The 2016 Nielsen Romance Book Summit
At the RWA Annual Conference
Thursday, July 14th 2016
8:30 AM - 4:30 PM
Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina
333 West Harbor Drive | San Diego, California 92101
There is no area in publishing today more transformed by digital than Romance. EBooks, social media and an explosion of great content have made it easier than ever for Romance Readers to enjoy reading what they want, when they want, and at a range of prices that make even the most voracious romance habit affordable.
At the same time, those who make their living off Romance—publishers, authors and agents—are facing some big challenges as they struggle for discovery in a saturated landscape, wrestle with the complexities of an increasingly diverse marketplace and work to make Romance pay in a pricing climate that seems like “a race to zero.” Everyone knows there are opportunities, but the key to taking advantage of them lies in clear market knowledge and laser-focused customer insight. It’s time to talk business!
Join us for the inaugural 2016 Nielsen Romance Summit, a groundbreaking event where some of the brightest Romance publishing industry thought leaders—authors and publishing industry professionals alike—will come together in a unique event to explore important issues, examine never-before-seen data and engage in substantial discussions.
Attendees will emerge from the day with:
It promises to be a transformative day, and not to be missed!
(subject to change)
8:30 - 9:00 AM — Breakfast/Sign-in
9:00 - 9:10 AM — Welcome & Housekeeping
9:10 - 9:30 AM — Setting The Table: Why There’s Room for Everyone in the Ever-Evolving Romance Business
Presenter: Trailblazing NYT and USA Today bestselling author and attorney, Caridad Piniero
9:30 - 10:00 AM — Romance: The Market Landscape from 10,000 Feet
Presenter: Kristen McLean, Director of New Business Development, Nielsen Book
Industry expert Kristen McLean shares the latest research findings from Nielsen’s own studies, featuring an analysis of consumer trends and forecasts in the romance publishing market.
10:00 - 10:20 AM — “Aren’t All Romance Authors Millionaires?” Discussion of findings from the Romance Writers 2016 study
Presenter: Christine Larson, Stanford University and author/researcher, Romance Writers 2016: Income, Professional Practices and the Impact of Self-Publishing on Publishers and Authors Alike.
10:20 - 11:05 AM — Fireside Chat: Romance Authors Talk Shop
Writers are the fuel that powers the publishing industry, and Romance writers are some of the savviest in the business. The first breed of authors to actively embrace self-publishing and hybrid models for bringing their work to market, Romance authors continue to pursue and support the traditional route of publishing. How can authors and publishers best support one another in a dynamic and constantly changing market? Smart Bitches, Trashy Books founder and author Sarah Wendell leads this lively and candid conversation on the state of the industry from the author perspective. The group will be pulling no punches while pulling back the curtain on topics such as:
11:05 - 11:20 AM — Break
11:20 AM - 12:35 PM — Getting Down to the Business of Romance — What Are Our Opportunities? Case studies presented by industry experts and leading authors.
12:35 - 1:35 PM — Working Lunch: “What Do Romance Readers Really Want?
Panel discussion featuring:
1:35 - 2:20 PM — Fireside Chat — Romance Publishers Talk Shop
In this conversation, a leading industry journalist TBD will interview leading romance publishers and agents about the state of the industry. Featuring Deb Werksman of Sourcebooks; others TBD. Topics discussed will include:
2:20 - 2:35 PM — Break
2:35 - 2:55 PM — Embracing Diversity — Cultural Diversity Expert, Sunny Lee
2:50 - 4:10 PM — Data 20/20 and Discussion: Diversity’s Real Impact on the World of Romance Publishing
2:55 - 3:15 PM — Diversity in Romance Survey — Findings presented by author and researcher Audra North
3:15 - 3:35 PM — The Changing Face of America — Data, trends and forecasts on the U.S. multicultural market presented by Nielsen’s Courtney Jones
3:35 - 4:15 PM — Diversity Means Business
A moderated panel discussion featuring key players from the romance publishing world delving into the impact of issues of diversity on publishers, industry stakeholders, authors, readers and society at large.
4:15 - 4:45 PM — What are our takeaways? Whiteboarding and Wrap-up with the Audience
Kianna Alexander is an accomplished romance writer of more than 23 novels published in a wide variety of channels and formats. Like any good Southern belle, Kianna Alexander wears many hats: loving wife, doting mama, advice-dispensing sister, and gabbing girlfriend. She's a voracious reader, an amateur seamstress and occasional painter in oils. Chocolate, American history, sweet tea and Idris Elba are a few of her favorite things. A native of the TarHeel state, Kianna still lives there with her husband, two kids, and a collection of well-loved vintage 80s Barbie dolls.
Mary Cummings is the VP & Director of Business Development of Diversion Publishing Corp. Joining Diversion in 2011, she helped grow the backlist catalog from 12 to over 1,200 titles in four years, build the company's infrastructure, and develop publishing, marketing and growth strategies for both backlist and frontlist publishing. In 2015 Mary launched the burgeoning EverAfter Romance publishing program, which works with top-selling self-published romance authors to publish print editions with traditional sales and distribution and conjoined marketing strategies. The success of EverAfter has led to a broadening of the program and the official launch of Diversion Distribution Services, which Mary is spearheading.
Stephani Fry is the Education & Programs Manager for Romance Writers of America (RWA). She has been with RWA since 2005. She graduated from Texas Tech University with a degree in Sociology and earned her Master’s of Library Science degree in 2008. Currently, Stephani is RWA’s liaison to the bookseller and librarian communities, organizes RWA’s presence at BookExpo America and the American Library Association (ALA) Conferences, arranges the RWA Librarians Day events, serves as the staff contact for the workshop committee and RWA University, and assists with the management of the Academic Research Grant program.
Ashleigh Gardner is the Head of Writer and Publisher Partnerships at the crowd-sourced reading and writing platform, Wattpad. Ashleigh helps publishers and writers seize new engagement opportunities on Wattpad. Before joining Wattpad, Ashleigh was director of content management at Kobo, where she focused on expanding Kobo’s existing catalogue while developing new e-book stores in international markets. Prior to working at Kobo, she was manager of digital development at Dundurn Press. Ashleigh graduated from York University with a Philosophy and Law degree.
Kassia Krozser is the Executive Director, Residuals and Participations Audits at Sony Pictures Entertainment by day, and a passionate and long-standing fan of Romance by night (and on weekends.) A jack of many trades, Kassia has experience in both motion picture finance and publishing, with an emphasis on digital publishing. She has served on advisory boards for several publishing start-ups, has presented at conferences such as Tools of Change for Publishing, Digital Book World, and South by Southwest, appeared on NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, and contributed to various industry publications.
Minx Malone is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author who holds a Master’s degree in Business from a prestigious college that would no doubt be scandalized at how she’s using her expensive education. Independently published, she has sold more than 500,000 eBooks in her two series “The Alexanders” and “Blue-Collar Billionaires.” Since starting her indie journey in 2011 with the runaway bestselling novella “Teasing Trent,” her work has appeared on the The New York Times and USA Today bestseller lists more than a dozen times. She’s now a full-time writer and spends 99.8% of her time in her pajamas.
Kristen McLean (conference co-chair) is the Director of New Business Development at Nielsen Book, a part of Nielsen Entertainment, where she is responsible for developing new lines of revenue from existing products, as well as the creation of new initiatives that expand Nielsen's value to its publishing clients. Prior to joining Nielsen, she was the founder and CEO publishing start-up Bookigee. She is a 22-year veteran of the book publishing market, a serial entrepreneur, and an industry thought leader. In addition to co-chairing the Nielsen Romance Summit, Kristen also oversees the research and events activities for the Nielsen Children’s Book Summit (October 2016) and the inaugural Nielsen Audio Summit (December 2016). Kristen is deeply interested in the confluence of consumer behavior, technology, literacy and global transformation in the digital age.
Kat Meyer (conference co-chair) is the Director of Content Development and Acquisition for the Book Industry Study (BISG).Kat is a content industry veteran whose background includes 20 some odd years of community management, event curation, editorial, marketing and social media experience working for a number of diverse regional, national and international media companies, including: Publishers Weekly, Frankfurt Book Fair, Bologna Children's Book Fair, Books in Browsers, O'Reilly Media, Sourcebooks, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Net Galley, Communication Skill Builders, the University of Arizona Press, Rio Nuevo Publishers, and many others. She has chaired a number of conference projects including O'Reilly Media's Tools of Change, Books in Browsers, and Frankfurt Book Fair's CONTEC Frankfurt. Kat never tires of directing traffic at the intersection of storytelling and technology.
Caridad Pineiro is a The New York Times and USA Today bestselling author who wrote her first novel in the fifth grade when her teacher assigned a project—to write a book for a class lending library. Bitten by the writing bug, Caridad continued with her passion for the written word through high school, college and law school. Caridad is now the author of nearly 50 novels/novellas in various genres, and her novels have received acclaim and have helped redefine the landscape of modern romance novels. In 1999, Caridad was published by Kensington as part of Encanto, the first line of bilingual Latino romance novels. In 2000, Caridad was one of the first Latino authors featured at the launch of BookExpo America’s Spanish Pavilion. In December 2006, Caridad helped Silhouette launch its successful Nocturne paranormal line with Death Calls, one of the novels in the award-winning The Calling Vampire series. When not writing, Caridad is an attorney, wife and mother to an aspiring writer and fashionista.
Sarah Wendell is co-founder and current mastermind of Smart Bitches Trashy Books, one of the most popular blogs examining romance fiction. Sarah spends her days managing mayhem, reviewing romance novels, asking why all the models have their shirts open but still tucked in, and celebrating the romance genre and the women who read and write it. Sarah has appeared on Good Morning America, The Today Show, and NPR’s All Things Considered and has been a guest lecturer at Yale, Princeton and Duke Universities. She has also been part of a question on NPR’s “Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me”—twice! She is also the author of the books Everything I Know About Love, I Learned from Romance Novels, and Lighting the Flames, a Hanukkah romance novella. She is the co-author of Beyond Heaving Bosoms: The Smart Bitches’ Guide to Romance Novels. You can find Sarah on Twitter @smartbitches, on Facebook, or on her couch, most likely with her eyeglasses turned toward a book.
Deb Werksman is the Editorial Director at Casablanca Fiction, an imprint of Sourcebooks Inc. Before joining Sourcebooks, Deb had her own publishing company. She is the country's foremost editor of Jane Austen sequels, including Mr. Darcy Takes a Wife and Old Friends and New Fancies, the first-ever Austen sequel, originally published in 1914. She is deeply passionate about the business and art of Romance publishing.