|Me at one of the (many) book signings|
Even with my irresponsible behavior, I did pick up on quite a few things that are buzzing about the industry, and I thought I'd share three of the most interesting panels I attended.
One panel I found particularly cool was on diversity in romance, and not just diversity on the page, but diversity in authors. One thing that that that was pointed out is that authors of color are still being relegated to a separate section inside bookstores. Another amazing author, Farrah Rochon (who's also a lovely lady in person) called it a remaining bastion of segregation. She's tired of being shelved in the "black" section and wants to see her books where they belong, right along side all the other romances. Next time I'm in a bookstore, I'm going to look and see how they're shelving things and point it out to management if they're segregating by race. The whole panel was an eye-opening experience, and I only made it to one of the three diversity panels RWA hosted!
I went to another fascinating panel on writing with ADHD. I've never been diagnosed with it--I've never talked to a doctor in an attempt to be diagnosed--but I share a lot of traits with the ADHD brain, like fidgeting, easy distractability, finding large tasks overwhelming, and trouble making decisions and setting priorities (I've nearly broken down crying in the grocery store over which can of tuna to buy; it's pretty hilarious to watch me shop). But regardless of my condition or lack thereof, the suggestions were super helpful. My favorites were (1) write a Post-It note of whatever you're (supposed to be) working on at the moment, so that when you get distracted you know what to get back to (2) create transition plans for changing activities so that your brain doesn't have to quick-switch from one thing to the next and (3) break larger tasks down into miniature goals so each success gives you a burst of serotonin, the happy hormone, making it more likely you'll accomplish more.
Finally, I made it to a panel in romance trends. Contemporary still seems to be ruling the market, particularly sports heroes and motorcycle clubs. Billionaires as still big but possibly on the downslide. They think Romantic Suspense is coming back, at least somewhat. In e-books, novellas are gaining popularity as more people are looking for quick reads. They mentioned that diversity is on the rise, but not like a trend, more like more people are getting a voice, which made a nice dovetail with the first panel I went to.
Overall, it was a great conference and I had a wonderful time! Do you think they were right on current trends? Did any of you go to RWA and pick up any other interesting nuggets?