Thursday, November 12, 2009

Romance Webinar from ALA and Booklist

Wondering if I can live blog "Sweet Talk: Romance Fiction in the Library," a webinar by the American Library Association and Booklist.

It's a online seminar, in which the participants can listen in to the panelists' presentations but are in "listen only" mode. We'll get a PDF of the slides used in the webinar later and a recording will be posted within two weeks.

John Charles: Reference librarian at Scottsdale Public Library, AZ. 2002 RWA Librarian of the Year. (Oops, technical difficulties. Technology makes our life easier.) "Romance Statistics: Or, What's in it for Libraries." Why should libraries care about romances? 13.5% of ALL books sold are romance. Romance can transfer into circulation statistics for libraries. Not all romances are the same. Uses RWA definition of What is Romance and then discusses subgenres. Talks about Historical Romance: reports of its demise are greatly exaggerated. In fact, Charles argues that we're in a Historical Romance renaissance. Shows Eloisa James, Stephanie Laurens, Mary Balogh, and Amanda Quick as examples of historical romance (also uses Boyle, Kleypas, Jeffries). Three authors who practically defined romance are doing comebacks: [someone], Jude Deveraux, Laura Kinsale. Kathleen Korbell/Eileen Dryer is coming to historical romance. New authors: Sherry Thomas, Courtney Milan, Tessa Dare, Meredith Duran, Alissa Johnson. Trends in romance: (1). Books in series: Kathryn Kaskie as one of most unique (never heard of her). (2). HR moving into Victorian romance as well. (3). Return of the Western: Jo Goodman and others.

Kayleigh George, Library Marketing Coordinator at HarperCollins: Shout-out to A list of Avon's new books. Really a marketing opportunity for HCP/Avon. Joss Ware--back to back releases--more zombies. Rachel Gibson has another hockey book in April. Crafting has become a huge trend in romances: Lori Wilde and Rachael Herron.

Shelley Mosley, 2001 RWA Librarian of the Year award. Also won Veritas Award (twice) and is also an author. o_0 "The Myth of the Fairy Tale Princess in Romance Novels." If you're looking for "spunky" heroines, romance is the right place. (I've got such a dirty mind.) Slam on a hunkalicious cover. "The only people who say romance novels are anti-feminist are those who haven't read one." Really? A bit too expansive for me. Just listing some of her favorite romances (mostly historicals but she covers most series).

Cheryl Herman Library marketing for Books on Tape: Romances exceeding all expectations in today's difficult economy. Compares romance to "comfort food"--yuck. Audio books promote sense of intimacy and take you back to earlier time in human and personal history with oral traditions. Women's fiction/romance imprints are completely outpacing all the other genres BOT puts out. Again, another opportunity for the speaker just to market their products.

I had to duck out before Madeline Hunter finished her presentation on RWA, but I saw the beginning, and she's talking about connection between libraries and RWA, including grant opportunities and RWA website.

I didn't realize that the Webinar was basically a marketing opportunity. I didn't know what I THOUGHT it was going to be, but it's really just marketing for the presenters (HarperCollins and Books On Tape). The librarians, on the other hand, just list a bunch of books they really like. Which is great. But I was hoping for something with a little more meat to it. I think John Charles had the most substance, in that he followed through on some romance trends.

I loved the format, though, and it's certainly something for IASPR to think about. Online "webinars" on romance scholarship every now and then, maybe in conjunction with the release of JPRS issues? Hmmm....


  1. So, what was "The Myth of the Fairy Tale Princess in Romance Novels"?

    Scheduling a webinar could be tricky, given that IASPR is international, with members in so many different time zones, but I suppose it might be worth trying.

    Kathryn Caskie's website is here, by the way. I think I saw an interview she gave on the Romance Novel TV website but I can't find it now.

  2. I think the myth was that heroines are fairy tale princesses. Instead, they're "spunky", which I still can't write without giggling.

    And yes, timing is always an issue with IASPR, but I want to keep it in mind for the Belgium conference, if nothing else.

  3. Even if people are in the wrong time zone to be able to listen live, it seems from what you've written that it's relatively easy to convert the webinar into a recording, and that would be great for people who wanted to listen to the conference and didn't mind doing so a little while after the event.

    When you tweeted from the IASPR conference in Australia the tweets were archived at Book Thingo. That was good too, though obviously it was less detailed than an audio file would be.