This summer, Romance Writers of America (RWA) will be holding their national conference in Orlando, Florida. I had initially intended to skip this conference, planning instead to be in studying in Oxford at that time. Regrettably however, the class I enrolled in was cancelled (gasp!) and my second choice – “Lovers and Libertines, Spinsters and Spendthrifts, Radicals and Reformers: The Treatment of Love and Money in Selected 19th Century Novels” – was full. Who’d have thought it?
Oxford’s loss was Orlando’s gain and I was able to register for the RWA conference and, amazingly, book a room at the conference hotel. This week the preliminary list of conference workshops was released, so I’ve been going through them, deciding which ones I want to attend so I can make the most of my conference investment.
“The RWA Conference is the place where career-focused romance writers meet, mingle, and get down to the business of being an author.”
Like previous years, the workshops are organized into tracks – career, chat, craft, marketing, publishing, etc. – but there are also new in-depth “Level Up” workshops specifically tailored to help writers take their careers to the next level. One of the most interesting offerings planned for this year’s conference is the 20/20 Expert Hour:
“One room, three 20-minute sessions. Each listed session repeats three times, so pick your top three sessions for a jam-packed hour of education!”
I’m leaning toward attending the “Social Media” Expert Hour (it applies to both my writing goals and my day job), though the Historical and Pitching hours are equally tempting. Decisions, decisions. One thing I know will definitely be on my list is Jayne Ann Krentz and Susan Elizabeth Phillips’ “The Girls Who Played with Fire” workshop in the Career track. The two of them put on a great workshop that, if history is any guide, is sure to be standing-room-only.
One of the biggest draws of the conference is the chance to network, both with other writers and with industry professionals. Writing can be a very solitary experience, so it’s nice to get a chance to interact with real live people now and again. A number of other Eight Ladies will be at the conference as well as several writer friends, so it will be a great chance to reconnect and, fingers crossed, fit in a few brainstorming sessions. I also have a friend up for a RITA award (the writer’s equivalent of an Oscar), so I’m looking forward to cheering her during the awards ceremony.
Depending on my luck during the sign up period in May, I’m hoping my conference experience will include pitching to an editor/agent. In preparation for that possibility, my plan for the next few months is to buff and polish up my Regency manuscript and practice my pitch.
If everything goes according to plan, by the time the conference is over I’ll have learned how to level-up my career, made some new connections, had a chance to connect with some of the other Eight Ladies, and successfully convinced an agent that my manuscript is worth taking a detailed look at.
So, are you planning to attend any writer conferences/events this year and/or do you have any events you’d recommend?