First, big news! And it’s about a writer – well – I am just such a HUGE fan! I’m all fangirl about it!
Friday Rachel Caine will blog here! Whoowhoo!
Keep an eye out!
Ahem. (resuming some form of unruffled writerly tranquility.) And on with my own blog.
We have talked here at MagicalWords.Net often about how life (books, family, agents, editors, manatees, funerals, grief, illness, birds in the bushes, photography, dancing, etc) affect and guide our writing. We’ve also discussed how small events can make a difference in our writing futures on the business end. I’d like to share one such possibly-future-changing-event with you, one that came at me because I took a chance on… (grinning here) on romance.
My AKA went to the Romantic Times Award Ceremony on April 24. She won an award for one of her mystery novels. (Big deal. Fantasy writer shrugs.) Anyway… The ceremony was fine (been to lots of award events over the years and they vary only in terms of media and glitz) and the AKA accepted the award, looking like a moon struck dope or a moose in the headlights. (The stage lights were really bright.) I have to say she was really nervous. It was sorta cute. (Do I sound schizoid?)
Then I had dinner with my fantasy agent, Lucienne Diver (note her blog here at MagicalWords.Net last week). Lucienne invited me to dinner with the agency founder Deirdre Knight, and Sue Grimshaw, and her, and about 10 other writers. All romance writers. Here is where I took a chance on romance.
I don’t write romance. My old writing group can tell you how much I don’t write romance. What was it Yoda said? Something like, “Try? There is no try. There is only do.” Or something like that. Well – I tried. I didn’t. Maybe someday. (Maybe it takes experience and looking back through thick, rose-colored glasses. With my family vision history I’ll be wearing them soon enough. Inner editor said not to put that in. But I can’t help it.)
The romance writers at the Knight Agency dinner were totally delightful. They were vivacious, interested in each other’s careers, mostly young and all fun. There were a lot of pitchers and bottles and tapas enough to gain 10 pounds on. And there was a lot of talk about the romance market. Because…
Sue Grimshaw is the buyer for the romance lines at Barnes and Noble. No! Wait! Gah! I am a doofus. With BORDERS! ( Slaps own head.) This why I should never be allowed near the Internet. Borders. Yeah. What a coup for the Knight Agency to snag her for their writers. Sue totally loves writing and writers. It was weird to be with her and see her work the romance writing crowd. She not only knows the books and the trends, she knows the writers. Really. She knows their work, how they think and what they need to do to improve their sales and careers. She even gave advice to them on settings that might be better then current ones, and other important things they can do to improves sales. It was lovely seeing her work the small crowd over tapas and drinks. Lots of drinks…. Oy.
We changed seats so every single writer had time to sit with her and pitch books and visit and get advice. My pocketbook ended up on the other side of the table on someone else’s chair because I was last in line. Well – hey – I don’t write romance. I was distinctly uncomfortable at my turn. So was Sue. She turned to me and *apologized*! She said, “Gwen (my AKA is named Gwen so she wasn’t being strange.) I am so sorry. I don’t know your work. Are you with a small press?”
Gwen sighed and said, “No I’m with Mira. But I write mystery and thrillers and Mira was an unfortunate choice for me as publisher.”
Sue said, “Ouch. Yes, That would be unfortunate. They do much better with romantic suspense.”
Gwen said, “But I am now writing Urban Fantasy under the name Faith Hunter with ROC.”
And the sweetest thing happened. The romance writer across the table reached into my bag and pulled out my cover for Skinwalker and handed it to Sue. And winked at me. I didn’t even know this writer. And she helped me out! Sue loved the cover, read the cover copy and asked me to sign it for the fantasy buyer for Borders. Will it make it there? Don’t know. But it was really cool.
I took a chance on romance and lived to tell the tale. And maybe got some good exposure for my fantasy persona. Too cool!
And most important for all us writers: Sue said the numbers in the chain for romance and fantasy sales were phenomenal for the month of April. She said it was amazing how well books have rebounded during the financial crisis. And hey – during the health crisis they will be even better. Books and TV and DVDs by mail. Perfect for the Swine Flu!