While I was wandering around at RWA National in San Francisco this year, I ended up helping set up one of the lunches and placing books on chairs for the free giveaway. After the many, many mini piles of books were distributed, I found myself chatting with The Super Secret Behind The Scenes Staff of RWA National. You might have recognized them by their really spiffy teal blue cardigans, or by the tired and somewhat exhausted expressions some wore at the end (conferences are hard to manage, y’all. I’ve been there, done that, and have much empathy). One of the most interesting conversations I had at RWA this year was with Carol Ritter, who kicks ass and takes names. Literally. That’s her job. So I begged for an interview. All those who say that RWA doesn’t do enough for authors and those aspiring to be so, please take note of Carol Ritter. Srsly. Can you tell me a bit about your job at RWA, the responsibilities involved, and the more challenging aspects? Carol: I am the Professional Relations Manager at RWA. At the moment my job responsibilities include reviewing contracts submitted by Publishing companies and Literary Agents, gathering monthly market… read more »
Bitchin' Blog Posts : RWA National - Dallas 2007
A small sample of dinner conversation with Sarah and Hubby, where, like the dorks we are, we talk about blogs:
Hubby: I bet more people read romance than vote. Sarah: could be.
Professor- type at next table: Haurrumph!read more »
Early Saturday morning, at about 830 am, at the RWA national conference, I volunteered at the Workshop Booth because it was the only volunteer assignment I thought I could do. It didn’t involve unloading boxes or moving things around, and it did involve sitting and telling people where to go. I can totally do that! So there I was, bright and early, caffeinated and somewhat chipper, sitting in the Workshop Booth, attempting to steer people to different conference rooms.
I totally made up answers, I think. The Hyatt divided their ballroom in to a groundhog’s maze of rooms, and some were accessible from the main ballroom entrance, and some you had to go wander down a ways. There was one room that I swear you had to go down a hall, around the back, through the kitchen, down the street, under some railroad tracks, across a field, and then back through a really weird grimy door to find… a relatively nice ballroom. This was where the Nora Q&A was held, and the room was packed despite being totally hidden somewhere in west Texas.
But back to me! There I am in the Workshop Booth, hanging out and telling… read more »
Kate Rothwell posted some rather interesting reactions to the presence of bloggers and reviewers at the RWA this year. One author noted:
...that kind of bothered me at this conference. Stuff like [the costumed writers] and all the blog reviewers being there. It just started to feel like it was maybe turning into a fan conference rather than a professional organizationsâ€™ annual meeting.
I just think the two should be kept separate. You want to have a time for authors to meet the press (or reviewers)â€”like the librarians thing or the booksellers thing, great. But being a part of everything just didnâ€™t seem appropriate to me. Like a conflict of interest. Itâ€™s our conference and a time for us to discuss our industry.
Conflict of interest was a rather interesting term to use, and I don’t think it’s accurate. Us bloggers (OK, I can speak only for Sarah and me specifically) went to the conference to a) report back on what goes on behind the scenes to the readers, and b) meet a whole bunch of people we’ve been interacting with on-line for ages, both authors and readers. I’m not sure what sort of conflict of interest there’d be… read more »
Much to discuss in Post-Dallas ranting, it seems, and I’ve had a few moments of putting my feet up to enjoy that rare luxury - blog reading.
*ahhhhhhh* Air conditioning and high speed internet? There’s nothing better!
Most of my feedback about the conference so far that I’ve noted has been directed to the hotel and the manner in which the conference “fit” into the hotel, and what suggestions I’d have for future conference sites. But since this was my first national, I didn’t process and synthesize a lot of what I noticed until I started reading the feedback of experienced conference attendees.
Allison Brennan’s rant on RtB yesterday brought attention to something I’d noticed in the book signings - the mass acquisition of a LOT OF BOOKS.
This is one of the people I saw with a big ol’ cart full of books. Now, if you are this person, and you’re reading all those books, more power to you. I’m using the picture as a sample, since I saw several people with carts, boxes, and suitcases, filling up with books.
I myself took home a suitcase of books, half of which… read more »
I’ve been emailing with different authors about the “controversy” of Caridad Ferrer’s book AdiÃ³s to my Old Life winning the RITAâ„¢ for Best Contemporary Romance, and I have to say, I’m befuddled.
I honestly do not get it. I was frankly disgusted by the anonymous commenters calling it bullshit on this blog and others, but not because they disagreed with the decision. Hey, if you are bummed because your favorite book didn’t win? Ok. Whatever. Plenty of people are pissed when Oscarsâ„¢ are announced, so you’re in good company.
What blows my mind is the anonymity - I guess the nicey-nice culture of romance novel readers & fans & authors is alive, well, and reducing any valid criticism into ultimatums issued by people with no balls. I’d have a lot more respect for all those anonymous opinions if, say, the person writing them had the stone ovaries to say WHO THEY WERE for God’s sake. One on our site called it bullshit; another anonymous ball-less commenter says it’s a “‘fucking’ disgrace.”
“Controversy” not withstanding, the nicey-nice seems to be rearing it’s perfectly coiffed head again. If you can’t say you’re happy for a winner, then you hide behind a… read more »
Back, motherfuckers! I’m kind of bereft of words at the moment, because holy crapdamn I’ve done a lot of talking in the past three days, but here’s a sort of Highlight Reel from the conference experience, in no particular order because I’m too goddamn tired to be coherent:
1. We got to attend Nora Roberts’ pre-RITA reception, which was awesome wacky funtimes. Ruth Ryan Langan thought I was 20 years old, which was balm to my almost-30-year-old soul, and I got to meet Eileen Dreyer, who’s a hoot and a half, aaaaand I got to meet Patricia Gaffney. Much embarrassed (and embarrassing) fawning ensued, because HOLY CRAP PAT GAFFNEY (I’m not quite Passion Ann Heet, but it was touch-and-go for a moment there), but Pat very graciously said “Oh, fawn away. We love fawning.”
2. I successfully stalked Barbara Samuel and squeed at her. She very graciously put up with it, and we had a brief and excellent conversation about Lucien’s Fall.
3. I got to meet Lisa Kleypas and express to her my abiding love for Celia and Justin of Only With Your Love, and how if they were a modern couple, they’d have a coke habit and trash… read more »
I am home, enjoying the luxury of wireless internet that doesn’t require a $10 charge every day and doesn’t fade out when I want to, say, USE it, and really, REALLY enjoying the luxury of typing with all of my fingers as opposed to manic thumb-typing without capitals on the Blackberry. Man, my Blackberry needs time away from me, I think. It’s tired of me and my constant moblogging.
The conference, in a nutshell, was fabulous fun. Since I wasn’t there as an aspiring author, but was there to meet as many people as I could, I didn’t go to many sessions on writing, craft, publicity or self-promotion, but I did meet a ton of people and, when not about to fall over from utter exhaustion, I had a wonderful time. I did go to bed early, though, since gestating is tiring business. Note to self for future conferences: try staying up later.
Without sounding too much like Sally Field, it was incredibly humbling and gratifying to find out how many people visit and laugh and enjoy our site. Thank you to everyone who wanted to meet us, who wanted to say how much they like our blog,… read more »
Samantha Graves said it best: RWA is four days of interoverts acting like extroverts, and we’re all exhausted.
Amen to that. Let’s go home!read more »
I have successfully approached Roxanne St. Claire and introduced myself - so her conference goal is complete. And she’s really sweet.read more »
Is wearing Maggie Gyllenhallallallaaal’s Oscar dress, which she won in an auction, and she looks great.
And that’s the awards folks. Hope you enjoyed our complete lack of capitalization and rapid thumb typing action. I’m going to rest my thumbs now - be back in a bit.read more »
Best contemporary single title RITA: adios to my old life by caridad ferrer .
I swear we both screamed.read more »
Best romantic suspense RITA: blackout by annie solomonread more »
Julia Quinn is gigging with glee. She’s like the Jennifer Garner of romance. She’d live next door and be perfectly dressed and you’d like her despite yourself because she’s a hoot.
RITA for novel w strong romantic elements: a lady raised high by jennifer ashleyread more »