By Maria Ferrer
493 authors participated in the RWA’s 2011 Readers for Life Literacy Autographing on Tuesday, June 28, at New York’s Marriott Marquis Hotel.
I was happy to see many of RWANYC’s own members signing, like C.H. Admirand, Thea Devine, Anna DePalo, Anne Elizabeth, Shirley Hailstock, Kathleen O’Reilly and Lisa Verge. (If I left anyone out, please forgive me and let me know so I can add you here.) I also ran into a lot of “old” RWANYC members, and it was great to catch up a bit and swap business cards.
I wasn’t able to get into the conference, as they were sold out even before the end of the “early bird special.” But I wanted to be a part of the event so I volunteered to help setup the literacy autographing. I set out books, books and more books; organized some of the chapter baskets/totes for the raffle; put out the RITA finalist banners, etc. At 5:00pm, authors started arriving to find their seats and put their own touches to their seats – pens, bookmarks, posters to name a few. At 5:30pm, the doors opened to the 2000+ romance fans waiting outside, which comprised of RWA members, conference attendees and the general public.
And then organized chaos reigned. Just look at the pictures if you don’t believe me.
And this was not even half the people on line. The first person on line arrived at 9:30am for the 5:30pm event. Is that a Romance Fan or what?!
There were a lot of “wall” flowers, and not just mid-list authors. I saw a few RITA Finalists who didn’t sell a single book. A lot of people were there to see the A list, i.e., Sherrilyn Kenyon, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Meg Cabot, Diana Gabaldon, Nalini Singh, etc. Nora Roberts was not there this year. I’m sure that was one of the reasons there were not more fans on line.
Some wall flower-authors looked sad. Others took advantage of the evening and passed out their bookmarks, pens and chatted with whoever passed in front of them.
One big lesson I learned from watching the authors is to be prepared with lots of promotional materials. Remember, that writing is a business, and you are your own Publicist. So an author needs to put herself out there and make her materials stand out.
Here are some promotional materials I saw:
--bookmarks -- most authors had these
--candy – chocolate was king!
--postcards or flyers for new or next book
--giveaways, like tshirts, hats and mini book excerpts
Best promotion I saw – this husband’s tshirt: He claims he was the inspiration for pages 274-277!
Best promoter – Caridad Pineiro. Boy, was she prepared. She had bookmarks, pens, flyers, excerpts, a banner for the table skirt and her laptop to run her book trailer. The video stopped people in their tracks and generated a few sales, and isn’t that the name of the game – to sell?
At the end of the evening, authors were ready to stop writing and start partying; Readers were ready to start reading; and RWA raised $47,000 for literacy. Next year, RWA’s National Conference will be in Anaheim, CA. RWA is not returning to New York until 2015, which will be here before you know it. Hopefully, I will be able to get into the conference that year and be one of the authors at the literacy autographing.
Until then, Happy Writing, Happy Reading.♥
Maria Ferrer writes erotica under the pen name of Del Carmen. Her story, “Ride a Cowboy” is part of the WOMEN IN LUST anthology being released November 2011 from Cleis Press. Visit her at http://www.mydelcarmen.blogspot.com/.