Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Why Authors and Readers Need Conferences!

Ever since I made the crazy decision to organize a romance conference in Ottawa next April, the most common question I get is "Why?" Why did I go insane? Why did I think we needed a convention? Why on earth should authors and readers attend?

I'll tell you why. To have fun.

Too often, authors get stuck behind their desk, tapping away at their keyboards, letting their muse drive them and with deadlines stressing them out. We often forget what time it is or even the day of the week when we're determined to reach a goal or finish a scene. Writing can be a very solitary job. Yes, we interact with people on social media, and we have editors and beta readers, BUT, when it comes to real contact, face to face with humans (not our imagination), we often neglect that part. This is where a conference can help.

Now there are two kinds of conferences, those that deal with improving your skills and networking with other authors. I've never been to one of those, so I can't comment on it, but the other type, a conference where you get to meet readers? Well, I've done a few now and all I have to say is they are awesome.

There is something utterly mind blowing about the first time a reader approaches you and says the magic words, "I read your book." It takes you aback and stuns you, or at least it did in my case. It was a jaw dropping moment where I was like, "Uh, you did?" Sure, I'd gotten emails and Facebook posts saying the same thing, but I'll tell you something it's just not the same as that face to face meeting. Some people might say it's an ego trip, and yes, you'd be right. It is. But, at the same time, I'll tell you, that sometimes that ego stroking is needed.

Writing is hard work. Writing can be lonely. Often times, friend and family around us don't grasp what we do. Especially for those of us who write romance ("You write what?!") But readers get what we do. Readers appreciate the fact we plop our butts in to a chair X amount of hours a week, typing until our hands cramp or our legs go numb. They'll tell you they loved Hero Z and how he made them swoon. They'll gush over the romance of Book Y, or they'll laugh again as they tell you their favorite part in Book C. It's incredible to be able to share a moment with people who know our worlds, who know our characters.

And then, there's meeting other authors, people just like me who worry about market trends. Who wonder if their next story will sink or soar. Who fear writer's block. All of a sudden you start talking, and you realize you're not alone in your doubts and tribulations. You can talk shop with someone who doesn't get a blank look in their eyes wondering what you mean when you talk about those damned commas, or how your epub failed authentication.

Conferences refresh me. I laugh. I talk. I play games. I lose my voice. And yes, it does cost me financially, but I need them I've discovered. I need that time away from my desk meeting like minded people and having a blast doing it. I need that feel good moment with readers. I need that bonding moment with my peers. I need a break. And this is why I'm organizing a conference. To give other authors and readers, this time north of the border, a chance to experience the same thing.

I hope you'll join me, and the others who've signed on next April. Come talk and play with us. I'd love to meet you. But I warn you, if you do come, prepare for cheek cracking smiles, awesome memories and a bag full of gifts!And authors, don't be surprised if you go home with an extra skip in your steps, and a muse all revved up and ready to go.
Cover Puzzles. It's a game I plan to play with readers, and the best part? You get to keep them after we play.
This is an example of some of the swag, I've given out at conferences. Awesome, eh?
I love meeting fans and getting goofy with them lol.
More swag. Did I mention you won't go home empty handed?
Meeting that fan you've been talking with on Facebook for years? Awesome!
Interacting with other authors who understand your dilemma when it comes to creating believable shapeshifters? Fabulous. (PS, that's Milly Taiden!)
So I don't know if I've convinced your or not to come to Romancing the Capital, but just in case you're thinking of it, check it out.

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