Issued by Romance Writers Organisation of South Africa

guest-post8 July 2015

ROSACon 2015 – South Africa to hold second romance writers conference in September

Forget the old phrase about bodice ripping, romance novels are serious business. With an estimated total sales in 2013 of US$1,08 billion (source: BookStats), and growing year on year, this industry primarily run by women, for women and about women, is empowering a whole new generation of romance authors and readers.

It is not surprising then, that many aspiring South African writers want to get into this market. Achieving success in the business is not that easy, however, and so a group of South African romance writers have founded a non-profit organisation, Romance writers Organisation of South Africa (ROSA) to provide support, encouragement, networking opportunities and professional development to all South Africans seriously pursuing a career as romance authors.

ROSA represents the genre of romantic fiction within Southern Africa, and is open to both published and unpublished authors of all languages.

Last year the romance writing organisation hosted ROSACon2014, South Africa’s first ever romance writers’ conference in Johannesburg. Delegates attended a wide range of talks and workshops, including an overview of publishing by ROSA Chairperson and HarperCollins author, Romy Sommer, presentations on “how to stand out from the slush pile”, “8 simple rules for writing dialogue”, “the evolution of erotica” and many more. Delegates were also provided with the opportunity to make on-line Skype pitches to editors from top romance publishers, Harper Impulse and Harlequin (Mills & Boon), and to a literary agent in the US.

“While the internet and eBooks have opened South Africans up to a global market, making publishing easier or more accessible than ever before, it is important that we polish our writing style and keep up with international publishing trends,” says Sommer. “Romance readers have been early adopters of new technologies, with as many as 40% of romance readers in the US buying their books as e-books. They’re hungry for new settings such as ours, and for new voices, and we South African authors have an incredible opportunity to put ourselves on the global map.”

Last year at ROSACon 2014, one of South Africa’s most successful self-published authors, Rachel Morgan, shared the secrets of her writing and e-publishing success with ROSA members.

Morgan stressed the importance of investing in a good cover design to successfully sell on Amazon, and recommended that writers publish series in order to attract and build a readership. She emphasised the need to be flexible, saying that self-published authors need to keep up-to-date on changes in the “indie” publishing market, and adapt as the market and rules change. She also shared her tips for online self-promotion, all of which have led to her being able to make a “comfortable” living as a self-published author.

This year ROSA is hosting its second conference, ROSACon2015, at the Devon Valley Hotel in Stellenbosch on 25 to 26 September 2015. The two-day conference features presentations and workshops in both English and Afrikaans, and will provide romance writers with the opportunity to pitch to even more literary agents and editors from top romance publishing houses.

This year’s conference will include a much stronger presence of Afrikaans authors, including big names like Chanette Paul, Dr Malene Breytenbach and one of the conference organisers, Elsa Winckler, who is published in both English and Afrikaans.

The English-speaking guest speakers include KwaZulu-Natal-based author Joss Wood sharing her experiences of writing for Harlequin Mills and Boon, paranormal romance author Rae Rivers, and ROSA deputy chairperson, Rebecca Crowley, who will be talking about “Options for authors today”.

“ROSACon2015 promises to be even bigger and better than last year’s conference” says Sommer, “and it’s all set against the stunning backdrop of the Stellenbosch vineyards.”

To find out more about ROSA, go to: www.romancewriters.co.za

To register for ROSACon2015, contact admin@romancewriters.co.za

To arrange an interview with South African romance writers, contact Romy Sommer at romy@romancewriters.co.za

Romance Writers Organisation of South Africa (ROSA) is a non-profit organisation founded to provide support, encouragement, networking opportunities and professional development to authors of romantic fiction in and around South Africa, and to represent the genre of romantic fiction within Southern Africa. The organisation is open to both published and unpublished authors of all languages.

ROSA Website: www.romancewriters.co.za

ROSA Blog: http://saromancewriters.blogspot.com

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