The 2017 National RWA conference is over. From all the posts that came to us who stayed at home, it was a fabulous event. You didn’t have to be in Orlando to feel the energy. It sizzled across the net.

Kudos to the RWA staff for pulling off  this super conference. You are amazing and thousands of RWA members are truly indebted to you for your dedication.

We now know the names of the published and unpublished RWA members who’ve been chosen as the best of the best by their judges.  Congrats from the Ruby-Slippered Sisters. You’ve achieved a level many only dream about.

And speaking of dreams, I’m sure many came true on the magical grounds of Disney.   Congratulations to all who threw off their introvert capes and shined and brought home requests.

Now, I want to know the dirt on the conference. If you have a success story and want to share, the Ruby Sisters will squeal with you again. If you learned interesting  industry news, please share, or if you just have an entertaining story please tell.  Is there something you missed out on and want to know, ask.

My first question for those of you who went to editor panel discussions, what is the new hot? I heard chatter it’s small town stories. Is that true? And who was looking?


  1. Elisa Beatty says:

    I’d love to hear the chatter about the new hot!!

    And did anybody say anything about historical being dead or revived or thriving, or whatever?


  2. Lara Archer says:

    I’m delighted to report I won the Daphne, Historical category for my Napoleonic-era spy romance, The Devil May Care! That was a thrilling moment!

    Though I got there late and missed out on all the Death by Chocolate decadence!


  3. I didn’t go to the conference, but I want publicly shout out KUDOS to RWA for the live streaming of many events. I loved watching the Rita ceremony here with my family. They had no idea it was such a huge event. Really?


  4. Liz Talley says:

    I didn’t attend a lot of workshops this year as I was splitting time between RWA and the mouse, but I worked editor agent appointments and saw lot of smiles. So many requests were made, in fact, one said she’d heard the editor didn’t take more than the first 5 pages normally but asked for 50 pages.

    So editors and agents are still looking. But for what, I don’t know. I do know that deeper emotional women’s fiction and crossover fiction is still selling. That’s from my editor’s mouth. I also thing darker domestic fiction is still selling and books that have an issue that’s debatable.

    My next book is definitely more emotional and deals with a sensitive issue (date rape) and my editor warned that it will get one star reviews based on it being an issue book. She stated that polarizing books are still working so that was a “whew” moment for me.

    I didn’t hear much on historical books….

    I’d love to hear some marketing stuff – is there anything hot out there that’s working for readers?


    • Darynda Jones says:

      Thanks, Liz! I couldn’t go to National this year, but I’ve also heard that WF with deeper emotional issues is doing well, but I’ve also heard the exact opposite, that WF in general is hard to sell. Frustrating for WF authors.

      I’ve heard YA fantasy is still doing well, but dystopian is almost impossible to sell right now just as paranormal was flooded for a long time.

      I’d love to hear more of what people heard!


      • Liz talley says:

        Lol. Isn’t this indicative of publishing. It’s all so conflicting. This was from my publisher – Montlake – which is looking for more women’s fiction crossover. I can attest to the lighter, humorous contemporary romance not selling as well. They passed on the next in the Charming series (which was more chock-lit/sisterhood) and bought my angsty wf/romance cross over. However, other publishers might have given other feedback. So if you went to a spotlight, what did you hear for contemporary Market?


    • Thanks for sharing the tidbits you heard.

      Could you explain domestic fiction for our readers?


    • Jacie Floyd says:

      Yes, I heard that Women’s Fiction is going strong, but the divisive issues are less popular. It seemed like, except for Romantic Suspense, the darker stories are not as popular as they have been in any of the genres.


  5. Julia Day says:

    My YA contemporary romance, THE POSSIBILITY OF SOMEWHERE, won Bookseller’s Best Award!


  6. Julia Day says:

    I went to a panel called “Hitting the Sweet Spot”–about Women’s Fiction with a strong romantic subplot. It was very helpful. The author-panelists (Kristan Higgins and Jamie Beck) gave a lot of information about what kinds of themes work in Women’s Fiction. It has smaller market share, but there are also fewer authors writing WF (so less competition.)

    In YA news, YA fantasy is still hot. Many of the other YA genres are getting tougher to sell.


    • Darynda Jones says:

      I would love to hear more, Julia! I have many WF friends. Perhaps a blog post? (I’m not above begging!)


      • Julia Day says:

        Sure, I could do that. I took a lot of notes for this panel, so I could write a post.

        The best summary that I heard about Women’s Fiction is: decrease tropes and plot devices; increase dramatic themes with significant subtext; avoid plotsy, adorable stories.


    • Would you mind telling us some of those themes?

      Thank you for sharing, Julia. And congrats on the win.


  7. Jacie Floyd says:

    Since marketing continues to be a challenge for me, I went to tons of marketing workshops, but the first one I attended was the best. Mark Dawson had excellent advice, and offered a link to receive five of his marketing books for free. I’m not sure if I can list it here? I’ll be happy to share if anyone would like it, and I posted it on my Jacie Floyd FB page.

    He believes that sales and all good things begin with newsletters, and he has lots of advice for making that happen. Like if you request these 5 free books he’s offering, you have to enter your email address to get his newsletter.

    There’s a data guy who always has good information about sales numbers of ebooks vs print books. The reports of ebooks fading are greatly exaggerated by traditional publishing and the media.

    My most memorable moments are always those involving catching up with friends and GH loops like the Ruby Slippered Sisterhood. Fabulous to see everyone!


  8. Tamara Hogan says:

    In 2018, the RITA is going digital! As a process geek, I can’t wait to hear the implementation details.

    Congrats to Elisa/Lara and Julia/Beth on their MAJOR AWARDS!


    • I’ve been hearing watermarked PDFs, which is interesting. On PAN loop, it’s been said that publishers were contacted and were willing to go with this.


    • I haven’t heard a word about what’s hot in publishing, but I’m also fascinated by the change in the RITAs. PDFs will be quite an adjustment.


    • I love reading on my Kindle, but I know many readers who don’t. I still don’t know how to send a PDF to my kindle to read it. I wonder how this change will effect the judging pool?


    • Tamara Hogan says:

      It must have been challenging to get publishers on board with digital submission, so I can understand why watermarked PDFs might have been selected as as the (inaugural?) submission/entry file format, but from a judging perspective, the format has distinct shortcomings. PDF files have fixed margins. You can’t adjust fonts, line spacing, or wrapping, making them quite challenging to read using an ereader. There are some software-based reading options, but how many of us want to read entire books sitting in front of a computer? PDF Reader only goes so far.

      From a practical perspective, I’ll probably print out the PDF and read on paper. Sorry, trees. 🙁


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