I was asked if I was going to do a blog on my experience at the Gay Romance Northwest Meet up on Saturday and I had to ponder what I might want to say about the event.
Since I am relatively new to the lesbian fiction world as an author, I am still learning all the ins and outs. This conference was a bit of an eye-opener for me.
I decided to attend the conference because it was so close – only about 75 miles from my house in Cle Elum. I didn’t know what to expect, so I schlepped a box full of books, t-shirts, postcards, and a poster to take to the book sale event. There were a total of fifty authors at the event. I was delighted to be amongst the other authors.
I sat across from Radcliffe, who was so gracious earlier when I asked her to sign my program. Have I mentioned that I am a huge fan of hers. I have every single book she has written so far.
I was two doors down (two seats away) from Andi Marquette, another favorite author of mine and we got a chance to chat as we waited for the readers to stroll by our table. Andi was absolutely hysterical, adorable, charming (you get the picture) as she selflessly walked around trying to get the readers to notice Kate, another lesbian author and I. I’d heard of Ten Little Lesbians, so I promptly bought Kate’s book. RG Emanuelle bounced over to our table from her spot around the corner and we all had a chance to socialize and have a good time during the two hour book sale/signing. While I was leaving I ran into Karelia Stetz-Waters who was so sweet and bought my book. She’d sold all her books or I’d have gotten the paperback version of one of hers. Now I get to look her up and get her e-books because she sounded like my kind of writer.
So why was this conference an eye-opener for me? When I first sat down in the audience, I noticed that it was mostly women. I thought to myself, awesome, maybe there was an equal amount of lesbian fiction and the conference would not be overpowered by m/m romance (not that there is anything wrong with m/m romance, it’s just not what I generally tend to read). Boy was I wrong. Apparently a lot of straight women love m/m romances. Who knew?
Sorry if I am politically incorrect with my terminology (straight, lesbian, etc), but I just learned the terminology straight-identified and I thought it would be disingenuous to use a term that I’d not heard before. Is lesbian-identified the correct terminology as well? I think I’ve been living in rural Washington far too long…
A few women stopped by our table and wanted to know where the f/f romance books were because it seemed that most of the authors wrote m/m books. We were happy to let them know about our books.
Although there were not a lot of readers who were looking for our genre, I decided I would probably return next year. Why? Because the opening speakers were outstanding. The panels were very educational. Finally, I had a great time talking to the other f/f authors.
I agreed with some of the thoughts about how to make lesbian romance more visible and here is where the three Rs are relevant. We need to: Read, Rite (yes I know it’s spelled write – work with me people), and Review lesbian fiction. There are so many great books out there now. I used to have a hard time finding my next novel, but now I have a very long cue. Take the time to review a book you enjoyed. Authors need to keep producing those great books. Readers need to tell other readers about those wonderful lesbian romance novels you’ve read.
I’m not even going to share my usual commercial break about my books because I think by now you know where to find me. Happy reading, writing and reviewing!
3 thoughts on “GRNW and The Three Rs”
Radclyffe is a very sweet woman, she has taken her time in Ptown during Women’s Week in the past to sign books and talk about upcoming books. Andi Marquette has some good books out there too. I never read Stetz-Waters I’m going to have to right that wrong immediately . Yet another great blog. Waiting patiently for your next book to come out.
You discovered some things at the conference that echo some things I’ve found and that I wrote in a blog post back in August “Why Lesbian Fiction Will Change Your Life”. You’re not alone in discovering that the market for lesbian themed fiction is very skewed toward only lesbian readers while M/M fiction has a wide audience that is predominately straight and female. There’s a lot of speculation on why that is but no definitive answer.
The best we can do as writers is to keep putting good stuff out there and promote it like crazy. Someday, hopefully, the world may catch on!
I noticed the same thing in the book-selling room. I didn’t get a chance to do my own walk-around until people were already packing up, but I don’t think I noticed and other lesbian books beyond the folks you mentioned (and me, of course). On the other hand, there seemed to be a larger proportion of readers there who were interested in finding lesbian books than I was expecting. So there’s that.