One thing there's a lot of at reading/writing conferences is swag, or all those free giveaways. RomCon was no different. Everything from business cards to bookmarks to notepads to pens to postcards to excerpt booklets. Plus the slightly more unusual: a tape measure, luggage tag, and a gizmo I had to Google to discover it's actual use.
And of course, there are books
Sunday morning, I opted to go to a discussion group run the by The Book Reading Gals. Although it was designed as a place where readers could discuss their favorite books, authors, genres (and pet peeves), authors were allowed to attend. After all, we probably read a lot more books than we write.
The "consensus" was that there is no consensus. Readers like all genres, and they want to love the characters. Some have burned out on vampires and shifters, others will keep reading. Likewise historicals and time travel. One question came up: did readers like to see heroes moving forward or backward in time, and the same for the heroines.
There was discussion as to whether a modern-day man would have any of the skills required in a world where he would be required to hunt his own food and defend himself with the weapons of the day.
Another question was how much accuracy a reader demanded before dismissing a book. Some were willing to accept liberties with details, especially historical ones if they weren't too blatant and if the story worked. And, of course, a lot depends on the reader's knowledge of the times.
Historicals aren't the only places where readers prefer accuracy. One attendee pointed out that a Very Big Name Famous Best Selling Romance Author set a book in Oregon and had the characters pumping their own gas. This is against the law in Oregon, but is probably not something anyone who hasn't tried to fill their own tank at an Oregon gas station would know. (I'm proud to say that I knew this and actually used this bit of information in a scene from my upcoming ROOTED IN DANGER!)
Oh -- did I mention that at romance reader conventions, there are usually at least a few hunks, happy to pose for pictures with readers. (note: only 1 of the guys is cardboard)
After the Readers Crown Brunch, where they announced this year's winners, there was the RomCon Rumble. Since the closing of Borders meant there couldn't be a book signing, the RomCon organizers came up with a kind of meet the author/speed dating. Each author was given a stack of trading cards featuring one cover, and could also give away any other swag they wanted. Attendees were to visit an author's table to chat, and every three minutes a whistle blew and they'd move on.
Now, unlike many of the bigger publishing houses, my publishers don't give me boxes of books to hand out. I did have about a dozen books I gave away to people who stopped by my table to chat. One of the ways I decided to select who'd get a book was to write a note on the back of a few of my trading cards. Let me say that there are still two people out there somewhere who could have had a free book had they flipped the card over!
So – anyone want any of my excess swag? Check the Deals and Steals tab.
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