The annual Gay Romance Northwest Meetup was held on Saturday, and it was once again a full day of celebrating all things queer romance! It’s always great to see readers, authors, and publishers come together to celebrate the drama.
This year’s theme #LoveWins, brought us a keynote focused on the readers. Extending from last year’s keynote–Write With Pride–this year, the topic was Read With Pride, and readers shared what reading with pride means for them. The stories underscored that for many readers, the genre is way more important than just simply finding entertainment. For so many, it is about finding our stories or about expanding our horizons. The genre fills an important need that cannot be found in “mainstream” media.
To close out the keynote, attendees were asked to write down their thoughts on what they love about the genre and to share the ways they would hope to see the genre grow. These were collected to help inform the discussion for the closing session.
From there, I attended an excellent panel entitled “Writing a Historical, Fantasy, or Sci-Fi? Do your Research – And How!” moderated by J. Tullos Hennig with Astrid Amara, Ginn Hale, Heather Rose Jones, and Christopher Hawthorne Moss. They shared their strategies (and passion!) for research, world building, and creating authentic stories, no matter the setting.
The second panel of the day was “Traditional or Self-Publishing? Which Route to Choose?” Authors and editors shared their perspectives on the differences between traditional and self-publishing, and the reasons why an author may choose one or the other–or to go with a hybrid publishing formula.
The closing session featured Austin Chant, Laylah Hunter, Alex Powell, and Karelia Stetz-Waters discussing questions that came up from participants’ responses earlier in the day. Discussions ranged from increasing diversity in the genre, writing intersectional identities, bringing queer stories mainstream, and telling more stories of day-to-day queer life. The takeaway here is that fans of the genre need to do our part in helping it continue to grow–whether that’s introducing new people to the stories, buying books or requesting them through our libraries, or letting authors and publishers know we want more.
From there, I went to the book festival, which is always a great chance to get to visit with the authors who are in attendance. I find they are always super approachable, willing to discuss their work, and very appreciative of their fans.
But I would be remiss if I didn’t talk about some of the things I walked away with:
All in all, it was a great day and I look forward to next year’s event. In the meantime, though, I look forward to exploring and sharing a love of books–and particularly a love of queer stories–with all of you.