two male members and there had been some debate as to whether their latest pick, Astrid and Veronica, was too girly. Edith didn’t think so, and the folks who were concerned were outvoted. Heh.
I’ve only done three booksignings at stores, but the part I love best is when people who come talk about what books they like, or what books they’d like to read, and everyone starts suggesting books or recommending similar authors. When like-minded readers who share a common interest (like really good books, and not just romance) start talking about books, it’s just delicious. Thank you to Watchung Books and to the awesome ladies who came out tonight for a truly excellent evening. I am so pleased I got to meet all of you.