Last week, I attended the RT Booklover's conference in Kansas City. I wasn't sure what to expect, as it's primarily a conference for romance novelists, and I quit Fitzwilliam Darcy, Rock Star, because there was too much sex. I'm not much of a romance reader. But, wow, there are a lot of romance readers, and they read a lot of books, so all hail anyone who's supporting authors, right?
This guy? Is a romance novel cover model (Band Name of the Day) and Mr. RT 2009, or so he reported when I insisted he flex while hugging fellow author Jen from People I'd Like to Punch in the Throat. At the welcome party, I noticed a bunch of very fit-looking men walking around with tshirts that said Men of Romance. I asked around only to find a) people like Fabio really exist and b) they are super into being cover models. And some of them are actually 6'3" Adonis-types in real life, too. CRAZY! I always thought, I guess, that those people were drawings.
At Club RT, a venue in which authors were supposed to sit so readers could find them (I never did see one reader and would not recommend participating -- I sat with plenty of better-known-and-actual-correct-genre authors and they didn't get many readers, either), I met new adult author Lynne Tolles, who packed her own blood in werewolf, vampire, zombie and demon varieties. She was really nice despite having so much blood on her person. I brought bookplates. Que horor.
For some reason, the "A" authors were separated from the rest of the expo by a chasm of shiny cement. It is not at all intimidating to be sitting around with 299 other authors hoping someone will buy your book. Despite having a sad teenager book in a swath of steamy cowboy and werewolf romance novels, I did manage to sell a few -- and I AM DAMN PROUD.
The next day found me at a hotel in the Plaza sitting next to the author of steamy Navy SEALS romance novels. Her son, as she told me, is a Navy SEAL. She also told others. Nobody but me seemed to find that connection disturbing. Very nice lady, though.
When not awkwardly avoiding beefy cover models with waist-length blond hair or watching E.L. James pop out of the woodwork and deny ever self-publishing in the new adult panel (true story -- I was there), I attended most panels in the young adult and new adult tracks, and they were excellent. I met authors whose books I'd read and whose books I'm eager to read and got so much excellent advice about marketing and the writing process and keeping my head up that it made the experience worth it.
But it was still cuh-razy.