Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Community


I went to a Romance Reader’s Luncheon this weekend hosted by HOD’s sister chapter Southern Magic. I had a great time. It was a new experience for me, as normally I’m the one running around trying to run everything, and this time I got to attend as just an ordinary person.

Granted, I knew a lot of the people there—authors who belong to the chapter, guests who attend our luncheon in May, and guest authors who I’ve met at our luncheon or other functions, and it was great to catch up and mingle.

But it was also inspirational for me. There’s the dream of hosting my own table after I sell, of course, but just talking to everyone energized me and my dream. The published authors asked how the submission process was going and gave me lots of rah-rahs (which are sorely needed as we’ve now passed the 1-year mark on a submitted manuscript). Many of the attendees also wanted to talk to me about what I was writing and how it was going, and they really seemed genuinely hopeful about my selling. A couple who will be at the luncheon in May said outright how they want to hear me announce at the luncheon that I’ve made my first sale. (Their mouths to the ed’s ears, right?)

Much needed ego stroking aside, I was also reminded how much I love this genre and the folks who read it and write it. I’ve said this before, but romance readers really are a community. An excited, committed, passionate, caring community. Romance readers are smart, classy folks who know their genre and can talk about it in-depth with an intensity and an insight that makes any literature teacher’s heart glad.

They champion the newly published, encourage the aspiring, challenge the multi-published to take the genre in new, exciting directions, and share the joy of well-told stories with anyone within hearing distance.

And when I say they are caring, I mean it. I was touched by the readers who, on hearing about the recent death of an author’s husband, asked if I would forward letters to that author on their behalf. This writer had touched them with her books, and they wanted to express their condolences at her loss. That’s amazing.

Of course, hanging out with those who do what I want to do is really cool. Writers are neat people. Writers are also readers, which means even if you don’t want to talk writing, you can always talk books—books by somebody else, if necessary. (And no, they’re not offended or mad if you haven’t read their latest.)

So why do you like to hang out with writers (in our case, the aspiring and hopeful, yet unpublished writer)? Do you feel like romance is a community as well as a genre? What do you like best about it?

PC

Angel's winner from yesterday is Karen! Karen, email angel@writingplayground.com to claim your prize. I'll be picking a winner from the comment tail today, so comment early, comment often!

17 comments:

KimW said...

I love to hang out with authors and readers online because of the shared interest we have. I agree that the romance community is built around the nicest people on the net. I've been to a few book signings and met some authors in person, but I was so nervous it took all the fun away. lol

Maureen said...

It is definitely the common interests such as reading and family.

Minna said...

It is most definitely the common interests and the nicest people on the net.

Carol said...

Congrats Karen!

It's fun to talk to authors and find out more about them and the books they write. I've found lots of new books and new authors by going to chats. I've never been to a signing. I hope to do that someday.

Kathy said...

Everyone wants the HEA! Romance books bring the HEA to the table, satisfying readers, giving them what they crave especially when life is throwing a curve or two. Romance also takes readers from time and place to worlds beyond reach enabling readers to experience lives they couldn't possibly imagine. This is why I read romance. This is why I want to write it. Living in a world full of violence, where families are being torn apart, and threats hover over us at all times, romance is escapism. It offers resolution to what may seem like insurmountable odds. As readers we know when we open a book our time will be well spent and a HEA will be waiting to welcome us as we turn the last page. Is it not in our nature to want to relive warm and fuzzy sensations of first love, that first kiss...and embrace?

I couldn't make the luncheon, but like you, PC, I'm constantly humbled by how close the Romance writing community is.

Kathy

Smarty Pants said...

I want a 'table' really badly, yet at the same time, I'm petrified of having one. A whole table of people looking at me. Expecting me to maintain the conversation. Expecting me to be interesting and witty. Odds being they sat there because the table they wanted was full and have no idea who I am or what I write. No pressure. Its a good thing romance folk are so nice or I'd crawl under the table into the fetal position and rock until they left.

SP

krissyinva said...

I love to chat to other readers and authors. My mom reads some romance but not alot, so I like having people to talk about my favorite books, the book I just finished, the one I'm reading now and what I'm reading next. As a reader I am awed by so many authors and they are like movie/rock stars to me, imagine me when I get a reply from a post from my favorite authors. I'm grinning ear to ear. I know that authors are ordinary people with an extraordinary gift that share their talent with us in wonderful books. Other readers often know how it feels when you are so tired because last night you stayed up until 3am because you just couldn't put a book down until it was finished. Ah well better go clean my kitchen before I figure out what I'm reading next!!

Playground Monitor said...

A political candidate in Texas had her 1990 romance novel called porn by her opponent? The Texas RWA chapters made phone calls and were interviewed by newspapers and even Time magazine online. One of their own was being attacked and they defended her.

Brenda Novak runs a charity auction each year for juvenile diabetes, a disease that has affected her family personally. She raises tons of money through the generous help of other romance writers and readers.

Last year a romance writer got cancer and because she was self-employed, had no health insurance. Once again, romance wriers and readers rallied and raised money for her medical costs.

These are just a few examples but if this doesn't describe a community, I don't know what does. These people are as generous with their advice as they are with the money. If I never wrote another word again, I'd want to stay involved in this community because it has some of the nicest people I've ever met.

PM

Angel said...

Why do I hang out with other writers and readers? Because for the first time in my life I feel like someone "gets" this part of me.

Looking back, I see many clues that I was a storyteller from the time I was in my early teens, but instead of recognizing them, I hid them because I was embarrassed.

Not anymore! Finally people who understand about carrying on conversations with your characters in your head. Visualizing scenes to the point that dinner burns. Wanting more than anything for someone to leave you alone so you can escape into a world you or someone else has built.

Yeah, I finally belong!!!!!

Angel

bamabelle said...

Like many of the others, for me it is the sharing of common interests and the sense of community. Romance authors and readers are some of the very best people that I know.

Meljprincess said...

I love hanging out with writers 'cause they're crazy fun! I have a lot of writer friends who e-mail me on a daily basis and without their friendship I'd be lost.

Jennifer Y. said...

Like others have said, I love hanging out with and chatting with authors and readers because of common interests. I love being able to learn more about and discuss one of my favorite things in the world: romance books. I know I won't be looked down upon or criticized for my reading choices.

It is fun talking with authors, aspiring authors, and readers.

Theresa N. said...

The romance folks, writers and readers are really great people. I think we really believe in and want happily everafter for everyone.

KarenG said...

Congratulations to you Karen!

I believe that people who read and write romance have big hearts. Everyone I chat with is just so nice.

CrystalG said...

I agree that it is definitely common interests and a sense of community. I love talking to authors and other readers.

Anonymous said...

I definitely think romance is a community. I've made some wonderful friends online through the genre and romance writers are the most helpful I've come across with advice and support.

catslady said...

congrats Karen!

I agree that common interest gets you here but the nice people keep you here :)

I too would love to go to signings but there just haven't been any that I could get to yet.