Last week I blogged about how nervous I was to attend the Romance Writers of America National Conference in Anaheim. To everyone who left a comment, THANK YOU! I read all of them, but iPad and I disagreed on how best to display my replies, so they weren’t posted. I’m so sorry about that. This post is a longer version of what I tried to say to each one of you.
The weekend was a whirlwind of meeting online friends who became instant real-world friends, filling my brain with more writerly goodness than I know what to do with, and having the chance to meet rockstars in the writing community.
My notebook is filled with scribbles spanning the page with quotes like, ‘Write your passion!’ which sounds so simple, but really if we aren’t passionate about our work, who will be? On pitching I wrote this gem, ‘Practice! Make it as conversational as possible.’ Well, duh. But then we were told over and over again how much the agents wish writers would sit down and talk with them. Not read a pitch from a scrap of paper.
I learned new catch words like, ‘Street Team’, which is apparently a group of highly motivated people who help an author get the word out. I’m not sure if it actually has anything to do with a street, but it seemed more like a group of friends willing to send out tweets, FB posts, etc. to promote your work. Even though I’m confused on the specifics, I found myself longing for a Street Team of my own.
In a workshop about building reader loyalty, this struck me as profound, ‘Balance your “Celebrity” by asking about them. Engage them in conversation not just about yourself, but their interests.’ Again, so simple, but how easy is it to forget this?
As for writing romance, we were reminded that, ‘For women the relationship includes sex. For men, the relationship starts with sex.’ Women tend to think sex is an expression of love where men, well not so much. Natalie Hartford has a hilarious video on her blog that talks about the differences in the way men and women approach sex. If you haven’t seen it yet, don’t drink anything while watching it. Fair warning!
I wrote pages and pages of awesomeness that I got from all the workshops at the conference. Way too much for one blog, but be assured I’ll have future posts to share what I learned.
In case you’re worried that the conference was all work and no play, let me just put those concerns to rest.
They were only the beginning… soon enough I was joined by Debra Kristi, Melinda VanLone, Bethany Lopez, Kate Wood, and Tracey Livesay. All except Bethany (who didn’t attend the conference, she just came for the literacy fundraiser) became my near-constant companions for the entire weekend. I can honestly say I haven’t laughed so hard in years. These women are intelligent, beautiful, and have damn fine senses of humor. Which worked in my favor since I can be a bit of an idiot at times. Shocker, I know!
Even though she didn’t attend the conference, my gal pal Gayle Carline stopped by for some drinks Friday night. My SCWC friend Rick Ochocki and his lovely wife Linda were also there. I swiped this pic of Rick from his facebook page because, well he’s in a kilt! Also, he’s standing with Nora Roberts (in her hand is her RITA award).
I could gush on and on about the folks I met, from James Rollins to an erotica writer I saw in line and went all fangirl over. That’s a post for another day. In all, it was an amazing weekend and this is one conference I’ll always attend. Next year it will be in Atlanta, I hope to see all of you there!
Here are some other fabulous posts about the RWA conference. As more come in, I’ll update the links.
- Jami Gold gives you Social Media: An Introvert’s Secret Weapon
- Tari Lynn at From Fact to Fiction took five pairs of shoes to RWA. Find out why here.
- Virginia at Adventures in Writing has some great advice about attending conferences in her Tuesday Tip