Well that didn't take long. According to Kate Rothwell's blog some authors were upset by the presence of reviewers and bloggers at this year's RWA conference in Dallas. Instead of doing what I want to do (which is swear a lot), I'd like to explain why I like to go to RWA.
I like going to RWA because they traditionally host a nice event specifically for librarians, and it is professional. As much as I'd love to attend RT to mock the heck out of it - if I wanted to see greased up half-naked men I'd hit Venice Beach. Also, the whole idea of costume balls is so not my thing. So, so, so, not my thing. (Somewhere my sisters have dissolved into a puddle overcome by hysterical giggling)
I tend to fly under the radar at RWA because it's been my experience that some authors (not all of them) get a little uncomfortable around reviewers. So I firmly attend wearing my librarian hat - which is a bit selfish on my part since I get more love that way. I didn't pimp my blog or my reviewing at all - but some authors did recognize me and ask if I was the "Super Librarian." Some I knew because they comment semi-regularly, some I didn't because they lurk. Hey, lurk away! And "hi" to all of you out there. I even had one newbie author (her book is out next year) comment, "You sure like baseball a lot." So it was fun for me to discover that people actual stop by here.
I understand that writer's attend RWA to network and connect with other writers, see their agents/editors. It's business, and I get that. But I don't think the inclusion of a few fans/bloggers/reviewers is going to ruin that atmosphere. Unless RWA decides to host a costume ball or cover model contest - which isn't likely to happen even if Hell freezes over.
I love connecting with readers. Sybil made a comment that I "talk a lot" and I think it was just the sheer pleasure of being around so many women who are just as passionate about romance novels as I am (although they're a heck of a lot more articulate than I am!). Regardless of what some authors think of bloggers/reviewers, we really do love the genre. We're passionate about what we love, and vocal about what we don't. What tends to get lost in all of this is that we do love a lot of books. Kristie spent all week nagging me to death over the great books in my TBR I haven't read yet (too many to name, it's damn embarrassing) and Jane gushed effusively about a historical romance out next year (sorry y'all, you'll just have to wait).
Yes there is fan-oriented stuff out there for romance readers (RT being the largest), but the simple fact is that what RT offers isn't going to appeal to some readers. And that's where RWA can come in. Just because a few reviewers/bloggers are there doesn't mean we're all "frustrated writers who can't hack it." Some of us have no desire to write a romance, but we love reading them, and that's why we go. We want to meet authors. We want to meet editors. We want to talk about romance with the people who love it as much as we do. And we don't want to have to dodge cover model contestants in order to do it.
(And for the record, I had nothing but a wonderful, fabulous time at RWA and met nothing but lovely, adorable people. Write on sisters, write on. In the meantime, I'll keep reading)