Tuesday, 19 August 2014

2014 Romance Writers of NZ Annual Conference

2014 Romance Writers of NZ Annual Conference  - 14th - 17th August

Damn old age! It took me a couple of days to recuperate after a fantastic weekend at the Romance Writers of NZ Conference at the Waipuna Conference Centre in Auckland. I was so very happy to be back at this great venue. So easy to get to, free parking, wonderful rooms and conference rooms, a quiet oasis in the city. An altogether beautiful spot beside a small 'lake' in the Panmure Basin.

Congratulations to Lizzi Tremayne for winning the Pacific Hearts Award for a completed novel by an unpublished author, and to Sheryl Buchanan who came 2nd. Both are in the Coast to Coast (Central Nth Island) Chapter and we are very proud of their successes. Success in this competition can often be the breakthrough that takes an author to the next level of their career.
Congratulations to all the winners in other categories and competitions also. I'm sure a complete list will be on the RWNZ website.
This was the 21st (or 22nd??) annual conference and I have only missed a few of them over the years. This one had a huge focus on e-publishing and 'indie' authors, those publishing independently on Amazon or similar sites. It is very interesting to look back to when e-books were first appearing and how skeptical most of us were. Nothing could replace a 'real' book in our hands!
One of the main speakers this year was Jim Azevedo of Smashwords, a huge distributor of e-books based in USA and he had some graphs that firmly established e-books as a force to be reckoned with in the world of literature today. And yes, I'm just as likely to be found reading from my Kindle as from a paperback now too!
In 2008 fiction e-book sales accounted for 0.5% of fiction book sales in the USA (in monetary terms, and bear in mind e-books are generally much cheaper than paper!) and in 2013 they reached 35%. It's not difficult to work out where that graph is headed.
The keynote speakers and break-out workshops were hugely informative for this techno-phobe and I have come home with a much greater understanding of the industry and more importantly, its marketing strategies.
I'd also like to point out to those of you out there who consider romance novels 'trash' that this genre far outstrips any other in the market place! Cos, let's face it, no matter how much more important you might consider business publications, non-fiction, and literary fiction, it's Romance that makes the world go round!
Thank you to the Conference Committee, to RWNZ Executive and to the awesome line-up of international and local speakers and workshop presenters. You'd think I'd be hard to 'wow' after so many years of conferences but this one certainly had the Wow Factor for me.
Now to finish the first draft of Crystal Dancer, and get on with plotting 'Marked for the Duke', a regency romantica, which I plan to write for NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), the great November Writing challenge that makes us write 50,000 words in a month. I did it 2 years ago. Should be easier this year then - eh? Watch this space!