My writers' group, the Romance Writers of Atlantic Canada, wrapped up our second appearance at the Word on the Street book festival this past weekend.
This was taken last year at our first Word on the Street.
We knew that our sister chapter, Toronto Romance Writers, had been taking part in Word on the Street Toronto for a few years, so our chapter decided to wade into the local literary scene.
It felt like a risk from our chapter's standpoint, as many festival goers would be fans of general literature and that set us up for those comments that romance writers get on a regular basis. You know the ones: we all write to a formula, we don't write real books, we write for depressed housewives, etc.
What we found, however, was the surprise and delight by local readers that romance writers actually live amongst us, not only in New York or Los Angeles.
That's my husband and I at last year's Word on the Street opening reception. I had my own table at the festival, and my group had our table right behind mine. I wore two hats at last year's reception -- Writer Me and my Group's Representative Me. I discovered as I networked that other writers were also delighted to learn there was a thriving romance writing community right here.
This year I was joined at the opening reception by Jennie Marsland and Donna Alward. I made an immediate connection to local journalist and author Janice Landry, who again was happy to discover that romance is written by local authors. She sought us out the following day at our table.
With our chapter president Taryn Blackthorne
Why is it important to reach out to your local writing community?
Just as romance readers will auto-buy anything by their favorite authors, once people from your community know that you live right here, they too will auto-buy anything you release from a sense of excitement that you're not 'from away', but that these stories were written perhaps at the local coffee shop. The shop-local passion isn't just for apples or wine.
Connecting with local readers has been a joy for our group.
Try contacting your local community and taking part in events that take you out of the romance world and into the general reading world of your own city or town. We have found it to be very rewarding.
Have you taken part in local reading or writing community events?