by Raelene Gorlinsky
Several weeks ago I was at the Fun in the Sun conference put on by the Florida Romance Writers. This was one of the most relaxing conferences I've attended. There was so much time for casual conversation, general schmoozing! That networking can be one of the best benefits of a writer conference.
Aleka Nakis did an incredible job of organizing the conference, making sure everything ran smoothly. I am in awe of how much she had to organize and manage. My special thanks also go to Lyn Armstrong, who picked me up from the airport, shuttled me around, took me to lunch, and generally made me feel very welcome.
The attendees were incredibly friendly and talkative, great people to be with. I loved my meal companions, including the lovely lady who told me how sweet I was. And then there was the multipublished romance and mystery author who seemed completely stunned and flattered when I mentioned that I read her books. Hey, don't be so modest, lots of us are appreciating them in order for you to be getting those nice sales figures. And I always enjoy hearing author pitches, including the "informal" ones.
This conference was especially good for me from the perspective of interactions with editors and agents. Boy, get a group of us together and talking, and it can be eye-opening for authors and aspiring authors. The editor/agent panel turned into some enlightening discussions amongst those of us on the panel, which I hope was insightful for the attendees. (Plus I learned fun facts about everyone else and added a few books to my TBB list.)
Then there was the casual lunch gathering where all us editors were giving poor Adam Wilson from Harlequin our opinions on the titles and covers of Harlequin category stories. He took it in very good spirits and even contributed some of his favorites. I knew that Harlequin does studies comparing title words and sales figures, and now I've learned that Billionaire title books actually do sell better than Milliionaires.
Holly Root of the Waxman Agency was an entertaining and personable dinner companion, knowledgeable about the business, lots of funny stories. It was a great pleasure for me to chat with other e-publishers about our business -- Rhonda Penders of The Wild Rose Press and Jessica Berry and Leigh Collett (oh dear, I'm so bad with names--do I have the right person?) of Resplendence Publishing.
Oh, and did I mention that this conference took place on the Navigator of the Seas, a Royal Caribbean cruise ship?