Meeting readers can sometimes be awkward for writers, many of whom are naturally reticent about promoting themselves. After all, who wants to walk up to a stranger and say, “Hi, I’m Becky and I write romantic suspense. Here, buy my book.” This past weekend I attended RomCon 2012 in Denver, a real fanfest for readers and writers of romance. It was wonderful to chat with fellow authors, but it also provided an excellent opportunity to visit with readers and fans of romance.
One of my favorite events was a session called Speed Dating. The authors were placed at tables and then the readers came by and spent two minutes chatting before switching tables. At first I was a little apprehensive. I was going to talk to stranger after stranger for how long? Two minutes? That sounded like an eternity. But what fun it turned out to be for people on both sides of the table. Here was an opening to simply chat! It gave the readers an opportunity to be introduced to writers they might not normally read and it gave writers the occasion to reach new readers.
Once I get over my initial fears, I’ve usually found that talking with readers can be beneficial in more ways than simply promoting my books. I’ve seldom walked away from an encounter without learning something, usually that I can use in my writing or in my writing classes. This adventure proved to be both enjoyable as well as educational.
What I liked was that instead of the rushed atmosphere around a book signing or the hit or miss cocktail party where both sides are looking around the room to see who else is there, this gave both reader and writer the chance to talk and listen.
One thing that hit me as I spoke with various readers, asking what they read and what they liked about romantic suspense was how many read in so many different genres. Some had started out reading historical but then found they also like a touch of suspense in them too. Others said they had begun reading suspense and then decided they also enjoyed historical, but now they were turning to fantasy and paranormal. Several were caught up by my story line and decided they wanted to give romantic suspense a try.
And boy, did they love to read! One woman told me she travels in her job and she is never without a book at the airport or for her hotel room, sometimes reading up to five books a week. I found several others who were very similar, starting a new book as soon as they finished one. One young reader told me she keeps different books in different places, in her car, at her office, and one for the bedroom.
Of course, they also liked reading about new places. My latest romantic suspense books, Shadows from the Past and Deadly Messages, were set in the Northwest and I had several readers tell me how excited they were to read them because they had never been there.
If I ever get a chance to try that speed dating with readers again, you can bet I will do it again. As several of us noted when we were told time was up — two minutes proved to be too short!
About the Author:
Becky Martinez writes romantic suspense under the pseudonym of Rebecca Grace. Visit her website at www.RebeccaGrace.com. She is an award winning former broadcast journalist who has turned to writing romance, romantic suspense and mystery. She also teaches writing classes and was co-author of the book, Ten Steps to Creating Memorable Characters. Becky’s newest romantic suspense novella is Shadows From the Past.
When Stacey Moreno goes looking for answers to a friend’s death at spooky Redfern Manor, she finds more trouble than she could ever have imagined. First, there’s her sexy, mysterious new boss, Mack Warren, who appears to be in love with a ghost. From the moment they meet, the sparks fly, but Mack is looking for escape, not romance. And then there are the strange noises and events that keep everyone at the Manor on their toes.
Stacey is no super heroine like the cartoon character she draws, but she may have to become one to survive the secrets… and suspects… of Redfern Manor. How can she save them all from those shadows from the past that are threatening to destroy the future?
Available now from www.thewildrosepress.com.