Saturday, June 15, 2013

Why Go to A Reader's Conference by Michelle Styles

Signing at Loveletter Convention
To put it simply – readers’ conferences are great ways to meet other like minded people and to really learn more about something you are passionately interested in. It is a chance to meet the authors who create the books but also to discuss with other people about the genre and the books you love. And  it doesn’t matter if you don’t really know the language, the common currency is the love of the books.

Readers at the signing, patiently waiting.
Recently I went to the 2nd Loveletter Convention in Berlin, Germany.  My German is practically nonexistent. Luckily the vast majority of the people attending were kind and could speak some English.  The readers who attended were not just from Germany, Austria and  the German-speaking part of Switzerland but from around Europe including some from Denmark, and Croatia. But there were contingents from Belgium and the Netherlands as well. And everyone attending was passionate about books and in particular romance books.

The atmosphere was incredible. Because it was my second time, a number of people remembered me from last year. I am now officially the Author in the Red Shoes. Luckily I wore them again as I couldn’t find another pair of shoes that I loved as much and was as comfortable.  Several people were lovely and had brought gift bags as a thank you to authors  for attending the conference and for giving them such pleasure. I was really touched.

Annie Burrows and Michelle Styles in Regency costume.
My favourite part of the conference had to be the Blind Dates where I had the chance to meet with a random group of readers. Last year it was about 7- 10 readers. This year, just before we started, I discovered that we would be rotating tables.  Cue a quick downstairs for me to retrieve more books as I figured the best way to break the ice was to give away books as there was no guarantee that the readers had ever heard of me.  Everyone was enthusiastic.

Later at the signing, I was surprised by the number of people who wanted English books, rather than the very lovely reprint of Gladiator’s Honour in German which I was signing. I absolutely loved the cover of the German version. My daughter now has the poster that Cora (German Harlequin) let me take. 
 Many people do prefer to read in English because then they can read the author’s words, rather than the translator’s interpretation of those words. Also with the advent of The Book Depository which has free worldwide shipping and  ebooks, it has come to savvy readers’ attention that the English mass market  paperbacks cost about  one third of the German. And then there is the time factor, dedicated readers want to read the latest offering wherever it comes out.

German reprint of Gladiator's Honour
which was made into a poster for the event
by Cora
did several workshops including one with Annie Burrows where we dressed up in order to explain a bit more about the Regency. I played a nouveau riche Mama who was desperate for her daughter to marry well but to marry for love. Annie played a Dowager Countess who wanted to remain in London for the Season for her own highly private reasons.

We had a great deal of fun. And that is what I think a successful conference is about – fun. The main difference between a writer’s conference and reader’s conference is that when you go to a writer’s conference you are meeting fellow writers  who may or may not be your rivals and when you go to a readers’ conference you are connecting with readers who are just passionate about books and the genre.  Once again I was made to feel like a Rock star.

Michelle Styles writes  warm witty and intimate historical romance in a wide range of time periods for Harlequin Historical, Her next book with be published in November 2013 Paying the Viking's Price. To learn more about Michelle and her books visit




Mary Preston said...

The point you made about reading the authors words rather than the interpreters is something that had not twigged with me before. Interesting!!

My Mother said that most people have a little English where ever you go.

Aly said...

Such a great story! I wish I could attend one, but they don't do them in my country *sigh*