Thursday, July 30, 2009

One Editor's 2009 RWA National Highlights

posted by Deb Werksman

Nationals this year were in Washington, D.C. and it was, as always, a GREAT conference. It's amazing to spend time in an environment where the energy is so positive and supportive and everyone is out for success.

Sourcebooks was there in full force with myself, our publisher Dominique Raccah and our publicist Danielle Jackson.

Here are some of my highlights:


*Notable items from updated reader survey:
--the midwest and south have the highest concentrations of romance readers
--readers are feeling the impact of the economy
--they haven't stopped reading, but are borrowing/sharing more books and using the library more, but if they REALLY want a book, they'll buy it (the hook, the hook, the hook :-))
--about the same number of readers buy their romances from the large chain bookstores as buy them in the mass market retailers.

Lots of other good data that gives us all a lot to think about.If you didn't get a copy of the survey or weren't in DC, check the RWA website.


It was GREAT to see our authors and we had a wonderful, celebratory dinner together.

Our signing was mobbed until the books ran out (note for next year: bring more books!) and it's clear our authors are individually and collectively moving to the next level. We missed our authors who weren't at the conference, but encourage all to participate at their local chapter level.

We also had opportunities to meet with some exciting prospective authors who we hope by next year's conference will have joined our house!


I was delighted with my pitch appointments this year--people were pitching very skillfully, and I heard about numerous projects that have real promise (more than I was expecting--now it's all in the execution...). Whatever people are doing to train for pitching is terrific--keep it up!


We loved giving our spotlight and talking about what we do for authors' careers. Danielle did a great panel on web marketing with Michele Buonofiglio and Lori Foster, and it's clear that lots of good ideas were shared throughout the conference. If anyone has any questions left over after the spotlight, please let me or Danielle know!


And, here's what I'm looking for! Single title romance fiction in all subgenres, 90,000 words, email submissions (synopsis and full manuscript) with:
  • a heroine the reader can relate to
  • a hero she can fall in love with
  • a world gets created
  • a HOOK I can sell the book with in 2-3 sentences


  1. Hi Deb,
    It was great meeting everyone at the conference. My only regret is that I wasn't in SF last year. Looking forward to Nashville!

  2. Hi Deb,
    Welcome back to the blog. It was great to see the three Ds in Washington and to share another memorable evening with the Sourcebooks gang. I didn't think we could top last year, but we did!

  3. Ah, what a great time in DC!

    My highlight? After the Sourcebooks Spotlight, I was hanging out talking to my cover artist (SUCH an awesome thing to meet her - she introduced herself to me and wanted to know if I liked the covers; if they matched the story... I cried. Told her I--and the rest of the world--LOVE them!). Anyhow, so I'm standing there after we're done talking and realize there's a line behind me and I look like I'm in line to speak to Deb, so I step out of the line and say to these people who are waiting, "Oh, I'm not in line. You go ahead." And they all start smiling and say, "But we're in line to talk to you."

    I think I stammered. I know I turned red. Moi? They wanted to talk to me?

    Yep, they did. SUR-real.

    Literacy and Sourcebooks signings were a blast. Doing interviews with Sue Grimshaw for Borders True Romance and Books on Board was wonderful; our dinner was amazing... National was everything I'd hoped for and then some. Can't WAIT for Nashville!

  4. Hi Deb,

    I enjoyed reading your post and I agree that conference was upbeat and exciting!

    I'll spotlight two highlights among many. I loved the Sourcebooks dinner. I love it that you, Danielle and Dominique are so much fun and that you take the time to be with us! I loved sitting around the table and hearing about everyone's accomplishments.

    Another highlight was when you asked me to give a quote for Laura Kinsale's new book. I was so excited! Me--? give a quote for America's favorite, America's most beloved romance writer? I walked away on cloud 9, but minutes later was thinking, Deb probably didn't really mean to ask me, or she will forget she asked me to read it. But then Danielle asked me to read it, too and I thought, wow! Maybe they really want me to do this!
    So, thank you, Deb! I'm thrilled! I have about 50 pages left to read and then I'll send you a quote. It's awesome! Congratulations on acquiring her and all your other awesome romance authors!


  5. Oh how I LURVED riding in those limos! Crawling in and out... not so much! But riding... AHHH!

    Like Marie said, I didn't think we could top SF, but we did!

    I LURVED Deb talking about my particular 'author brand' in the Spotlight. Several people mentioned that to me afterward.

    And I LURVED that we actually RAN OUT OF BOOKS at the signing! Shows that readers really WANT our books, and HOW GREAT IS THAT?!?!


  6. I'm sorry I couldn't make it this year, Deb, but I plan on next year!


  7. Enjoying the experience of reading about other people's experiences...

  8. Looking forward to going to Nashville too. :)

  9. I'm so a day late. I attended RWA but for some reason missed every workshop but the Pro-retreat. The on Saturday I found myself lost looking for my friends when I walked into the Sourcebooks Spotlight. I was thrilled and excited about everything y'all had to say. That was a definite highlight. Meeting my writing partners in person, talking with Judi Fennell, and meeting Lucinda McGary were all on the top!