When writers aren’t readers - Searching for my tribe
I believed that I would find my people when I went to the Romance Writers of America conference.
1) I’m writing romance.
2) I enjoy romance
AND 3) I’m with romance writers who are writing fantasy and science fiction.
These should have been my people.
I expected to be welcomed in with open arms and talk about the stories/books that I love and that are important to me. Instead, I found that their arms were already full. It wasn’t easy to connect with anyone because they were already knitted into their cozy groups. Unlike the other writer conferences I’ve attended, there wasn’t the equal footing for people who didn’t have a group to fit into.
Everyone was very nice, but despite that, I was on the outside of the bubbles, only peeking in.
Well, that made sense, I didn’t know anyone and although I expected to make friends as I had during the PNWA conferences, I understand it might take more effort. Besides, maybe I needed writers who were writing closer to what I'm writing.
I thought I’d fit in better with the science fiction (fantasy) romance writer crowd. Surely they would be my people. I heard throughout the conference about how the writers wanted to have the science-fiction romance group better distinguished. Awesome!
Me too. As a reader, I want more of these books. (More bodice rippers in space please!)
I mentioned in my earlier post that I was going deep tracks on my Liaden costume and I was so excited to get into the costume and expected these sci-fi romance writers would totally get it and me. I even got the hubby geared up and excited about the event.
Except not a single person at the whole event knew who we were dressed as.
Even during the contest the MC had to ask us twice ‘Who are you trying to be again?’ (Ok, so maybe I failed with the details.)
Even after explaining, no one knew the series.
At the ‘contest’ part of the show, the winners were a group in Star-Trek shirts and Orphan Black. I wasn’t aware either of those shows were considered romance. And to rub salt in the wound of my reader’s heart, they aren’t even based in written fiction. So, we have TV based heroes/heroines, and these are the characters people know. Even the women in their creative and very cool alien costumes got a backseat to the known quantity that of the popular, off-the-shelf, TV-show.
To me, as a writer, this is a little sad. Even if I’m able to write something seriously bad-ass, I will must struggle to get people to see/read my work. It (and yours) is competing against TV/Movies/video games/comics. This was a wake-up call as it should be for all writers.
Here’s my question then:
Are we readers of the genera we are writing? Or are we only writers?
And: Where the heck is my Tribe?