We’ve arrived at a really interesting and exciting time in the publishing industry when there are new opportunities arising for writers of LGBT romance every day. Rainbow Romance Writers’ goal is to find the way to best serve the interests of professional writers in this community. As such, we have a number of exciting things we’re planning in 2014.
I’ll start with my pet project: library and bookstore outreach. One of the first things I got involved with when I first joined RRW at the beginning of 2012 was to help administer a survey of romance readers asking a bunch of nosy questions about reading and buying habits. After the survey concluded, I crunched and analyzed all the data. One piece of information that was a surprise to me (but should not have been) is that ravenous romance readers also tend to be loyal library patrons, and the library is an important place of discovery. I started investigating further last year, talking to librarians I ran into at conferences and gathering information. LGBT romance has thrived online thanks to enthusiastic fans and digital-first publishing. But there’s room for it to grow. By the end of this year, I’d like to see more LGBT romance in brick-and-mortar spaces, libraries in particular but also bookstores.
In 2013, we let our chapter newsletter fall by the wayside, but this year we’re bringing it back in a new way, in the form of a public chapter blog to which all members will be able to post. Having the blog be public will also allow non-members to get more information about what we’re about and how we can help writers. You can find the blog here: http://rainbowromancewriters.com/site-blog
With the RRW website now sitting pretty on a new, faster server, we want to launch our online classroom, which will offer classes on a variety of topics for writers. Classes will be open to members and non-members alike! Hopefully we’ll have more information about that soon.
Past-president Damon Suede still has his own pet project of working with Amazon to get romance books tagged and categorized better, making it easier for books to find their way into the hands of the readers who want them.
And of course, we want to keep up the good work past boards have started, advocating for professional writers of LGBT romance. This includes continuing to have a presence at big conferences such as RT, RWA National, and Book Expo America as well as smaller events like GRL, Authors After Dark, Gay Romance NW, the Liberty States Fiction Writers conference in New Jersey, and the Rainbow Book Fair in New York City. We’re encouraging our members to attend smaller regional conferences as well. So if you’ve got a favorite author, you may be able to see him or her at a conference near you.
RRW is unique among RWA chapters in that it is one of the largest chapters and it has a great number of published and experienced authors. My goal for the chapter is to serve both seasoned authors and fledgling aspiring writers alike. As of today, we have about 130 members, and that’s a lot of resources to pool. We can all learn from and inspire each other; that’s one of the things I love about being part of a chapter like this. So I also want to encourage participation, because that’s how members can get the most out of the chapter.
Personally, I’m really excited and optimistic about 2014 and what it will mean for authors of LGBT romance.
Kate McMurray is an award-winning author of gay romance and an unabashed romance fan. When she’s not writing, she works as a nonfiction editor, dabbles in various crafts, and is maybe a tiny bit obsessed with baseball. She’s currently serving as President of Rainbow Romance Writers, the LGBT romance chapter of Romance Writers of America. She lives in Brooklyn, NY. Visit her at www.katemcmurray.com.