Wednesday, August 09, 2006

My impressions of RWA conference

I think I've finally recovered from attending the annual RWA conference in Atlanta. It was a busy and hectic week. I attend this conference for several reasons. One to network. This is a great place to see friends and contacts, all in one place, since most of the publishers come to this conference as well as agents. The other reason I go is to get charged up again about writing. I try to attend several workshops and soak up the information.

This year Faith, Hope and Love chapter of RWA had a mini-conference on Wednesday aimed at writers who are interested in inspirational romances. I spoke at this one day conference about Interweaving Faith into Your Stories while Lenora Worth talked about Adding Emotional Depth to Characters. Later there was an agent/editor panel. I walked away from that conference upbeat about the continual growth in inspirational fiction. Melissa Endlich announced that Love Inspired Suspense was going to four books a month in February 2007 which is an opportunity for writers who like to write romantic suspense.

Another impression I received from the conference besides the growth in the inspirational market is the growth in sexy books. It is interesting to see the two ends of a continuum having the biggest growth. I did hear editors speak optimistically about historicals for the first time in a while. Love Inspired Historicals will begin in October 2007 with two books a month.

I have walked away from this conference feeling anxious about the industry in the past. I felt this year it was more optimistic (beyond just historicals). There are opportunities out there. Harlequin is starting a paranormal line (Nocturne) in October 2006 and the authors were signing the first books in that series at the conference. Sexy reads, paranormals and romantic suspense are still selling as well as inspirational romances. In a conversation with Stacy Boyd she told me the Nocturne line was looking for Alpha heroes with the stories being dark. They are accepting all kinds of paranormal elements--vampires, werewolves, ghosts, etc.

Also Amazon did a program on promotions they have for authors to increase name recognition and possibly traffic to your web site. You can write a short story for them and readers can pay to download them. You can check it out with Amazon. I know how important promotion can be in this industry.

Lastly the Golden Heart/RITA ceremony this year was fun and entertaining as well as short. I really enjoyed the clips from various films having to do with people's perception of a writer's life. I only wish some of those clips were true. Is there anyone out there who can tell me the name of the film they showed with Hugh Jackman as a writer? I haven't seen it and it looked interesting.


Terry Z McDermid said...

Margaret, thanks for you comments about National. I haven't been able to go for the last few years and it's been great to have all the feedback.

I think the movie you're talking about is Paperback Hero with Hugh Jackman. I haven't been able to find it in our area but it's been on my list. He's the secret romance writer, in Australia? The story (and the actor!) both intrigued me. I may do some more searching, now that you've reminded me of it.


Cheryl Bolen said...

Thanks so much, Margaret, for sharing with us who were unable to attend.

I agree that the networking is the biggest attraction for those of us who have published several books and don't get all that much out of the workshops.

In the 13 years I've been in RWA I've attended 5 national conferences. They're expensive, exhilerating, exciting -- and exhausting! Wish I made more money off my writing that would justify going to conference every year.

JoAnn Ross said...

I haven't been to an RWA in 13 years (was going this year but had to cancel for a deadline), but I love hearing about people's experiences. The Hugh Jackman movie was the very sweet Paperback Hero. He played a macho Aussie trucker who writes a romance novel, then names his best friend -- who hasn't read the book -- as the writer. She agrees to pretend to be him if Jackman's agent will pay for her wedding to the local nice guy vet. I think it was Jackman's first movie, and his soon to be star charisma shows up a lot more than it did in the tepid (imo) Kate and Leopold, and is worth watching if only to hear him sing -- it's not dubbed -- Orbinson's Crying. :)

There are the requisite big city/small outback town comparisons when the pair go to Sydney for all the PR stuff. Oh, and a funny thing is the heroine's Boomerang cafe, which is shaped like a boomerang, as is everything else in the place.

Did they show Michael Douglas's Wonder Boys? Or Sean Connery's Finding Forrester? Those are my two fave movies about writers. I love in Wonder Boys, where Douglas has the 1,000+ page ms he's been working on for years and one of his writing students reminds him that he always tells them that they must make choices. The idea of cutting anything from the book is too traumatic. LOL

Margaret Daley said...

Thanks, everyone, for the name of the movie. I am going to try and find it. I want to see it. The clips were so cute. They showed Finding Forrester but I don't think they showed the Wonder Boys (then again they may have and I didn't know it since I haven't seen that movie--but I'm going to get that one, too). They showed Romancing the Stone and one of Chevy Chase movies. There were a lot of clips from different movies. Very well done.

Jennifer Y. said...

The Hugh Jackman film is very cute. It was the first film I remember seeing him in.

JoAnn Ross said...

If you ever find a DVD or even a VHS of Paperback Hero, let me know. Because I've never found one that isn't a UK format and I've love to watch it again.

I remember the screenwriter saying he was inspired by reading an article while in the States about a truck driver who wrote a romance. Gotta wonder if it could've been Tom Curtis. Interestingly, there were more guys writing romance back in the 80s. (Including Dean Koontz.) I wonder why there aren't more now? Because, perhaps, they now have the thriller market to write for?

As for Wonder Boys, it not only skewers the literary writing community, it also takes its slings at University English departments, which are, I found from my days working with the ASU department head, even nastier than politics. And thankfully they didn't give Douglas a too young love interest. Instead he's having an affair with the fabulous (and married in the movie) Frances McDormand.

Kalen Hughes said...

You can get PAPERBACK HERO for about $14 on, but you have to have an international player. It's never been released as a region 1 disc for Canada and the US. You can get a multi-region player for less than $50 now, and it’s worth the investment IMO.