RomCon started on a bright and sunny (no steam bath) day with everyone registering. You knew someone was a RomConer by the bright orange bag with the Harlequin logo on it. After getting a few hours of sleep (I don't sleep well at all in hotels), I headed down to the hotel resturant for breakfast. You can't go wrong with a buffet for under $13. I had a wonderful breakfast with my 2 roomies and Carolyn Crane. Later on Jeaniene Frost joined us and I finally had the pleasure to meet Jessica from Read React Review who also sat down with us.
The first panel I went to was the Anti-Heroes You Hate To Love which was much like speed dating. 15 authors would go from table to table for about 10 minutes and talk everyone. We mainly discussed about when writing an anti-hero how dark is too dark and close to entering villain territory. Who are our favorite "dark" heroes? And is an HEA (happly ever after) a must in romance. Have we ever read a romance where there hasn't been a traditional HEA. Gone With the Wind was mentioned about being one of the all time favorite romances but if you think about it, it doesn't have an HEA.
Some of the authors at the Anti-Heroes panel:
After the panel, I met up with a few familiar faces and everyone wanted their picture with Mho.
- Hawke's book will have a great deal of his backstory. As for anything about Sienna? You'll have to wait until the book is published.
- Nalini plans to write future books with 3 Psy heroes.
- Nalini picked San Francisco, CA as her setting because it is close to cities, forests, lakes and rivers.
- Sasha and Lucas's baby will born in Hawke's book and the baby has very special abilities.
- Nalini plans to write a Falcon trilogy.
The two most talked about panels of the day seem to be the Author Fairy Godmothers to the Rescue and Book Reviewer Panel. I didn't go to the Fairy Godmothers panel, so unfortunately I can't report on what was said.
Because there have been many tweets about these two panels, check out Twitter and #romcon for more details. But then again, something written in 140 characters doesn't give you the full range, atmosphere and overall reactions about what was being said.
As for the Book Reviewer Panel…
From my point of view I found the Book Reviewer Panel to be an interesting discussion on what authors would like to see from reviewers and reviews. There was great interaction between the panel and the audience. Cathy Maxwell was a wonderful moderator. She was full of energy and all smiles. On the panel were Catherine Anderson, Deb Werksman (Sourcebooks editor), Melissa Mayhue and Courtney Milan. The lone expert reviewer was Jennifer, reviewer from Bitten by Books who has an incredible 7,000 followers on Twitter and one of the premiere review sites on the web.
Overall, the authors on the panel respect reviewers. They ask that reviewers only criticize the work and not the person writing it. They would prefer a positive review over a negative. Reviewers should be professional. I then raised my hand and say that a negative review is better than having no review at all. The worst thing for an author is not having their book mentioned. If an author's book isn't reviewed, how will the reader know about it?
Catherine Anderson said some things that made me want to shake my head. She thinks that Harriet Klausner is a wonderful reviewer (mainly because all her reviews are so positive) I had to hold back a shocked laugh over this. But again, Catherine may not be that knowledgeable about the whole drama surrounding Harriet Klausner. Also, Catherine doesn't understand why a reviewer would give a book 1 star (based on a 5 star rating) and not at least 2 stars. Shouldn't an author get something for effort? How can you say a book maybe the worst book you ever read and perhaps give it the lowest grade possible because again, an author should get some praise for at least writing the book.
Courtney Milan, in her opinion, isn't in the same agreement about Harriet Klausner like Catherine is. *cheers Courtney* I fully side with Courtney on this issue because in my opinion, I think Harriet Klausner makes all book reviewers look bad and her reviews are total crap. Cathy Maxwell then asked the audience to raise their hands if they ever bought a book based on a Harriet Klausner review. You could have heard crickets in that room. No one raised their hand.
Cathy also asked by a show of hands who has bought a book based on a review, a blog review or someone vocally mentioning a book. Many hands were raised. Cathy also thinks that word of mouth is important. Book bloggers are responsible for starting word of mouth.
Then, there was talk about an author's book being their baby. A blogger from the audience gave the analogy based on what she has heard about authors saying their characters are their babies. No author on their panel said their books are their babies.
One of the most important things I got out of the panel was respect. Authors should respect a reviewer's opinion and a reviewer should respect an author.
Cathy ended with going around the room and having those who blog mention their blogs. I would say the majority of the audience were bloggers and were very proud to announce their blog. But then again 2 very recognizable bloggers sat there and didn't announce their blog names and I'm wondering why. But I guess that is their decision and they have a reason for it.
Overall, the atmosphere of RomCon is awesome. There are so many happy faces and the energy is very high. Day 1 was everything I could have asked for as I wandered around talking to many people from readers to authors and bloggers. The readers I've met think that they are just a reader and really have nothing else to give. I had to correct a few of them. A reader is the most important person at this conference. They should think of themselves as THE READER, not A READER. Authors and editors should be going up to these people first and thanking them. Without readers, authors wouldn't be published and have an event like RomCon. If you think of yourself as only A READER, please keep in mind how very special and important you are to the publishing industry and should be applauded for your support and spending your hard earned dollars on books in a world where we hear no one is reading.
RomCon is proving that people do read and are proud to admit it.
more to report later on...