Perspectives from Alisa Krasnostein over at Twelfth Planet Press, after she attended the Romance Writers of Australia annual conference:
Over the weekend I attended the Romance Writers of Australia annual conference which was held in Fremantle, WA this year and titled Riding the Waves. It was my first time at a non SF (and non science) conference and I have to say, my mind was totally blown. It was a completely new and entirely fantastic experience and I think I might be hooked (as I was promised by Peter Ball who also attended).
Alisa details several of the approaches to activities that struck her, from how a catered lunch allowed writers and publishers to mingle naturally, as well as a panel where panelists were audience members at a mock book acquisition meeting.
I don't generally post long extracts like the following out of articles, but Alisa's summary is pertinent:
And, I have to say, SF, we’re doing it wrong. There was so much about how this conference was organised, including the emails that came out before the event (which had information for people who had never attended before on what to expect and how they could fill the time so as not to feel nervous or anxious), that it was advertised as a perfume free event ahead of time was of interest to me (both because it was considerate of others but also, the opposite of the ones I’m used to which need to remind people to shower!). But also, I am so interested in the active community building that was on display and evident by the friendships and by the friendliness. Other people’s success was not sneered at or envied, it was applauded and encouraged. After all, when everyone else looks at you as a group to sneer at, you don’t really need to spend time and energy doing that inside the group, do you? SF has much to learn from this genre – they are on the cutting edge of the digital revolution, they know how to market and sell their work, they know how to take a one book deal into a long spanning career. And I can’t help but think it has a lot to do with the positivity and encouragement within the community.
I got the impression from her review of the event that Romance writers (in general) approach their market as an endless source of reader sales, whereas in the SF realm authors think of it more as a zero-sum game. I'm not saying this is representative of reality - it's just that feeling I get from Alisa's descriptions of RWA members as 'savvy' and willing to share their marketing and sales approaches with their fellow authors. It creates a stronger feeling of community.
Read the whole review here, it's worthwhile: http://girliejones.livejournal.com/1777318.html