Smart Bitches, Trashy Books, a blog which was founded to prove that smart women do read romance, did an excellent wrap up of the RT Booklovers Convention. It was right on target, from the misperceptions about the genre in general, as well as this specific convention in particular, to the unprecedented media coverage of the RT event last week in Chicago thanks to that book which shall not be named. The continued top seller status of “Voldabook”, as we have begun calling it in my circles, meant there were TV crews there from CNBC and NBC Dateline perpetuating the long standing myths of the romance industry and even creating new ones. I.E., no Voldabook did not reignite the erotica industry and the eReader did not save it. What did happen is that technology finally caught up with consumer demand. eReader devices got better and cheaper and made it economically feasible for shorter works to be published, for publishers to take a chance on unknown authors or new and different cutting edge sub-genres, and for authors to self-publish. That all means that a romance reader has more choices, for less money, than ever before in history. It’s not that they can “hide” what embarrassing materials they’re reading, because there have always been decorative book covers that did that very effectively for paperbacks for years, if that was the goal.
Now that the RT dust has settled and my fun blog wrap-ups have been posted, I can get down to reality and post what really happens at RT. As Sarah on Smart Bitches mentions, though I can fault the CNBC piece for crediting THAT book with reigniting the industry in one breath while saying how the RT convention has been happening for decades in the next, and for finding and interviewing one of the small handful of (unknown) male erotica authors at a convention where there were easily hundreds of female authors, some making $1 million a year selling erotica, we really can’t fault CNBC for stripping the 4 male cover models that were actually at the convention and putting them on camera, because sex sells.
Want to know the reality? Part of that CNBC piece was filmed in the lobby at 6 a.m. the morning following the Ellora’s Cave party (which want late into the night). That scene was staged. Those authors milling around the hotel lobby with shirtless male models would not have been there at the crack of dawn otherwise. In reality, those models would have been in the hotel gym in tank tops working out before the start of another long day and night. The B-roll of the dancers and party were shot the night before at the EC party.
Yes, there are models (though one tenth of the number there used to be before the death of the Mr. Romance competition), and there are costumes, and fun and games and drinking and hanging in the lobby bar, but much like high dollar deals are so often made by men on the golf course, there’s that at RT too. I came home with a list of 15 items to do, a document with notes regarding ATF agents and bomb-sniffing dogs and another document full of notes I took at the Mark Coker (Smashwords) session with 11 points on how to top the best seller lists. My to do items included following up with the publicist from Kensington I met at the Kensington party, to send her promo materials to start getting some media attention for my book which doesn’t release until April 2013. It including items discussed at lunch with my editor at Kensington that I need to take care of now, again for that new release a year down the road. It included to do items from a discussion I had with the Samhain author liaison in the bar, to email my Samhain editor regarding my next bull rider series book release. On my list is the session I need to pitch to the RT organizers for next years convention in Kansas City in May 2013, and items to follow up with fellow Western authors regarding a reader event we may try to plan for one of the smaller cons happening later this year. On there was how I need to follow up with cover artists for my self-pubbed backlist, and how I needed to send follow up emails to some of the authors I had discussed a possible collaboration with.
So yes, I did post pictures of me in costume with two shirtless cover models holding big swords while wearing kilts, because readers most likely don’t care about my To Do list, or that this RT was the most productive to date for me professionally. But as CNBC and I both know, sex sells.