I went to the Romantic Novelist’s Association conference in June 2014 and was one of about six or seven men. This was a more than 100% increase on 2013 I’ve been told. I had a wonderful time.
I’ve attended the UK Meet since 2012 and gradually noticed an increase in the number of men attending.
BUT THERE’S STILL MORE OF YOU OUT THERE. I KNOW IT. *WALKS CLOSE TO THE SCREEN AND TAPS IT* YES, YOU, MAN, SAT THERE IN YOUR COMFY TROUSERS, I MEAN YOU! PUT ON A NICE JACKET AND JOIN ME AT ONE OF THESE EVENTS! *TAPS SCREEN* I MEAN YOU.
Eight reasons why men should attend these events
1. There’s an increasing number of these events each year. So far in 2015 there is an authors’ event organised by RJ Scott, a Manifold Press event, an event in Berlin, organised by Marc from Rainbow Gold Reviews, UK Meet 2015 obvs, and recently there was a gay romance book signing event in London. So if you’re a man reading, writing, blogging about gay romance, then you should get yourself booked onto one or more of these events. These events are a really important way to engage with our community of authors, bloggers and readers of gay romance. So if you’re not attending, even one or two, you’re missing out. And who wants to miss out? Exactly!
2. You might get to see the butlers at the bottom of this post. I’m the one in the natty red jacket btw.
3. Even if you’re an introvert – and many of us are – and the thought of groups of people worries you, I bet you a chocolate muffin you’ll still have a great time. The women at these things are lovely, friendly, interesting, and you’ll get to talk about gay romance with them. And maybe ogle some butlers or gogo dancers in a gay bar. But any more of that’s not for here. Anyway, there’s plenty of time to talk to people one to one if groups aren’t your thing. If the panels and networking gets too much, you can always take yourself off to a quiet lobby, back to your room or outside to recharge your batteries. I’m an extrovert – like you didn’t know – and I secreted myself in my room a few times during the conference weekends to recharge and get back to Stars Hollow with my Gilmore girls
4. If you’re worried about preserving your identity while attending these events, UK Meet has a strict no photos policy if you wear the white lanyard, so your face won’t appear on the internet at our event.
5. It’s a great way to meet new readers and connect with them face to face. Nothing beats talking to another reader about how much you loved that cowboys from space/ gay unicorns shifters from Uranus story. Authors, nothing beats hearing a reader telling you the story you wrote back to you, and how it made that person feel. These moments are what life is all about. Men, go grab yourself some.
6. You can make new blogger friends face to face – I met Marc from Rainbow Gold, Beverley from Prism Book Alliance and reacquainted myself with Mark and Monique from Sinfully Sexy review blogs. It’s so much nicer to put a face to a name when you’re sending ARCs through the ether.
7. You can make new author and publisher friends face to face. Conversations I had at UK Meet resulted in me spreading my story love around a few more publishers, so I’ve now got contracts with Wilde City, Love Lane Books and Manifold Press. It was through talking to the publishers and owners of these face to face that I could make an informed decision about where to put some of my un-contracted work. One of the panels at UK Meet advised not to put all your book eggs in one publishing basket. So I took their advice.
8. If there are books for sale at the events you can have a real life version of the Amazon ‘other readers who bought this, also bought that’ experience, and discover loads of great new authors.
I am tagging two male authors/bloggers/readers of gay romance for them to post three reasons they will attend a future event like these.
I’m also giving away one e-book copy of my published stories to two different people who comment here, by midnight GMT on Sunday 19 October with a response to this question:
How do you feel about us encouraging more men to come to gay romance events?
Until next time,
Liam Livings xx