Readers at Sea

I just came from the Florida Romance Writers cruise conference aboard the Liberty of the Seas. For a full report and photos, check my personal blog later in the week:


What I want to talk about here are the readers onboard. In this era of electronic games, apps, and programs, it’s heartening to see people lying on lounge chairs and reading books. Some perused print editions and others had iPads or Kindles or other devices. No matter the method of delivery—what counts was the proliferation of readers out there.


When people do have leisure time, many folks still choose to pick up a book. That makes me, a writer, feel good about the world. Despite the doomsday predictions and the bookstore closings, people are still interested in storytelling. The method of delivery may be evolving, but the love of fiction remains.


This observation was reinforced during a booksigning event we had on board. It was held with ten authors in a dining room and was advertised in the daily newsletter. As a result of the notice, readers flocked into our venue and left with stacks of books. I’d only brought 12 copies of Killer Knots, my cruise ship mystery, and I sold out. Imagine! I did better here than at most other conferences. And had I brought along a few of my romances, I bet I’d have sold those too.




The picture above shows our charming keynote speaker, Charlaine Harris, author of the Sookie Stackhouse novels that are the basis for the True Blood TV series.

I’m hoping that this enthusiastic passenger response will prompt RCCL to welcome such an event again. Their gift shop personnel sold the books and the cruise line took a percentage, so it’s to their benefit to repeat the experience. The readers are out there, it’s just a matter of connecting with them.


When you’re on vacation, do you check out the pool area to see what people are reading? Have you ever seen someone reading YOUR book?

24 thoughts on “Readers at Sea

  1. Sounds like a glorious cruise, Nancy! I’m one of those people who tries to slyly check out what my neighbors are reading on airplanes. I love it when I spot someone reading a book by a TKZ author!

  2. Great & fun idea. I would have wanted to go on the cruise. Maybe an author cruise where you land at spots to do signings between conga lines. Fun post, Nancy. I really need a vay-kay.

  3. This was a four day cruise so it didn’t take us away for too long. Now I’m ready to go back to work. Jordan if you need a break, take one or two days off. Even that much will refresh you.

  4. Clive Cussler tells a great story concerning three different sightings of people reading his novels, and the individual disasters which ensued. It’s too long to go into here, but it was hilarious.

    I don’t believe that Jordan needs a vacation, by the way. Anyone who has ever hung with her at Bouchercon knows that wherever she is will be Point A in Fun City.

  5. Sounds fabulous – I’ve never been on a cruise but on vacation I am a voracious reader. There’s something so liberating about having actual time to read and I’ve noticed that other folks are out reading – love seeing those kindles out on planes, beaches and by the pool:) Heartening to know that the book isn’t dead yet!

  6. Clare, you need to try a Caribbean cruise. There’s nothing more relaxing. When we’re on a cruise just for vacation, I look forward to reading time. How liberating, as you say, to be able to lie around and read without our everyday pressures.

  7. Sounds like a great idea for a vacation! It’s good to know that there are shiploads of people who know that you get something from books that you can’t get anywhere else.

  8. Okay! That’s it. We need a KILLZONE CRUZE (KZC)! And what if somebody vanishes during the cruise? Why, what could have happened to them? What sleuths might paraglide down to solve the problem and save us from the nuclear mines strapped to the bottom of the ship by some demented evil-doer?

    Or maybe I can talk my cigar supplier in Tampa into doing a CIGAR CRUZE to La Romana.

    Any takers?

  9. I haven’t caught someone reading mine, but did have two cool happenstances a while back. First was when a guy at my office told me he heard from author Scott Sigler about a new author who put his books out as podcast audiobooks and he loved the first one he’d started listening to.

    “Can’t remember the writer’s name but it’s titled “Karl’s Last Flight” and…hey! That’s the book cover on your cabinet door. You read it too?”

    “Yeah, a couple times actually.”

    He looked closer and saw my name on the cover and has been like a puppy trying to dig out details of my next books ever since.

    Another time a friend called to tell me she saw a couple reading 65 Below on a airplane. She said they were actually reading the same copy of the book together, making sure both were done before turning the page.

    Made me feel kinda warm & fuzzy that folks like all my blood & blades & guns & killing like that.

    leaves me just…ya know…nice feeling inside.

  10. On you other point: The closest thing to a cruise I’ve been on are the all day sea life cruises in Prince William Sound. The first two times were nice, calm seas, lots of whales, orcas, porpoises, and other sea life to enjoy. Last summer though we went on the cruise from hell. While we saw more whales than I’d seen at once before, our little 80 foot rain battered boat was tossed about on up to 7 foot seas for 2/3 of the trip. It was the only time in all my years in that water that I’ve ever been seasick.

    Reading or catching anybody reading was out of the question that day.

    • You notice the motion a lot less on a large cruise ship. Most of the time, you couldn’t even tell we were sailing, the ship was so steady. There’s even an ice show onboard.

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