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ARRC2011 needs you!

1 March 2011

Why you should go to the convention — even if only for the book signing

by Kate Cuthbert

Back in 2008, when the first Australian Romance Readers Convention was announced, the excitement, momentum, and goodwill ran high. Everyone involved in the romance community recognised the importance of what was being attempted, and everyone wanted to be involved. This is the nature of brand new, exciting, never-before-attempted ventures.

Since then, ARRA has worked tirelessly to continue to promote romance and to facilitate meetings of romance readers, as well as opportunities for romance readers to met their favourite authors. The awards dinner in Sydney, the book signing at the RWA conference, and many, many lunches, are just some examples.

The association has continued to grow, expand, initiate, and evolve, all to the benefit of romance readers.

But the nature of new and exciting ventures is that eventually the new wears off. People begin to take what was once unheard of for granted. But the road to a thriving romance community in Australia is still rocky, and we need you—yes, you—to help continue to pave it.

The convention is an excellent example. There are so many reasons not to go—it’s not in your city, the cost is a bit high, there are family obligations to consider, it’s hard to get time off work. But have you considered the consequences of not going?

I’m not going to go on about how unbelievable it is to be in a room that not only accepts, but fully supports, understands, and wants to talk about your love of romance fiction. The thrill of meeting authors of international calibre that are there to meet you—yes, you, their readers; the ones who make it all possible—or the quality of the panels, the frivolity of the cocktail party, and the secret joy of the unexpected, like 2009’s impromptu pyjama party. The high of the convention will last for weeks, you will make life-long friends, and you will never forget it. This is all true, but it’s not what I’m going to talk about.

I’m going to talk more about what ARRA, and the convention, mean and how important your support is, once the newness wears off. The convention is two years of hard work, and the enormous dedication of dozens of people. It’s expensive to organise—because the organisers pay out of their pocket. It’s expensive for the authors—because they too pay their way and their hotels. It’s late nights and cold calls and pushing an agenda that just isn’t popular here.

Australia doesn’t have the romance community of the US—we just don’t have the population. So we can’t think to ourselves, ‘oh, someone else will step in’. There isn’t someone else. There’s only us, and what we are willing to do.

So if you love your association, you love what it represents, love what it means, love the opportunity it provides; if you want to continue to attract your favourite authors from both Australia and overseas, to get the chance to meet them and let them know how much their books mean to you; if you love meeting other romance readers, being able to discuss books, offer recommendations and talk about books to avoid; if you love romance, and want to show that love, consider why you’re not going to the convention. And then reconsider, because ARRC2011 needs you!

(And, really, don’t you deserve a treat?)

Kate Cuthbert is a reader, writer, reviewer, twitter-er, blogger, and starter of readers’ groups, all devoted (mainly) to romance novels. You can contact her through The Australian Romance Reader or follow her on Twitter @katydidinoz.

  1. Aimee permalink
    3 March 2011 9:16 am

    Can’t wait, it is going to be so much fun!

  2. Barbara permalink
    2 March 2011 7:52 pm

    I did not go to ARRC2009 but heard so much about it so I have to go to this one. I suppose I am lucky this time as it is in Bondi and I live in the metropolitan area of Sydney but I an going to stay at the Swizz Grand…. I am not going to miss out LOL

  3. Helen permalink
    1 March 2011 8:36 pm


    The countdown is on till all the fun starts and I agree I started saving for this one straight after ARRC09 because I wasn’t going to miss it

    Come on everyone join in

    Have Fun

  4. 1 March 2011 6:50 pm

    As I have a book coming out in April in Australia (Starting Over), I’d love to be at the convention! It’s hard for a British writer to get to, though, and I am already working at a conference on the dates. But I am secretly hoping to get to the next one …

    • Helen permalink
      1 March 2011 8:37 pm

      Hi Sue

      I do so hope you can make the next one we have we would love to meet you

      Have Fun

      • 1 March 2011 9:29 pm

        I have already talked to my publisher and a fellow Choc Lit writer about it … Very tenuous at this point, though.

        Thanks for making me welcome.

  5. Chris permalink
    1 March 2011 5:52 pm

    You tell ’em Kate! I agree wholeheartedly with all your sentiments! The first conference was an absolute blast. The euphoria of spending unlimited time with fellow romance devotees was amazing and lasted for ages afterwards. So much so that as soon as I arrived home, I started making contingency plans for ARRC 2011. I started saving then and there as there was no way I was going to miss another high like that!
    It’s a bit daunting, but all the travel plans are in place.
    A four hour drive to our nearest large airport (we, Rose and myself, decided against flying to Melbourne from our local airport…..the cost of return tickets was extremely prohibitive…one ticket cost the same as both our return tickets to Sydney!) an hour and a bit on the plane and then to the Swiss Grand. We’ll have been in three states on the one day and all to make sure we get to share in the wonderful camaraderie of the event!
    Looking forward to seeing everyone there,

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