a blog for the spur of the moment
Need I say more.
Well, yes, I guess I do. For romance writers RWA is the conference of conferences. It’s almost an entire week and every big player in our industry is there. You can rub shoulders with everyone from Nora Roberts to Kristen Higgins. And I did. Okay, not Nora. But I had a fabulous breakfast with Kristen Higgins!
She’s beautiful, way taller than me, and every inch a lady. (And no, I didn’t take a picture. You’ll just have to take my word for it. I only took pictures at Disney. Next time I’ll do better, I promise.)
That’s the kind of thing that happens at Nationals. You are standing there eating with a friend and meeting new people, and it turns out they know someone famous. And that person joins you for breakfast! Moments like these happen during the entire conference, why? Because romance authors are the nicest authors in our industry. We love to be friendly, give a hand up, and share what we know. Even our biggest stars.
And we have an amazing amount of big stars. They put on workshops and won awards and gave speeches that had me crying. I cried at every speech from first to last. And I became aware of something, sitting in that enormous ballroom, looking at four humongous movie screens along the front wall. (Yes, it’s that big) I realized that romance, is fifty percent of the publishing industry. Fifty percent. And sitting in that room were the people who made that happen. And in my small way, I’m a part of that.
That process started with the first official day of workshops and the first official luncheon. Stephanie Laurens was the keynote speaker and at first it was unclear where Stephanie was going with her speech. It seemed a little dry and focused on the mechanics of publishing. And then, like the writer she is, she hit the midpoint. And her speech began to sink in.
She wasn’t there to talk to Harlequin or to Kensington, or to Avon. Although there definitely was a message in there for all the publishers who are holding on tight to an out-moded form of publishing. She was there to talk to us. The authors. Like she’s done since she was one of the founding members of RWA. This was a reminder that RWA was not formed for the publishers, it was formed for authors by authors and continues to be run by authors. She rocked.
Go read her speech.
I’m not sure if reading it will be as powerful as it was sitting there seeing the speaker moved to tears. Seeing everyone at my table dabbing their eyes and the entire room rising to their feet. (Okay, maybe some of those agents and publishers didn’t stand, but they weren’t at my table.) And when you read that speech maybe you’ll have the same epiphany that I did. That RWA Nationals is not for the workshops on grammar or how to write an action scene, you can get all that online. That it’s not for the pitching and querying appointments, you can get those at any conference. It’s not even for the amazing award ceremony that feels like the Oscars. No, Nationals is for connecting with an industry moved by women like Stephanie Laurens. Women who saw that we could help each other write romance and that if we were to succeed in an industry that didn’t think women could write, didn’t think the readers were important, and didn’t understand the power of romance, we would need each other. And we still do.
Go check out Stephanie Laurens’ speech HERE. Then come back and let me know what you think.