10 Reasons Why You Should Go to the RWA Conference

June 1, 2011

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!