Hi, y’all! I’m back with a recap of my recent trip to San Diego.
Lemme start off by saying that West Coast to East Coast travel is no joke. It’s not a game, people. I took a red-eye back, lost 3 whole hours of sleep in the air, and walked off that plane looking like Twice Baked Death. But I’m still here, y’all.
I traveled there during the annual RWA National conference, to be a part of the Nielsen Romance Summit, since I’m on the advisory committee. I didn’t attend RWA this year, though I did in 2013 and 2015, and probably will in 2017. I went for the summit, to meet with editors and my fabulous writing pals, and to get some writing done. Here’s some of what went down in San Diego.
-Some folks are still very upset about the diversity push, and the changes coming to the industry.
Yes, I said it. I seen some thangs, y’all. And heard some thangs. Thangs that will curl your hair, or straighten it, or make your so mad you can’t see straight. There is still a LOT of pushback to the shifting dynamics of the industry. Too damn much, considering how long we’ve been talking about this.
From editors who say effed up ish about ‘sensitivity readers’ to talented authors of color, to mistaking black authors who look nothing alike for each other, to having black authors shut out from winning a Rita AGAIN, to secret conference calls where publishers tell their white authors to “write diversely” but shut out #OwnVoices… the list goes on and on.
But a sister is watching her sodium intake, so these folks gonna have to take their salty azzes elsewhere. I’m not here for it.
But change is still happening. SLOWLY.
I’m a product of this change, being the first African American author ever signed to Sourcebooks Casablanca. And trust me when I tell you I intend to continue writing the best books I can, and cracking faces while I do it. I don’t expect anything else from my illustrious colleagues, either.
Tracey Livesay just had her Avon debut. Pintip Dunn took home a Rita award. Caridad Pinerio and Damon Suede spoke eloquently at the Nielsen Summit. And Beverly Jenkins gave the most epic, wonderfully shady keynote speech RWA has ever seen.
“The next time somebody asks you if you have tried all the naughty things in your books, look them in the eye and tell them, HELL YES!”
There was a Hamilton sing-along. IT. WAS. LIT.
Some things haven’t changed at all.
The death knell of historical/ chick lit/ or insert whatever genre publishers aren’t making enough money on was sounded once again. Pitch sessions were attended with mixed results. (I didn’t pitch, not officially.) Cliques are still a thing among authors (what is this, high school?) The collective awesomeness of that many romance writers in one hotel is still amazing.
So that’s all I’ll say about the trip (or we’ll be here all day. I got deadlines, y’all!) I did some fantastic networking, made some very important connections, and saw some folks I only see once a year. Hopefully I’ll be in the place at the Swan and Dolphin next year, but that remains to be seen.
Were you there? If you want to add anything I didn’t mention, drop it in the comments.
Until Next Time,