Sunday, February 17, 2013

WRR Origns and How It's Different from Other Events

This is from Kimberly and Deborah in answer to spoken and unspoken questions about this event.

I am not alone in asking this question. I'm certainly not alone in the vaguely frustrated tone that often colors that question. 'How do I find more readers?' A couple of months ago, I was online chatting with Kimberly Hunter about that very question. I maintain blogs about my work. I am a professional editor in my genre that keeps me connected to an audience. I've even spent money on advertising now and again. My sales were consistent. My reviews were largely positive. But I had hit a wall with my sales. What had been particularly frustrating was that a book fair that was usually very good for my titles had changed its thrust to such a degree that my usual audience stayed away in droves.

“What does a writer have to do?” I wondered. I was wondering this with Kimberly Hunter late one night while chatting online. We had both been to writers' conventions and conferences. We'd both found them useful, but they were more about authors interacting with industry people more than they were about finding readers. I had even attended really big events like the Romantic Times Booklovers Convention. There wasn't a lot of time to really connect with authors. That would be frustrating for me, considering the expense of going, and I was already frustrated. I speculated that we needed an event at a venue where there was an audience for our books. I was thinking about Gay film festivals where we could have a book fair. I even knew how to sell ebooks at a booth, so this event could work for mainly digital authors as well as those in print. I was being a bit dim about this, because it hadn't dawned on me that the perfect venue was a convention that I had been a part of for two years. The wonderful coordinators at Bent-con gave me a mental smack to remind me that they were a celebration of LGBT themed media. Books were a perfect addition.

They were so very right. The most awesome thing about Bent-con is that it is a great place to interact with the artists present and learn about what they create and look at samples without pressure. It is such a fun environment that I've seen guests stay all day just going from table to table. There is a lot of laughing and the atmosphere is really laid back. I see authors enjoying talking to each other when not talking to readers or comic fans who didn't know they wanted to be readers. This was the primary thing we wanted was for authors in our genre to find new readers. What better place than an event that is all about being gay friendly? It is priced to make it economically feasible for even an indie author to attend with stock to sell. The panels are perks included in that economical price that will cover things we've known authors to be curious about. The special events are for authors to have a lot of fun and let off steam with their readers. I want us all to leave with huge mailing lists and potential reviewers. Maybe indie authors will find a publisher. I hope everyone gets to look at pretty boys and really laugh for a little while.

We are also readers who love a good story. So when these conventions did roll around, it was hard to connect with the authors who made such an impact on us with their work. Most of the time was spent on panels, workshops, or the like. Very little time was made for one on one with the author in a casual setting to just talk shop or talk about anything. Now, I’m not saying these conventions aren’t great or don’t have their place. They do. Authors learn a great deal about their craft at these conventions. But somewhere along the way, the reader was delegated to a day or less to meet and greet their favorite author. Not really fair considering it’s the reader who is buying our books. Who is telling this friend and that relative how much they enjoyed the new they book they bought. That’s why WRR has become so important to us. It’s a chance to not only share our craft and works with fellow authors, but more importantly, to share it with our readers. They are the reason we keep at it. The reason we haven’t given up in this business when so many have thrown in the towel. And they also deserve to meet and greet the authors and pubs they have been buying books from.

As an author, I get a little thrill every time a reader contacts me to tell how much they enjoyed one of my books. It’s a validation of a sort to let me know I got it right and to push to get the next book out. Being at WRR will be further validation when we can meet our readers and fans in person to tell them just how much we appreciate them. It’s a win/win for authors and readers alike.


  1. I am one of those very rare insatiable readers, so I can give you my perspective on this. While readership has grown quite a bit in the last few years authorship has groWn more! Many more have jumped on the writer bandwagon, and we are spoiled for choice. Unfortunately we those of us that read insatiably kiss many frogs before we find our princely authors, but we are so busy reading the next book we don't stop to smell the roses. The times we do share our finds with fellow readers, they invariably say they will add it to their excessively long reading list they never get to.wierdly enough part of my reading addiction is also a shopping addiction. I spend many hours trolling Amazon for my current flavor of choice books. I try not to judge a book by the cover, but it does count. What completely hooks me though is the title, and what sells me is the synopsis. I will never buy a book that has a bad,mor misleading synopsis, and if it just has review lines in the spot where the synopsis should be u can forget it. I honestly do not care that Joe shmo thought it was titilating. I just want to know what it is about. A good hook in the synopsis or blurb is everything, and sells me every time. I am quite stingy about my money, but if the synopsis hooks me I will spend my hard earned money on that book every time.

  2. Is there a link to the Bent-con site where I can learn about the con as a whole and get registration & schedule info? Thanks.