Romance Writers of America (RWA) is an eclectic group of published authors and hopefuls who open themselves up to partnerships and interaction with like-minded organizations and professions. As already posted here, opening day in Anaheim, July 25, was devoted to librarians and smoothing the way to the incorporation if romance into collections and library programming. The big evening event is always the literacy signing, where hundreds of authors meet the public and sign books that will be sold for charity. This year’s turnout of 400 authors netted $50,963 for ProLiteracy Worldwide and its local affiliates Read Orange County and Literacy Volunteers of America Huntington Valley, announced at the annual awards luncheon on Thursday, July 26. All told, RWA has contributed $700,070 to the agency since the signings began.
Other awards presented include the RWA Librarian of the Year to “a librarian who demonstrates outstanding support of romance authors and the romance genre.” The 2012 recipient is Mary Moore, Reference & Adult Services Manager, Huntsville-Madison County Public Library, AL. Also announced is an ongoing project to bring romance to public recognition through a documentary entitled Love Between the Covers, directed by Laurie Kahn. The project received welcome and unexpected NEH funding following RWA but is seeking additional support to enable a symposium with the Library of Congress as well as a nationwide library program with the American Library Association. See the PopularRomanceProject.org website for more information.
Keynote speaker Stephanie Laurens (The Lady Risks All, Avon, Oct.), longtime and well-praised author of historical romance, offered up a comparison of what she termed “offline” publishing (traditional access to books through bookstores and libraries) with “online” publishing (where print and electronic works are available through online venues) that raised a few eyebrows and the hopes of the writers in the audience, with a new view of the publishing landscape. The 1,778 attendees at this year’s conference had more than chicken to digest after the presentation.