August 10, 2016
Let me to tell you why I think conferences are important:
- To improve your craft. I actually learned about dialogue/action tags from Julia Quinn at an RWA conference. You read that right Julia freaking-fabulous Quinn!!!
- To fill your writer’s well. Where else can you find a group of 2,000 (or more) people all in the same place who are as passionate about your love as you are? That sort of energy can carry you for months when you are back at home writing by yourself.
- To teach you about your career. Where else will you be able to listen to experts in marketing, branding, and publishing from those who are deep in the trenches and winning the battles?
- To tell you what you need to hear. Story after story about resilience and love will remind you not to give up. Big authors with names like Roberts, Howard, Macomber, Krentz…on and on the list goes…have spoken to ME personally (and the thousands of others in the room) about how they fought through the doubts, fears, and publishing twists and turns to get to where they are today. Lordy, the guest speakers always give me goosebumps and bring tears to my eyes.
- To remind you that you are not alone. Every crowded elevator, gift shop, pool deck, hotel bar is full of people just like you. Ask a question and you get an answer. A real one, not the stuff you read on Facebook, but an honest-to-goodness answer. Or three.
- To give you someone to talk to after the conference. I always make new friends at conferences. I keep their contacts and reconnect by email or Facebook. It’s amazing. Plus, when some of the same friends show up at the next conference it’s like old home week. Big love.
- To give you the chance to pitch to and meet agents and editors that are sometimes unavailable other ways. It’s terrifying and exhilarating all at once. But if you get the chance, you should do it.
- To enter the contests.
Have I convinced you yet?
What if you don’t have the funds to go to a big conference like RWA 2017? Then go to a small one. Sometimes the smaller, more intimate conferences are the way to go.
My budget doesn’t allow for many conferences.
I allow myself to go to a big conference every other year. I HAD to go in 2015 because I was a finalist in the RITA. Hello! I wasn’t about to skip the champagne and caviar wishes that time. I was up against J.D. Robb, for heaven’s sake! There was no way in heckolla that I’d miss the conference even if the flight alone cost a kidney and I didn’t own a ballgown. Still, it was in New York! I’d never been and was chomping at the bit to see the Big Apple for myself. I’ve dreamed of seeing a show on Broadway since I was a little girl. So I bought my sparkly gown from some factory outlet in China, squeezed into it, and had the time of my life.
Here I am after seeing Kinky Boots, on Broadway, which was amazing.
In 2016, I HAD to go to RWA again. Had to I say!
This time it was in San Diego. I could drive to it. Do you know what this means? I explained to the hubby that I could take as many suitcases as I could fit in the car. I didn’t even need to try on the clothes to see if they fit before I shoved them in there–which might have been a bit of a mistake since several of the dresses had somehow shrunk in the closet since I wore them last year. More importantly, I had room for books!! Not everyone knows this, but they give away books FOR FREEEEEE at these things. Oh, even better, sometimes the authors (big, favorite, fan girl screaming authors) actually sign them for you before handing them to you. Holy craziness people!
The hotel in San Diego was right on the marina.
Here I am trying my luck at a selfie from my balcony. My kids say I suck at selfies.
Somehow I have to find a reason to HAVE to go to RWA next year.