10 Reasons Why You Should Go to the RWA Conference

Song of the Day: Here I Go Again by Whitesnake

For romance writers, conference season is upon us. Authors from all over the world, the superstars to the newly aspiring, will converge in New York City later this month for Romance Writers of America’s 31st annual conference.

Yes, MuseTrackers, I will be there to lay waste. With this year’s theme Bright Lights, Big Stories, I’m prepared to wow the Big Apple with my unique personality and overall awesomeness, aka my “brand”. Okay, that’s a loooong stretch. However, I have set aside my general fear of flying (again) and the excitement is seeping in.

This will be my third year attending. I don’t claim to be all-knowing (quiet down, those of you in the peanut gallery), but I think it’s safe to say I’ve learned enough to share a few tidbits with you. And so, with the dash of snark you have come to expect from me, I give you—

10 Reasons Why You Should Go to the RWA Conference

1. The People. Meet new like-minded crazies. Think about it, 2,000+ people who listen to the voices in their heads, just like you. You can also connect with the friends you’ve made online. New friends, old friends, the potential is there to make life-long friends, which will be handy when sharing padded cells.

2. The Energy. Whoo boy. The energy crackles. It’s contagious. There is no cure. You are so giddy from all the excitement, you want to write, write, write.

3. Pitching. If someone doesn’t ask about your book or what you write, you must still be in your hotel room. There is a very, very good chance you will pitch, even if you do not have an appointment to do so with an agent or editor. You may be standing in line, you may be at the bar, you may be in the restroom, but you will be asked. And you never know who is listening. I’ve heard many stories of how a casual conversation led to an industry pro asking for submissions.

4. Workshops Galore. There is a workshop for every facet of writing. Craft, research, business, the writer’s life, chats, publishing, and more, there is something for everyone.  If that wasn’t incentive enough, I’ll be presenting at one of those workshops. Look for me at Road to Novel Completion: Potholes, Pit Stops, and Poppy Fields, Oh My! You won’t want to miss that, right?

5. Industry Spotlights. Be in the know about publishers. Listen to the editors, get to know their personalities, find out what they are looking for and what they are not, and ask questions. These spotlights go a long way in helping determine a good fit, and the inside knowledge is valuable. Wasn’t it School House Rock that said Knowledge Is Power?

6. Girl Crushes. Stargaze at the famous, meet your favorite authors, and go ga-ga over those who inspire.

7. Networking, baby.  Go to the retreats. Get to know everyone. Let them get to know you. Be a sponge and listen closely. Share information and insights. Participate – actively. This is a biggie in my book. You never know when opportunity will strike. Assume it will strike at any moment. Last year, I played a Mad Libs – type game sponsored by Grand Central Publishing and won. My prize, a critique by two GCP editors. Now, that’s golden. You should be green with envy.

8. The Parties. All work and no play makes (insert crazy writer’s name) a dull boy/girl. So play! Publishers, chapters, organizations, and individuals hold all sorts of merrymaking revelry. Some even have themes. RWA holds a fancy awards ceremony, too. Great excuses to show off your swanky new digs. Bonus: more networking.

9. The Freebies. Publishers host book signings and all the books are freeeeeeee. Romance queens and brand new authors alike will gladly sign your copy. Last year, I picked up books as gifts for the readers in my family. I also collected some for a raffle basket at my child’s school fundraiser. Did I mention the books are freeeeeeee?

10. It’s a Tax Write-off. Yep, the entire affair is tax deductible. The registration, travel, hotel stay, food, the whole shebang is a write off.

Enhance you career, network, and have fun, this is the goal. Be looking for my next post covering the conference do’s followed by the don’ts.

Want to add to the list? Got more reasons to attend? Please share!

20 Responses to 10 Reasons Why You Should Go to the RWA Conference

  1. I’m so excited about this year’s conference! The workshops, the writers, the excitement, the CITY- all together is calling my name loud and clear! As many of you know, I’ve gone through a rough patch with my writing because of family deaths and taking care of an aging parent. Here’s hoping the creative muse and desire to write more consistently is floating around in New York.
    I know I’ll also be useful as I’m flying with Jenn and she can squeeze my arm during take off and landing…maybe a few drinks thrown in too!!!!


  2. jbrayweber says:

    Maybe your creative muse could join us in a drink or two, Stacey. Then we can all get happy while throwing caution literally to the wind as we fly 36,000 feet in the air. 🙂
    I’m looking forward to another awesome conference with my partner in crime. (That’s you, btw.)


  3. Amanda Brice says:

    I’m so excited! I can’t believe it’s less than a month away!


  4. jbrayweber says:

    I KNOW, Amanda. It’s going to be so much fun. Can’t you just hear all the giggles?


  5. You had me at Whitesnake.


  6. jbrayweber says:

    A woman after my heart. Thanks for stopping by, Jamie! 😉


  7. Wish I was going, Jenn! I’ve been to the last three, but my son is graduating at the same time. As Conference comes closer, I get more excited for you all!


  8. jbrayweber says:

    Aw shucks, Bev. I’ll miss you. But your son only graduates once and that trumps conference. There’s always next year. 🙂


  9. Rita Henuber says:

    I’m amazed when people say they won’t go until they have sold. Really? That’s the big reason to go – to make contacts, learn, and raise the chances of selling


  10. jbrayweber says:

    Agreed! I was only in my 2nd year of RWA when I went to my first RWA conference in Washington DC. Being a GH finalist, I was going hell or high water. 🙂 It was the best experience and I walked away with so much knowledge, I swear I could fly. . But best of all, I met wonderful friends just like you, Rita. (big bear hug)


  11. I’ve always wanted to go and hope I get to….


  12. jbrayweber says:

    It’s expensive, that’s for sure. But worth every penny saved. I sure hope to see you there someday, too. In 2014, the conference will be in San Antonio. THAT will be a great time to go. San Antonio is a perfect place to vacation, too.


  13. William says:

    Jenn and Stacey on the loose in Manhattan? Lord Help the Big Apple…:)


  14. jbrayweber says:

    Hardee-har-har, Will. 🙂 Just think of the damage we could do.


  15. I’ve only been to one, but the experience was life changing! Wish I could be there to keep you two out of trouble!! LOL 🙂


  16. jbrayweber says:

    I’m not fooled, Missy. If you were going it would be THREE times the trouble. Wish you could be there, too.


  17. Gwyn says:

    Can’t wait to see everyone!


  18. jbrayweber says:

    I’ll be there rooting you on to take the 2011 Golden Heart in the Historical category. It will be great to see you again, Gwynlyn.


  19. Hi, Jenn! You’ve covered it all. It’s going to be a fantastic conference. I agree with Rita–conferences are fantastic for the unpubbed. There’s so much to learn. And, yes, so many freebies to pick up! 🙂


  20. jbrayweber says:

    Hi Vanessa~
    Conferences are such a great resource for any author, pubbed and unpubbed. And I say that about local conferences, too. The business of writing and publishing is constantly changing and there is so much to learn. No sense in going through it alone when you’ve got, or can make, friends. Thank for stopping in, Ruby sis.


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