Just returned a few days ago from a huge writers/readers conference in Kansas City. It was sponsored by ROMANTIC TIMES magazine and it was one of the best conferences I have attended in a long time! RT does this every year in a different city as a way to reach readers and connect them with their favorite authors. I thought last year's in Chicago was the best, but this one out-did them all! Of course I'm prejudiced, because they made me feel extra special this year. As one of the bigger names in historical romance back in the 80's and 90's I was honored (along with several other well-known names from the era of bodice-rippers) in several special ways at this conference and felt a bit like I was Queen for a Day, for any of you who remember that old TV program.
RT is super good at connecting us authors with our readers, and throughout the 5-day conference they gave us several opportunities to meet our readers, whom I adore because without them I wouldn't be sitting here writing this blog as a multi-published author. My biggest sales and biggest advances came in the 80's and 90's, and after selling 58 novels over these past 30 years, I and several other lovely "legends of romance" (as they called us) qualified for a special brunch. The next evening we were given special honors at a grand ball, where there was dancing and music and where I and other authors were escorted to the stage by some very handsome cover model "hunks" and then introduced. Each of us gave a short talk, and we were made to feel like the most important writers who ever walked. It was a wonderful experience! Other authors who received special honors were Shirl Henke, Thea Divine, Janelle Taylor, Jude Deveraux, Judith McNaught, Mary Balough, Patricia Rice, Bobbi Smith, Beverly Jenkins, Eileen Dreyer, Laura Parker, Robyn Carr, Mary Jo Putney, Heather Graham, Jennifer Blake, Laura Kinsale and Karen Robards. I'll bet many of you reading this recognize most or all of those names.
At the conference I finally got to meet my agent of the last 5 years FOR THE FIRST TIME FACE TO FACE. It's so nice to be able to "see" her now when we correspond. She has done great things for me as my career seems to enjoying a "re-awakening" thanks to the reissue of several of my older titles by Sourcebooks and by Amazon. My first brand new title is coming out this July (PARADISE VALLEY) and we are working on selling more older titles for reissue in print and as e-books. I also met with my Sourcebooks editor, and her enthusiasm means lots of promise of more to come from Rosanne Bittner for my many faithful readers!
I have to mention here, since this blog is read by both readers and writers, that nearly all of the writers there like myself, who experienced great sales in the 80's and 90's but who were suddenly dropped by publishers and told readers didn't want our kind of books any more, are now selling like hot cakes on the internet due to putting our older titles back into print and even publishing new titles on our own. For everyone reading this blog, I am here to tell you that us "old timers" are finding out something we already knew and that publishers, for whatever reason, just didn't recognize – and that is … YES, READERS DO WANT WHAT WE WRITE!!! What I was being told by publishers didn't match the feedback I was getting from my readers, who kept begging for a new Bittner book – and yet I couldn't sell to any of the publishers. Now, due to social media, I am FINDING MY READERS AGAIN, AS WELL AS HOOKING UP WITH A HOST OF NEW READERS WHO NEVER EVEN HEARD OF ME!!! And guess what? They love historical western romance! Westerns have always been popular, and now their popularity is again emerging on the readers' market – and I am ready to deliver!
Meantime, Romantic Times made me feel like a true VIP and awakened my desire to write more books. I felt like "Queen for a Day," and it was a riot! While on that stage, all us "oldies but goodies" looked at each other in a bit of a daze because of all the sorely-needed attention we hadn't realized in a long time...and we just kind of smiled to ourselves. I am sure several of the others wanted to shout, like I wanted to shout to publishers – "See? We TOLD YOU READERS WANT OUR BOOKS!!!" Publishers need to get out and visit middle-America and listen to their readers, who are tired of reading the same book over and over because publishers keep pushing their big-name authors by re-issuing their books with different titles and covers. Readers are tired of being over-fed certain genres because publishers think that's all they want. Readers want VARIETY, and they most certainly still want those good old-fashioned historical romances with heroines we all dream of being, and heroes we all dream of sharing our beds with – heroes who respect women, defend women, and love their particular woman forever and beyond!
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Publishers Weekly Review
"This Western historical is chock-full of danger, with families set on a vendetta, the threat of Emma’s stepfather, and the daily demands of Mitch’s job, but Emma is no wilting lily, proving she is a match for Mitch in every way."
Read More of the PW Review of