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Kate StAmour
06-07-2005, 04:50 PM
To go, or not to go. I am thinking of trying to attend next month. It may be too late, but if it isn't, just how valuable IS the conference to new writers? I attended one meeting that I thought was beyond phenomenal, but I wanted to hear from folks who have attended conferences before I started to scramble around for: funds, tickets, clothes, and a worthy MS to bring with me. Anyone willing to share info?

Cathy C
06-07-2005, 06:47 PM
Well, let's see -- last year in Dallas was my first. I'd planned to attend this one in Reno, but life intervened and I had to back out of a panel, as well as attending. First, if you go, DON'T bring any ms. or WIP. Nobody will look at it, nobody will take it, and you'll annoy anyone you offer it to. If you bring ANYTHING, it should be a postcard or half-sheet that gives a short blurb about your book, plus your mailing address, phone and website (if you have one). Business cards are fine, but they don't tell someone about the book. Postcards still fit in a pocket or purse, but give you more space to talk about your WIP.

The editors and agents who attend RWA are unlike those at RT or regional conferences. If you don't already have a meeting scheduled with one, you won't get one at this late date.

I presume that you're a member of RWA? If so, and you haven't already heard, I should warn you that there are two 'HOT BUTTON' issues that are going to make the attendees very growly. The new "graphical standards" policy, and the new "definition of romance" discussion. It's already around all of the lists for the past several days, and will be boiling to the top when the conference starts. It won't be a warm and fuzzy time, if that's what you're hoping for. However, if you are interested in being involved in the "business" of romance, and increasing its visibility and stature, then you'll probably WANT to attend.

If you want more details about how an RWA conference works, just yell! :D

Cathy

Susan Gable
06-08-2005, 01:13 AM
The editors and agents who attend RWA are unlike those at RT or regional conferences. If you don't already have a meeting scheduled with one, you won't get one at this late date.


That's not necessarily true. Quite often there are still availble appointments when the conference starts - but they might not be with the editor or agent you really want to see. You can usually find something with one of the Harlequin editors simply because of the numbers game.

I'm not going to Reno - this is the first RWA conference I'll miss since my first one back in 2000. Reno just didn't turn me on, and you can't get there from here. The travel plans were going to be a real pain in the butt.

Cathy has given you great advice about NOT bringing the ms. It stays home. You're going to the conference to secure permission to submit the ms to someone. :)

Wear comfortable shoes! That's the best piece of advice I can give you. You'll be on the go all the time. Smile. Don't be afraid to talk to "strangers" - that stranger could become your new best friend, your critique partner, or editor. Asking, "What do you write?" is always a good ice-breaker. (And if you just happened to snag an editor or agent in a social situation, it's not bad form to have asked them this. <G>) Be prepared yourself to decribe your book in a short (25 words or so) catchy pitch. You never know when YOU will be asked by someone (who could be an editor or agent) "What do you write?" or "Tell me about your book."

Conference is definitely worth the money. There's so much you can learn at an RWA conference, and so many wonderful people to connect with.

If you can't go this year, start planning for next year. I believe we're in Atlanta next year. (You can find the list of future conference sites on the RWA website)

And yes, even the general meeting this year should be interesting. <G>

Susan G.

Cathy C
06-08-2005, 02:52 AM
And yes, even the general meeting this year should be interesting

<snerk> Uh, yeah. Interesting like that old Chinese curse: "May you live in interesting times."

Nice to know about the editors/agents. I already had both at my first conference, but many people told me that all of the slots were taken. It would be very nice for newbies to be able to get one late.

Definitely correct on the comfortable shoes! I bought new and regretted it immediately, so I switched to my comfy sneakers for the whole conference (except with dresses).

Here are some additional, practical tips that my wonderful co-author posted on another loop shortly after the Romantic Times conference in St. Louis. She said it was okay to post here:

here's my list of things I learned at my very first conference. These lessons are written as a guide and reminder (particularly to the lady with the memory problems, i.e., me) for the upcoming Reno conference. (This is meant to be humorous guys, but bear with me if it isn't).

1) Sleep, we don' need no stinkin' sleep.

Good thing too. Because while you're at conference, you won't be getting much. Not that you overschedule necessarily. But there are parties with cover models, and drinks with folks who actually UNDERSTAND what I do (and GASP, think it's important).

2) I am worse with names than I thought I was.

OY! OK, I know I'm bad. Really bad. I always have been. It doesn't help that I have memory problems due to an illness that get worse when I'm tired. BUT GUYS IT JUST ISN'T FAIR! I mean, one name per person OK? Not: Rachel Who, who writes under Mariah Wind for historical, Midnight Joy for erotica, and posts under Kinky5894. AARGH!!!!!

3) BRING THE CAMERA AND USE IT.

NOT for the scenery (although those cover models....) Nope. To take pictures of all those folks with the multiple names, with their name badges on. Because they are your friends, your contemporaries, and the coolest people you can imagine, and you're going to want to send thank you notes to each and every one of them, but you can't if you keep thinking of them as Rachel9458!

4) Comfortable shoes are a must! As are a luggage cart, sturdy bags for books, and LOTS of business cards to give out and a holder to GET business cards from everybody.

4B) GET BUSINESS CARDS FROM EVERYBODY.

5) Mail copies of your own books to yourself at the hotel for the signing. Maybe you'll end up wasting the postage. But then again... (my personal note: our books never arrived for the book signing! :eek: The staff of the conference scoured the entire city and found only FIVE for us to sign. Thankfully, most of the people who showed up had brought their own copy, but it was almost very messy!

6) Do NOT schedule yourself to be back at work at 8:00 a.m. on the morning you returned at 1:00 a.m. Give yourself at least a couple of days to rest up.

**********
So, how's that for a list of useful things?

Susan Gable
06-08-2005, 03:27 AM
<snerk> Uh, yeah. Interesting like that old Chinese curse: "May you live in interesting times."

Yep. That would be it. <G> I'm now kind of sad I'm not going to be there. I *am* however, making sure I send my proxy with someone I totally trust to make good decisions.


Nice to know about the editors/agents. I already had both at my first conference, but many people told me that all of the slots were taken. It would be very nice for newbies to be able to get one late.

Go to the conference registration desk and ask them about still-open appointments. Usually there's a board with a list nearby, and you can pluck an appointment tag from it and sign up on the spot. At least, that's how it always used to be done.


1) Sleep, we don' need no stinkin' sleep.

This one I disagree with, but that's just me. <G> I make sure I get sleep, but a lot of times that means sneaking off in the afternoon to grab a nap. I just don't do well without enough sleep, and no one wants to see me when I get cranky. <G>

Susan G.

veinglory
06-10-2005, 08:01 PM
the old GS thing... it pushed my buttons and I'm not even a member. Now I'm going to the US I was going to join but I've decided to wait and see how that pans out first.

Kate StAmour
06-10-2005, 09:57 PM
Thank you all so much for your input. Once I hear from my local chapter I'll make a decision. I am wondering though, what is this big "issue" y'all keep referring to? Anyone up to filling me in?

Thanks again.
Kate

Cathy C
06-11-2005, 12:57 AM
It's mostly rumor at this point anyway, and may resolve itself and become moot. Ask again on Monday and we might all know more.

veinglory
06-11-2005, 12:56 PM
Basically that there will be standards all books and websites must meet to have the RWA logo, be linked, be able to sign books at the con etc. These include not using the word 'tit' or showing a women with a ahnd over her nakeds breast. It caused a *big* stir especially amongst erotic romance writers and epublishers. I anticipate seeing some revised standards that don't exclude quite so many books...

Christine N.
06-11-2005, 04:25 PM
Is this the con in Reno next month? My publisher will be there. Check them out and say hi! :)

Kate StAmour
06-14-2005, 12:15 AM
Is this the con in Reno next month? My publisher will be there. Check them out and say hi! :)

Yes, it is in Reno. I'm still not sure if I'm going or not; I'm considering my options. Next year, it's in Atlanta and that will be a MUCH easier trip, plus the RT convention is in Daytona in May and that is another one I would like to make, but won't be able to if I do the Reno trip.

Kate

Susan Gable
06-14-2005, 09:04 PM
Yes, it is in Reno. I'm still not sure if I'm going or not; I'm considering my options. Next year, it's in Atlanta and that will be a MUCH easier trip, plus the RT convention is in Daytona in May and that is another one I would like to make, but won't be able to if I do the Reno trip.

Kate

I'm plannning on Atlanta next year. It will def. be much easier for travel for me as well. Dunno about RT. I've never done an RT, and I'm already booked to attend the Ninc conference next March (very end of March) in New Orleans. That's going to be great!

Susan G.

Cathy C
06-15-2005, 01:14 AM
Ooo! Ninc is in New Orleans in March? Too cool! I just joined (still waiting for my confirmation). I'm trying to figure out my schedule next year. I've already agreed to be a panelist at Writer's Weekend in June and my budget will only allow two.


You would definitely enjoy RT! It's more of a celebration of writing than the business of writing. Lots of parties and frolicking which was sorely lacking when I attended RWA in Dallas. It was just a lighter mood overall. Nobody was so deep into the "I am a writer and you WILL take me seriously!" Sigh...

Susan Gable
06-15-2005, 05:27 AM
Ooo! Ninc is in New Orleans in March? Too cool! I just joined (still waiting for my confirmation). I'm trying to figure out my schedule next year. I've already agreed to be a panelist at Writer's Weekend in June and my budget will only allow two.

You would definitely enjoy RT! It's more of a celebration of writing than the business of writing. Lots of parties and frolicking which was sorely lacking when I attended RWA in Dallas. It was just a lighter mood overall. Nobody was so deep into the "I am a writer and you WILL take me seriously!" Sigh...

LOL - Well, you don't find that a Ninc, either - because all the attendees are multi-published writers and most of us don't take ourselves seriously at all. (Okay, so it was like soooooo cool to hang out with some of them. You know. Like...the bigwigs. <G>)

I will tell you that the Ninc conference is shaping up to be great. The theme is Rediscovering the Magic. All kinds of cool workshops to be had - and only one workshop at a time so you don't have to decide. <G>

Did I mention I'm the registrar for the conference? <G> Yes, I did it this year, and I figured, I'd already learned so much on how to handle it that doing it for another year should be much easier. :) Hopefully that turns out to be the case.

Susan

Carlene
06-20-2005, 03:44 AM
I'm going to the convention in Reno for the first time - to see what it's like and because it's close. I live in San Diego. I've been to a LOT of conventions, seminars, classes, etc. and figure if I get bored, I'll play the slots. I did try to get an agent/editor appointment - for two weeks and could never access the RWA national website so I gave up. I've written two romances but will probably go back to my first love, mysteries or romantic suspense. Why? Both of mine are published - neither is recognized by RWA. Apparently ONLY Harlequin/Silhouette/Tor/Avalon - the biggies get recognized. I must say I've learned a lot about writing from RWA and recommend the group to everyone. I made the mistake of writing a catagory book for my first attempt, and before I could get it in front of an editor - the line closed and it wasn't right for anything else! I won't make that mistake again.

Hope we have good weather and it doesn't get TOOO hot!

Susan Gable
06-20-2005, 10:13 PM
I did try to get an agent/editor appointment - for two weeks and could never access the RWA national website so I gave up. I've written two romances but will probably go back to my first love, mysteries or romantic suspense. Why? Both of mine are published - neither is recognized by RWA. Apparently ONLY Harlequin/Silhouette/Tor/Avalon - the biggies get recognized. I must say I've learned a lot about writing from RWA and recommend the group to everyone. I made the mistake of writing a catagory book for my first attempt, and before I could get it in front of an editor - the line closed and it wasn't right for anything else! I won't make that mistake again.

!

Carlene, do try checking at the conference registration desk when you get there, asking if there are any available editor/agent appointments still open. Sometimes there are.

As to only the "biggies" being recognized by RWA, that's not true. There are a number of small presses who have met the RWA criteria to be recognized, including ImaJinn, and now Ellora's Cave. If you're writing romantic suspense, RWA has a lot to offer you, and odds are whatever publisher you end up with those will be RWA recognized. (Well, I suppose that's not true. You could go with a small pub/epub/or self-pub that's not recongized by RWA.)

As to writing category, yes, it can be very scary when lines close. I have a friend who's written around 20 books for H/S, and 3 different lines she's written for have been "canceled." :gone: :scared:

However, if you look at the sheer numbers game, you see that there are soooo many different opportunities to see a book in print with H/S that it's not a bad place to try to get into. Also, they accept unagented material, which is another plus.:Jump:

I'm wishing cool weather for everyone going to the conference! Enjoy, take notes, and come back prepared to tell us what really good workshops you liked.

Susan G.

Carlene
06-20-2005, 10:46 PM
Hi Susan,

Thanks for the reply. I was surprised when RWA didn't recognize my publisher because they are in brick & morter stores, distributed by both Ingram & Baker & Taylor. I've been writing for 26 years, and have to tell you, I write for myself! If the book gets published so much the better but I am just tooooooo tired of rejections.

Carlene

Susan Gable
06-20-2005, 11:06 PM
Thanks for the reply. I was surprised when RWA didn't recognize my publisher because they are in brick & morter stores, distributed by both Ingram & Baker & Taylor. I've been writing for 26 years, and have to tell you, I write for myself! If the book gets published so much the better but I am just tooooooo tired of rejections.

Carlene

Who is your publisher, Carlene? One reason your publisher might not be recognized (if they can, in fact, meet the sales requirements RWA imposes for recognition) is because they haven't applied. <G> Sometimes it's as simple as that. :)

Writing for yourself is always a good idea. And I can understand about the rejections. They do wear after a while. (okay, not even after a while, even the first one can be wearing. <G>)

This business is so damn subjective that first and foremost, you do have to write for yourself. I have to want to tell the story that I'm working on - or I can forget about it working. That doesn't mean that I can't take direction, or I can't write something that's marketable according to the current needs, but I still have to make that story my own, or else I can't do it.

Susan G.