2013 Wrap-Up and Looking Ahead to GRNW 2014

It’s still January, so that tells us it’s not too late to do a wrap-up post about last year, as well as look ahead to 2014 and how we can further our initiatives and projects to better spread the love about LGBT romance fiction in the Pacific Northwest. 🙂

First, we wanted to say THANK YOU to everyone who supported GRNW in 2013! Lots of things happened in our first year, and we’re so happy that you were there to be a part of it!

GRNW 2013 – Activities and Outcomes

GRNW_ButtonAvatar– We held our first Gay Romance Northwest Meet-up on September 14, 2013 at The Seattle Public Library with over 120 attendees, a keynote address, 3 panel discussions, and a hoppin’ book fest at the Hotel Monaco!

It was a FANTASTIC first conference, and thank you to everyone who came out to participate. We know we came out of nowhere last year to celebrate all that is awesome about LGBT romance fiction, so we appreciate everyone who came out to join us. 😀

– We had a huge community of support for the inaugural conference:

10 GRNW Sponsors, including Blind Eye Books, Bold Strokes Books, Dreamspinner Press, Extasy Books, Harmony Ink Press, Less Than Three Press, Riptide Publishing, Samhain Publishing, Storm Moon Press, and Torquere Press!

And 11 GRNW Community Partners, including Gay City Health Project and the Gay City LGBT Library, GeekGirlCon, Hedgebrook, Lambda Literary Foundation, Pride Foundation, Queer Geek, Rainbow Romance Writers, Rose City Romance Writers, The Seattle Lesbian, and University Book Store!

We’re very grateful to all our partners and sponsors who took a chance on supporting a brand new initiative. Thank you for being part of this adventure!

– We had an amazing group of more than 30 LGBT romance authors that joined us for the first year’s event!

Thank you to all the writers that supported GRNW during our first year and beyond! This event would not have happened without your support, participation, enthusiasm, and your belief that this event should happen!

University Book Store Reading

University Book Store Reading

– We held three reading events at the University Book Store during July and September 2013 that featured 12 GRNW authors, including Ginn Hale, Anne Tenino, Megan Derr, Kade Boehme, and Andrea Speed!

For some authors, this was their first public reading event, and we’re happy to be a part of that experience. A big part of our mission is to continually promote opportunities to connect LGBT romance to the community, encourage more awareness of the genre, and celebrate the writers, readers, publishers, and fans who are pushing queer romance forward. Hosting public reading events is a great way to connect these works to the community at large.

– 12 GRNW authors participated in our first “5 Minutes in Heaven” reading at the 2013 GRNW Meet-Up book fest, including P.D. Singer, Amelia Gormley, Eric Andrews-Katz, Rick R. Reed, and Angela Benedetti!

Books for Lambert House!

Books for Lambert House!

– We hosted two book drives in 2013, gathering 240+ books for Gay City’s LGBT Library and 150+ Young Adult LGBT books for the LGBT youth services organization Lambert House!

Donating LGBT books is an excellent way to help spread awareness. We encourage everyone to look at LGBT community resources in your area that may be in need of new books.

– We launched our GRNW GoodReads group to share news and provide a place where authors, attendees, and fans can meet and chat.

– We did 12 interviews with GRNW 2013 authors, including Nicole Kimberling, Lou Harper, Heidi Belleau, and Devon Rhodes!

– 10 authors participated in our Secret Story event on GoodReads and shared short stories with readers, including stories by Morticia Knight, Pender Mackie, Sasha L. Miller, and Lou Sylvre!

– We held our first Seattle LGBT Romance Reader Group meeting in November at Gay City!

Hosting regional reader meetings were a direct result of the 2013 Meet-Up. Attendees had requested more opportunities to meet other local readers.

– We posted the GRNW keynote address by SPL’s Marlene Harris which shares information about how to work with libraries to expand LGBT library collections: How to get LGBT Romance Books into Libraries

– We were lucky enough to have multiple media mentions about the GRNW Meet-Up and our activities, includes pieces in The Seattle Lesbian, Seattle Gay News, Dear Author, and our own article in Lambda Literary about the conference’s mission: Seattle Conference Spreads the Love about LGBTQ Romance Fiction

– GRNW lead Tracy posted her wrap-up about the 2013 Meet-up: What I learned while running a Gay Romance Conference

– During the month prior to the September conference, the Seattle Public Library added more than 240 LGBT romance ebooks to their collections, including books by most of the authors attending GRNW!

And we got the chance to work with and meet so many wonderful writers and readers who, like us, love LGBT romance fiction!

THANK YOU for joining us and being part of such an amazing year!

Gaylaxy Quest2014 and Beyond!

So, we’re into 2014 and plans are in the making to make GRNW’s second year bigger AND better than our first year.

– We held our first Portland Reader Group meeting on January 11, and boy, was it a blast! Thank you to everyone who came out to join in! There WILL be more Portland meetings in the future!

– We have our next Seattle Reader Group meeting on February 1, again at Gay City! We hope you can join us for more chatting about your favorite books!

MORE AUTHOR EVENTS! We’re planning author reading events throughout the year. Our next two are Rainbow Valentine on Feb. 13 at the University Book Store and Gaylaxy Quest on Feb. 21 at Gay City. Each event will feature four GRNW 2014 authors reading their work!

And that’s just for February! We have more reading events planned for 2014, and our goal is to expand outside of Seattle to host more events across the Pacific Northwest!

Extending our Reach with Partnerships! GRNW is working with community partners, including Gay City and Queer Geek to help host LGBT fiction events throughout the year. We’re really excited to work with the community to better spread awareness of so many authors’ works.

– We started the GRNW blog here on the website to help encourage more dialogue around the genre and offer a platform for authors and readers to share their thoughts.

2014WinterCoverV2_small-231x300– The #2 issue of Old Growth Northwest’s literary journal POPLORISH includes five of the short stories from the GRNW GoodReads group’s 2013 Secret Story event. The whole issue is free to download.

– In January 2014, we started the first GRNW GoodReads Round Robin story project with 11 authors participating! Already, part 1 and part 2 have been posted!

GRNW_ButtonAvatarGRNW Meet-Up 2014!

And of course, we’re gearing up for the big event on September 20, 2014. Plans are still in development to make it even more awesome, but here’s a sneak peak of what’s coming:

– We have over 50 authors signed up to attend!

– We’ll be back at the wonderful Seattle Public Library in the middle of downtown Seattle in their Microsoft Auditorium. (Seats 275)

– The main conference will again be during the afternoon and will feature panel discussions with authors and publishers and a keynote address, along with Q&As with the audience.

– In the morning, we’ll be hosting workshops for writers, a special “Readers Rumpus” meet-up for readers, and author pitch sessions with attending publishers.

– After the conference, we’ll be back at the Hotel Monaco across the street from the library for the Happy Hour book fest where attendees can meet with authors and get books signed. (And free swag!)

MCWLib– We’ll be working again with Gay City on another book drive during the conference for the Gay City LGBT Library. (So save up your book donations! There will be prizes for donors!)

– And we’ll be hosting an after party that will feature more fun times and special readings!

– We already have a wonderful group of GRNW Sponsors on board for 2014, including Blind Eye Books, Bold Strokes Books, Decadent Publishing, Dreamspinner Press, Extasy Books, Harmony Ink Press, Less Than Three Press, Loose Id, MLR Press, Riptide Publishing, and Samhain Publishing! (Let us know if you would like to come on board to help support GRNW 2014!)

– We have a fantastic team of GRNW Community Partners on board for 2014, including Gay City and the Gay City LGBT Library, Lambda Literary, Pride Foundation, Queer Geek, Rainbow Romance Writers, Rose City Romance Writers, and The Seattle Lesbian! (Let us know if you would like to join us as a Community Partner!)

September 20, 2014 will be a BUSY day, but we think it will be amazing, and we hope you can join us in sunny Seattle on that Saturday!

For those wondering about tickets, registration will open up in Spring 2014. Tickets to GRNW 2013 were $25 (and just $15 for the early bird rate!) Tickets to the 2014 conference will be around the same price, and yes, the tickets will include entrance to all the events.

And like in 2013, GRNW 2014 is a volunteer-run initiative. All funds raised, whether through tickets, ads, or sponsorships, go directly to funding the conference and related GRNW activities.

It’s going to be a great year! We hope you will join us in all these festivities and be a part of the celebration around LGBT romance fiction!

To 2014 and beyond!

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