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Week Eight - Closing Comments

November 23, 2009 | Deborah Cooke | Comments (3)

Wow. I can't believe the residency is nearly over. It's been quite the whirlwind these past eight weeks for me and I hope that this blog has been helpful to all of you. I was honoured to read so many submissions, and pleasantly surprised by the calibre of your work.

Thanks to all of you who have been stopping by the blog regularly and especially to those of you who have posted questions and comments. I also am indebted to all of my guest bloggers, and thank them for taking the time to not just contribute to the blog but to stop by and answer questions.

It was wonderful to see the Toronto Public Library offer a residency focussed on the romance genre, and I am honoured to have been the first writer chosen for this position. I hope that we've set a precedent for repeating this residency in future, and shown the library the level of enthusiasm for the romance genre.

One of the challenges for the romance genre within many libraries is visibility. Because romance is often published as mass market originals, and because mass market titles are often not catalogued by title - they circulate as "Mass Market Fiction" or "General Fiction", mingled with all other books in mass market format - there are no circulation statistics in those libraries for the genre. Without those stats, it's hard to assess the popularity of the genre. In other genres, like mystery, the book might have been published in two formats - so the hard cover edition will be catalogued, but the mass market edition won't be. There are still statistics for the title, though, because of the hard cover edition. Romance is very seldom published in hard cover, which is why you will find very few copies of my books, for example, listed in the TPL catalogue, even though there are many many copies of my books in the library's collections. What this means is that it's particularly wonderful that the library realized how important the romance genre is to its patrons, then went one step farther to make this residency possible. Thanks to TPL!

Finally, a comment for those of you who are aspiring writers. Think about joining Romance Writers of America, and the local chapter or RWA, Toronto Romance Writers. This group is tremendous source of information about markets and trends, and the local group is very supportive. You can find critique partners through TRW and attend workshops taught by industry professionals, as well as receiving a newsletter and having the option to join a number of TRW listserves. This is a great resource for writers, not just of romance, but of genre fiction.

Still up this week - we have a Q&A day on Wednesday, as well as some final comments from me about the work I critiqued for the residency. The closing reception is on Thursday evening, and there's a final guest blog from Eloisa James on Friday.


Toronto Public Library's Romance Writer-In-Residence Deborah Cooke discusses writing and getting published in the romance genre.

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