Wednesday, August 09, 2006

RWA Day Four, Part One

Friday, July 28

Best. Party. Ever.

But I'll get to that later.

Mind-numbingly exhausted, I skipped the first session today so I could have a leisurely breakfast (continental breakfast at the Marriott Marquis was incredible--there was actual protein (cheese)!) and return to my room for a brief nap.

At breakfast I met historical author Victoria Bylin, who is up for a Rita award, which is like the Oscar(R) of romance novels. Her son is the bassist in a metal band called Age of Ruin, and she dug the idea of my vampire DJ book. It was refreshing to talk about Bad Company after days of "blah blah Eyes of Crow blah blah Luna blah."

My first workshop was "Breaking Away from the Pack in a Nudist Werewolf World," which was all about how to position yourself in a crowded market, how to set yourself apart from the other authors out there who are writing similar material. A lot of audience members left during the presentation, probably because they thought it would be geared specifically toward the paranormal market, but I thought it was a fantastic, though sobering, discussion.

Call me nuts, but this marketing/PR stuff fascinates me. The idea of doing an actual interview or booksigning makes me go all Blue Velvet Dennis Hopper--
Don't look at me! Don't ever look at me! Mommy!
--but the behind-the-scenes strategizing is almost as fun as the writing itself. Maybe if this writing thing doesn't work out, I'll go into publicity. Then I'll be on the B Ship for sure.

This afternoon my roommate Julia took me to a booksigning by the St. Martin's authors. She let me in on a little secret: they weren't just signing books, they were giving them away. Yes, free books, signed by the authors, to anyone willing to stand in not-so-long lines.

I went into the room and saw a woman who looked like Sherrilyn Kenyon sitting at a table filled with Sherrilyn Kenyon's new book, Unleash the Night. I thought,
That can't be Sherrilyn Kenyon. If it were Sherrilyn Kenyon, the line would be 400 people, not 20. And she would have bodyguards or a clock that would go off, signaling when it was time for the fawning fan in front of her to step aside.
(In case you don't know, she's a mega-NY-Times-bestselling author of vampire books and now historical fantasy under the name Kinley MacGregor).

But it really, really was Sherrilyn Kenyon, and I stood in line and spoke to her and got a "Bite Me!" button and an autographed copy of UTN (which the incompetent bastards at UPS lost when I shipped it home in a box of books--arrrgh! But she said I had great hair, and they can't take that away from me.), and I was happy. She was such a sweetie.

I also got autographed copies of JR Ward's Lover Eternal, Susan Squires's The Burning, and Vicki Lewis Thompson's Talk Nerdy to Me*, all of which made it home in the unopened, uncursed UPS box. All the authors were incredibly nice and generous and real.

Except one. There was a very popular author, a Rita nominee, who, when introduced to a friend of mine (who is not published yet), remarked with one of those pompous British-y accents common among super-rich Yankees like the Hepburns and Roosevelts and poseurs who want to be Hepburns and Roosevelts,
I don't have time to talk to the little people. I'm only here to talk to the big people.
She wasn't joking.

Jerkface**, you know who you are if you're reading this, which I'm sure you're not, because I'm a little person, too. All readers are "little people," and if you keep treating them that way (which I hear you did at your signing, too), soon you won't have any left. And I'm glad you lost the Rita. We cheered extra hard for the person who beat you. And when my friend and I are Big People, we will smile and shake your hand and show you what it means to be truly gracious, like Kenyon and Nora Roberts and 99% of bestselling authors. Right before our bouncers show you the sidewalk. Jerkface.

Well, that's enough for today. The Harlequin party is worth an entry in itself, so stay tuned.

*These might have been at the Bantam signing, not St. Martin's. It's all a blur now.
** Julia's word, not mine. The word that came to my mind would sear my mom's retinas.



You DO have great hair----and great talent. One day you'll stare Jerkface down.


Posted by: Anonymous Anonymous at 8/09/2006 7:51 PM

Oh, but SK has really great hair. And manners. Unlike Jerkface.

Posted by: Blogger Jeri at 8/17/2006 7:23 PM

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