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Wednesday, July 18, 2007

A Conflict of Interest?

Blogs are abuzzin' about RWA's national conference this past week. Yes, there's that whole Epubs-are-vanity-presses thing, but I'm not tackling that issue at the moment. I'm taking a look at the presence of bloggers/readers at the conference.

First, let me state I've NEVER attended RWA's national conference, so I have no firsthand knowledge of what goes on during the conference. I gather there are lots of writing workshops. An awards ceremony. And a bookfair.

Kate Rothwell has a very interesting post about RWA. Evidently, there were attending writers who felt uncomfortable about a couple of issues.

1. The attendance of readers, bloggers, reviewers, etc.

2. Writers dressing up as characters from their books during certain events.

Personally, as an author who has worn head-to-toe feathers at RT, I think the costume idea is very cool. I'd do it, and I'm not a svelte twenty-something. I choose my costumes carefully--hide the bad stuff and emphasize the good. Will it lead to publishers only signing hot little size 0 authors willing to stomp around a conference in thigh-highs and miniskirts? I doubt it. But will it (perhaps) give those daring authors an edge at a book fair? I imagine it might get them noticed. But will those short skirts help them sell books?

From Kate's blog:

But the promo thing...the bar is creeping up, ya know?

Show us what you can do and be for your books, publishers ask. Not just show us what you can write. Heck, what if something like those thigh-highs were your personal nightmare? That mean you couldn't write for the line? No, no, I don't mean Shomi, says Kate, nervous about getting herself banned from Dorchester. I'm just talking about some vague Future Publisher who starts to take it corporate instead of just individual fun. /end of my own mini-rant updated: It wasn't a publisher thing, okay? See Marianne's post in the comments section. (But some day it might be a publisher thing, right? Huh? Skeered yet? boo!!!! No?BOO!!! Now?)

And as far as non-writers attending...I say welcome them. Sure, RWA national could slowly evolve into something more reader-oriented if more readers and reviewers were to attend. But does that mean attending authors would lose something? Like I said, I've never been, so I'm asking an honest question.

Another quote from Kate's blog:

I just think the two should be kept separate. You want to have a time for authors to meet the press (or reviewers)—like the librarians thing or the booksellers thing, great. But being a part of everything just didn’t seem appropriate to me. Like a conflict of interest. It’s our conference and a time for us to discuss our industry. Just made me kind of uncomfortable. Of course, maybe those people were just there—not really attending the conference. In which case they can do whatever they want. They were just SO visible.

I'd love to hear any/all opinions.

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posted by Tawny Taylor at 8:53 AM |


Commented by Blogger Barbara V:

I agree that this is a conference for writers a great opportunity to enrich their knowledge and meet others on the field. However it is also a great opportunity for readers to meet their favorite writers in person

2:56 PM 

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