Wednesday kicked off the first official day of RWA (Romance Writers of America). It always starts with Librarian Day. One of my favorites because I always wanted to be a librarian, so I love talking to them. There were workshops on Connecting Romance Readers and Authors at the Library, Focus on Historical Romance, and Blast from the Past. One interesting comment was the librarian who noted that her senior readers were complaining about the lack of large print erotica. The luncheon featured a speech by Kerrilyn Sparks. The librarians received swag bags and a visit to the goody room where they could collect lots of great books and other items donated by authors. Everyone left smiling and excited to bring back some great ideas to their libraries.
Sabrina Jeffries hosted one of the many parties held during RWA. She was promoting her Christmas book and the place was all decorated for Christmas. Sabrina even had special Sabrina Martinis. Advanced Reading Copies of the books were given away as very coveted prizes. The party was filled with bloggers, librarians, booksellers and readers.
The absolute highlight of the day was the Literacy Signing. This event is free and open to the public. RWA’s “Readers for Life” Literacy Autographing features hundreds of romance authors signing copies of their novels. Proceeds from book sales go to ProLiteracy Worldwide. The room was huge, so there was plenty of space to move around. RWA tried something new this year. Avon Publishing sponsored the event so when you walked in the aisle was called Avon Alley and their authors lined both sides.
Unfortunately for the readers, the authors were not arranged in alphabetical order this year so it was extremely difficult to locate authors. They did pass out maps, but the print was so small it was extremely difficult to read. The readers I spoke with were upset and frustrated. They would find one author they were looking for only to discover that the next one was located on the other side of the room and the third back where they started. I know I didn’t get to see everyone I wanted because I couldn’t find them. I hope RWA reconsiders doing it in alphabetical order again next year. On the plus side, several authors were happy to sit next to people they don’t normally sit by. But, this event is really about the readers, not the authors. Regardless, I saw many happy readers clutching books signed by their favorite authors.
One final observation on the signing. It was scheduled for 5-8 p.m. By 7 p.m., there were more than a few authors who had left already. As a reader, this upsets me. Even if you sell out of books, I think it’s common courtesy to stay. The readers that come expect the authors to be there the scheduled time. Some cannot make it at 5 p.m. due to work or other obligations. If there are no more books to sign, authors should consider doing what Joanna Bourne was doing. She was handing out signed book plates and stayed until the very end smiling, greeting her readers and posing for pictures. Once again, this event is for the readers folks. Authors pay a lot to come to this conference, so make the most of it. Kudos and a big thank you to all the authors who were there to meet the readers until the signing officially ended.
More about RWA all week.
Bottom Line: Readers are why authors do what they do.