Thursday was Author Afternoon at HarperCollins/Harlequin. I caught the train up in time for that. And being on public transport, and not checking in right away, I had to pack light. As I told my roomie, I packed like a man," which isn't what conference is about! Conference is multiple events, many clothes, lots of shoes, and bling. My day pack was my bag, what didn't fit, couldn't come. It was tough! I'd already decided not to do the extra events because the socialising is what kills me, so no need for bling and extra shoes. Minimal toiletries, clothes and 'working' gear (notebook, pens, ipad, phone). That's all that came.
Author Afternoon was perfect. A heap of behind-the-scenes information given to us showing what our publisher does, that we often don't think about. And information about the fabulous ROMANCE.COM.AU Check it out if you haven't already!
Friday at the conference there was a choice of two sessions...and I opted out.I had a couple of things to do with the publisher and otherwise a free day. Pure Bliss. I wrote! I went down to Circular Quay for breakfast and wrote. Then I went to the Botanical Gardens and wrote. To have time without interruption was the best.
Saturday and Sunday were core conference days.
The opening address was by Kate Cuthbert, who I'm lucky enough to work with through Escape Publishing. She's smart, savvy, switched on, and a great deep thinker about the industry. Her talk, about the romance industry in the #metoo world, was incredible. She expressed so many thoughst and ideas I've stumbled and bumbled over, and she did so eloquently. She gave us all hope, hope for a better world for women. And then she charged us with the task of doing the same for our readers. What a start to the weekend!
When I thought things couldn't get better, the next talk was about "Naming our Bits" and the shame women's bodies have been inherently given in society. It was fabulous. I've agonised over reclaiming the word 'cunt' in my stories. I know people hate it (almost all the room did) but none of the over words are anything I like. And when the presenters (Amy T Matthews and Elizabeth Rolls) asked us to list the names for female bits 'down there' by animal-type, agricultural/botanical-type, childish/cutesy-type and historical-type, I realised why I was averse to using these other words.
What a powerful way to open a conference. I was sitting there, brain swirling, thinking of the romance world in a new and powerful way!
I went to mostly the Self-Publishing sessions because I wanted to keep up on industry happens and see how this was working. I learned so much. The biggest learning for me was that erotica sells in Canada and Europe. I've been a bit battered by the lack of support for erotica and erotic romance in conservative AU and also in much of the US. Often my covers can't be accepted for advertising, or they're not wanted on blogs for review. It gets quite demoralising. So to know that there are markets was a huge relief.
I left early on Sunday for a family event, which was a lovely way to wrap up a great weekend.