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Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Rediscovering the Author / Reader Connection at Lori Foster’s Conference

I attended Lori Foster’s Reader / Writer Get Together this last weekend. As always it was a great event. Lori’s Get Togethers obviously share some of the same elements as other conferences. There are opportunities to learn and make important publishing and reader connections. But what makes it really special is the opportunity to move beyond the business aspect of our profession.

As writers, we are always and forever in danger of forgetting why we write, and more importantly who we write for, in the effort to market and sell our books. I spend hours of my day writing, talking about writing, writing about writing, or trying to sell what I’ve written. Sometimes I feel like, if someone took a picture of me, I’d just be a female shaped clump of black and white words, with good teeth and bad hair.

For me, the why and who are encompassed into one element—the reader. Yes, of course, we all hope to be able to make a good living at writing, that’s a given. But for many of us that’s a distant goal. In the interim, something keeps us motivated to continue writing. For me, that’s a human story. I write because I want to touch another human being and make that person laugh, cry, or gasp with exhilaration. I don’t always succeed in this lofty goal, but that doesn’t stop me from continuing to try.

Unfortunately, like in any business, the human element sometimes gets run over by a ten ton truck called, marketing.

That’s why events such as Lori’s, offered annually to romance junkies across the country by Lori Foster and Dianne Castell, are such rare jewels. They allow us to combine the business of writing with the joys of writing in a fun, relaxed, and effective way. We visit, we meet new writers and readers, we make valuable connections, and we actually have fun interacting mano-a-mano (or womano-a-womano in most cases!). We get to know each other as people rather than business opportunities, we share experiences, and we form the initial link in a bond that might eventually lead to a future reader/writer connection.

The backstory to an event such as Lori’s is that strong relationships can be formed between readers and writers. Lori and Dianne couldn’t hold these events so successfully year after year without tons of help from their loyal friends and fans. These people give up hours of their time to help the two lovely authors pull the event together and keep it running smoothly. They do this because of a connection that was forged from a common love of reading and the romance genre. But these relationships have been strengthened through more concrete things. Things such as loyalty, kindness, respect, and a recognition that, though we’ve all tread different paths to get where we are today, we are basically the same under the skin, with the same problems and the same needs. It’s the human connection that makes the reader/writer relationship strong. That’s what we sometimes forget.

And that’s what makes Lori’s events so special. They help us build that human bond. Well…it’s that…and the sexy male models that sometimes show up at them! Whoo baby!

Hope to see you all at Lori’s next year. Come on over and say Hey if you see me!


Sam Cheever writes fast paced romantic fiction with feisty characters who deal with life’s little challenges in unique and often hilarious ways. Sam’s recent published work includes her Dancin' With the Devil series, ‘Tween Heaven and Hell, a rip roaring fantasy adventure that will leave you panting for more; and the two fast-paced and highly entertaining sequels, ‘Tween a Devil and His Hard Place and 'Tween Heart's Fire and Devil's Delight, available through Cerridwen Press. Sam’s sexy erotic fantasy, Nocked Over, is now available through Ellora’s Cave and her hilarious romantic suspense novels, Dancing With Tad and A Honeybun and Coffee, Book One in Sam’s Honeybun Hunks series, are available through Red Rose Publishing, along with her fun erotic fantasy, Purple Prose. To learn more about the author and her work, visit her website at www.samcheever.com and her blog at http://tweenyouandme.blogspot.com/.


Stephanie said...

Beautiful Post Sam! And thank goodness for the internet so those who can't make the conventions get to interact with you talented people!

quiltingreader said...

Wow! Lucky you for getting to go. Sounds like it was entertaining.

Heather B. said...

I think you have hit it dead on. For me as a reader I have to have a connection to what I am reading. There are a few author's who have that connection with the readers and do it better than others. Lora Leigh is one of them.

Reading is my escape and if I don't feel the connection, I don't get the full escape from reality I am looking for.

Cathy M said...

Hi Sam, very nicely said, sounds like a perfect place to take a step back and recharge.

Lori Foster said...

THanks Sam! I'm so glad you mentioned our volunteers, because Dianne and I would go nuts without them. Especially LadyB, who does the raffles, and Christy and Cheryl who man the registration. Those ladies work overtime!

And this year, because we videotaped sections of the event, I have to give a very special "thank you" to Michelle Buonfiglio. She did the production of the videos and without her, they wouldn't have been nearly so terrific! She worked tirelessly - ALL day Friday and Saturday - to make it happen. Amazing lady.

hugs to all!


Sam Cheever said...

Hey Lori and everybody,

Thanks so much for stopping by to read my post. I'm glad I could share my great experience with those of you who had to miss this year. Hopefully you can all go next year! Pretty soon Lori's gonna have to rent a bigger hotel for the event!


Tabatha B said...

I love the fact that so many writers are not only getting together but are also so respondant to their readers. I read more often than I write these days but I still find that writing is what makes me who I am. I wish everyone the best of luck on their books.

MarthaE said...

Hi Sam - Sounds like you had a good, recharging, time! And enjoyed looking at the male models, eh? Having gone to just the book fair at RT in Orlando I think it is nice to meet the authors in person... gives an extra special touch as we read the books.

booklover1335 said...

Hi Sam,
I so wanted to go to Lori's event, now I am even more sad that I was not able to go. Thanks for sharing your insight, while not the same as being there it is a small consolation :)


Glynis said...

I am sooo jealous, it sounds lovely. So if I ever make it, I would look for someone B/W with funny hair then? LOL

flchen1 said...

I'm so envious! I hope I'll be able to go some year, but in the meantime, I'm enjoying the recaps from all of you who attend! Sounds like a fantastic time had by readers and authors alike!