I wasn’t planning on coming to the Romantic Times convention. In fact, the decision wasn’t really made until the Monday that the convention began. But my publisher, Liz Pelletier told me to put my butt in the car and get it to Kansas City, and I always do what she says. Anyone who has known me for a little bit, knows I don’t follow orders. Unless they come from Liz.
There’s a reason for that. She’s good people. Its one of the reasons I wanted to work with her as an author, and the main reason I took on the position as Editorial Director of the paranormal romance line Covet at Entangled. We share the same philosophy: We’re all in this together.
She shared that philosophy last night in her speech at the Romantic Times Ball. She talked about the fact that it isn’t indie against New York. It’s about us all lifting one another up. A sale here, means more readers might be interested in the rest of the books in that genre.
And to me, it’s Writer Karma 101 (a class I teach). Be kind to everyone you meet and lift each other up. And buy their books. That’s the way it should be. Publishing is a tough business that is changing so fast a lot of people can’t keep up. And with social media there are no more secrets. If you’re an asshat, someone is going to hear about it. So don’t be an asshat. It’s as simple as that.
For example: You’re at a romance convention for readers, don’t say mean things about books they might love. There was some debacle about EL James being in an audience when one of the moderators said something negative about “Fifty Shades of Grey.” Allegedly, E.L. got up and said “stop saying stuff about my book.” I don’t know what the truth of that situation really was. BUT I would bow down and kiss E. L. James’ feet if I met her in person. I friggin’ love that woman. She’s brought readers to romance, smexy romance and I will be forever grateful to her for that.
And that’s the way it should be.
I hurt my back the second day of this convention. But I’m me. So I sent out tweets and had authors come pitch their paranormal romances to me while I sat in my bed propped up by pillows. That’s how I roll. Today, I made it downstairs — barely — and did the same thing for almost eight hours, in between meetings with various publishers that I’ve known for years.
Those publishers told me I could write for them any time I wanted. Name the book, name the time. For someone who was about to give up on all things publishing two months ago because I was just tired of everyone being asshats, life has changed. A lot. :)
The authors who pitched, thanked me for my kindness and willingness to listen.
But this story isn’t about me. It’s about paying it forward, something I learned from Jodi Thomas before my writing career ever began. Jodi is the kindest most wonderful soul you’ll ever meet. Sometimes she might be a little too nice. And she writes darn good books. But she’s the reason I have a career at all. She took time to coach me and listened to me read my work. She was the first person who told me I would be published. And she introduced me to my first agent and my first editor.
I want to be Jodi Thomas when I grow up.
I’ve listened to over 60 pitches since arrived at RT. Not because I had to, but because I wanted to. Let me tell you, the world of publishing is going to be in great shape because there are some seriously talented people out there waiting in the wings. They aren’t all right for my particular line, but they will be right for someone.
I know that for a fact.
The universe works in mysterious ways. There was a young author who pitched to me two days ago. I loved her story, but it wasn’t right for me. The next day I ran into an old publisher friend of mine. She bought me breakfast and she told me about where her company was headed. Their tagline was “romance without rules.” She invited me to her pub party. I took that author, and guess what, they were absolutely enthralled by her. It was almost eerie the many connections the acquiring editor, publisher and this author shared. It was meant to be.
Liz said it best: “We are all in this together.” It’s not pollyanna to be kind and help your fellow writers. It’s just good business.