RWA--The Conference Journey

kaylaby Kayla Perrin

Here I am in NYC, for the RWA conference. Every year I like to see old friends, which is really the highlight for me. Yes, there are editor lunches and publisher parties, but it's seeing my friends that makes the conference for me.

This year, there's been a lot of talk about the changing face of publishing. Within the past 6 months, there have been major stories about authors deciding to self-publish via electronic format, the most high profile of which was Barry Eisler's decision to turn down a $500K advance from St. Martin's Press to self-publish. I know Barry well, so of course talked to him about this decision, and I know J.A. Konrath very well also (he's one of the pioneers in this e-book craze). And while I understand Barry's reasons for deciding to self-publish, I can see that kind of boldness making more sense if you're a midlist author, making so-so advances.

That said, e-books have changed the face of publishing in a major way. One thing I learned from a friend at this conference is that an author I haven't seen for a while, Barbara Freethy, just hit #1 on the New York Times with an e-book that had been published years ago--SUMMER SECRETS. The figure I heard she is making monthly from e-book sales is staggering and makes it clear to me that I should not wait to get started with publishing e-books myself.

With perhaps the exception of Amanda Hocking, someone who had not been previously published and had huge e-book success, and now has a multi-million dollar publishing deal, I think that e-publishing will garner the most success for authors who have already made a name for themselves. Case in point--I have a book that Harlequin decided not to make an offer on. Only it was the third book in a series. And every day since book 2 came out, I have gotten emails asking when the follow-up book to SINGLE MAMA'S GOT MORE DRAMA will be coming out. Two years ago, J.A. Konrath advised me to start e-pubbing, but I would ask all the readers who contacted me if they had an e-reader. Most of them said no. That made me hesitant to publish electronically, because if my readers couldn't read book 3, what would be the point?

But I think that in two years, times have changed. In one year, times have changed significantly. More and more people are getting e-readers, so I know the time is now for me to jump into putting out an e-book--one my readers have asked for for two years!

The RWA conference is of course business, but it's also fun. This year's Harlequin party was held at the prestigious Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, and the theme was "Black and White." It was a ritzy affair that was lots of fun. And of course, the highlight was seeing all the friends I mostly see once a year. This year, as for the past 3 conferences, Harlequin brought back DJ KC to keep the people rocking, and he did an awesome job!

The conference brings unexpected experiences as well. Who did I meet in the lobby bar of the Waldorf-Astoria? An actor who shall remain nameless. He's a character actor, one I recognized immediately--but here's the kicker. Within 60 seconds of this drunk actor meeting me, he point-blank asked me if I would go up to his room and have sex with him. Wearing his big wedding band and all. I took the opportunity to ask him why he would want to cheat, when he has--his words--a stunning wife (and he's not so stunning!). After listening to him, my faith in men was at an all time low.

Then I met up with a former Romantic Times cover model contestant, whom I see at many of the RT conventions but haven't really talked to in a huge way. He is GORGEOUS...face, body, hair. And talking to him, my faith in men was restored. He's an absolutely beautiful soul, inside and out, and clearly is an evolved man. He spoke about past pain, how that helped shape him and create his desire to better himself, and my friend and I were in total awe. Here was a gorgeous man, one who wouldn't just "screw" as many women as possible because for him, love is about giving. Like I said, my faith in men has been restored.

Anyway, that's pretty much it for my condensed RWA conference journey. There were lots of laughs and good times, a little disgust, and then romantic hopefulness. I'm about to head for the airport, and then it's back to my office, back to writing.

And one thing I'm definitely going to be writing is the e-book I want to self-publish. Because the time has clearly come.

Cheers, all!



  1. great post Kayla! I agree - e-books are the way!! :D

    It's an exciting time for authors.



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