So, I'm back from Romantic Times and, whoa, it was a whirlwind of awesome. There were a lot of things that went on but I wanted to talk briefly about a few noteworthy things that I heard while I was there that really showcase the way publishing is changing.
- Romance author Monica Burns and some of her peers have partnered with Barnes & Noble to found Rock It Reads in order to help distinguish quality self-published books. Too many great self-pub gems languish in a market that's swiftly becoming glutted. Here's one way to find the diamonds in the rough. This sort of vetting process was talked about a lot at RT and seems like one way that self-published works will be able to get more recognition since it's nigh impossible to get a review via traditional sites and publications. (There will be a long ranty post on that subject coming, childrens.)
- In order to capitalize on the Fifty Shades of Grey craziness, author Tiffany Reisz, who writes BDSM themed erotica, will be getting her ebook release date for The Siren book one of her Original Sinners series advanced to May 1 instead of July 24th when the hard copies come out. It looks like we're finally seeing a large publisher utilizing the inherent flexibility of digital publishing. Where Harlequin goes, others will follow. (I pre-ordered this. Ms. Reisz is awesome and after talking to her a bit, she's definitely qualified to write very knowledgeably about BDSM. Also, I clearly must support this ebook first release thing! Of course.)
- While the ebook author signing took place separately from the 'real' author signing (that's a stratification I didn't like), there were plenty of authors who were sitting at both. There appears to be a growing subsection of authors who are writing not only for traditional publishing houses like Orbit but also for small press/e-publishers like Samhain. That's awesome for readers who want more of their favorite authors and it's great for writers who want to experiment. I was very pleased to see how crazy busy the ebook signing was.
- At one panel I was listening to Lucienne Diver talk about how a publisher's decision to buy books is driven entirely by what 'book stores will shelve.' Apparently, a book can only be shelved in one place, so a sci-fi romance is either science fiction or it's romance - it cannot be shelved in both. Unless, of course, the publishing house wants to pay for the book stores to do so. The first thought that popped into my head was, "Book stores? Plural? There's really only one at this point." The second thought that popped into my head was, "If we're so limited by the shelf space, why don't we get rid of the fucking shelves?" (And yet people are still damning Amazon for shaking up the trad pub business model. The mind limps.)
There will be more on all of this stuff once it has time to percolate, but I wanted to get it out of my head and onto the page before I passed out. There was definitely a vibe of moving into the future at Romantic Times, though some seem to be holding hard to the past.
I'll also have some panel recaps, author quotage, and pictures up soon!