I'm at another convention - this time the Australian National Science Fiction Convention. These are the conventions that I've been attending and loving for the past seven years - a time with friends, meeting like-minded folks and have a great time.
Two weeks ago, I was at a very different convention - RT in LA. While there's a huge difference in size, the set up of the conventions isn't that different - panels and workshops during the day, social events at night, fun for all.
But there is one MAJOR difference between romance and sci fi cons - author-provided swag.
At sci fi cons, there's no overt author promotion. No posters up of upcoming books. No bookmarks or fabulous little bits and bobs to give away. You see authors on panels, you see them in the bar but they don't market the way romance authors do at romance cons. I was at a con once where one of the publishers, celebrating a milestone, did have up a display of author photographs - every one of them was graffiteed.
The first time I walked into a romance con and saw the piles of pens and postcards and paraphernalia, I was stunned - it was so beyond my experience. But the readers seem to love it. And then I go into romance specialty bookstores and I see it there as well.
This is one of the elements of the romance community that I particularly love - the pride, the preparedness to stick the chest out and say 'here we are, aren't we fabulous?'
So what do you think, friends? Do you like the author-produced swag? Let me know.