Friday, July 21, 2006

RWA National Conference

After I blogged yesterday on being excited to hear on Agent Kristen's blog that editors were chatting about historical fiction and chick-lit, I read an article by Bob Mayer on Romancing the Blog that chastised me (well, not me personally) for being interested. The general gist was, who cares what's hot--write what you feel passionate about. In a perfect world of publishing, that would be fine, but this is a fierce, ever-changing, discouraging business. It's nice to get little good news every once in a while.

Right about now I'm feeling a little envious and a little relieved. I'm not going to the RWA Conference in Atlanta next week. I started writing my first romance in 2000, and I haven't been to one yet. I'm thinking maybe next year, when the conference is in Dallas--only a few hours from my Houston hometown, but I'm not too committed yet. I'd really like to get a good feel for what people really think about the conference.

Is it a big party? A place to network? A steller learning experience? An over-priced, but necessary, business trip? I don't have a good feeling about it at all. If polled on why RWA members attend, I wonder how the breakdown would fallout....

Any opinions?

On writing: Still going, day six...I'm a regular Energizer bunny...for now.


Lucy said...

I'll jump right in and say I think the conference is what you make of it and what you want out of it.

Last year was my first conference and I had a great time. I didn't put a lot of pressure on myself to make it something bigger than it was/is. I knew, going in, that I wouldn't be pitching so I didn't have that pressure (although I know people who couldn't enjoy anything until they'd gotten their appointments over with).

I went to workshops that I felt were applicable to me, at my stage of the game. I went to all (but one) book signing event.

I went to a couple of parties and I made some friends who, although we have diverse backgrounds, we all had something in common....books.

Is it necessary? No.

Is it over-priced? Well, that's debatable.

A place to network? learn? It can be.

Business trip? Absolutely (should always keep in mind that comments made when you think no one is listening can come back to bite you in the backside)!

Me...I'm going to reconnect with some friends, learn some things and just enjoy the experience because it will be the only trip/vacation I take this year.

Don't know if that helps but that's my two cents worth. :0)

Diana Peterfreund said...

Is it a big party? A place to network? A steller learning experience? An over-priced, but necessary, business trip?

All of the above. When I went last year, it was just to party. I'd JUST sold my book, and I didn't have anything to pitch nor was I trying to snag an agent. The year before, I went to learn as much as possible about the different editors and agents and what they were looking for and how to break in. The year before that, I went to learn as much as I could from the craft workshops and try to pitch to editors. I was always there to network. I met many of my best writing friends at the conference. My CP, who I met at an RWA national conference, pitched my book to editors at another conference and got the ball rolling that resulted, three weeks later, in a six way auction.

I don't know why you have a bad feeling about it. I woudln't miss one!

Alyssa Goodnight said...

Thanks for your comments, guys. Definite food for thought.

Diana, I didn't mean I had a bad feeling about it. Guess it was poorly worded...I meant I didn't have feel for the event as a whole and whether or not it was worthwhile.

Good to know you guys have enjoyed it. Have fun next week!

Sara Hantz said...

I haven't been to an RWA conference, but have been to conferences in NZ, and RNA in the UK. The reasons.... exactly what Lucy and Diana said.

I'm planning to come over to SF in 2008 - hope to see you there.

randy said...

Let me be upfront and say I LOVE going to National. In a way, it's been a fascinating measure of how far I've come each year. At the first two (2002 and 2003) I concentrated on craft. In 2004 I had manuscripts under my belt, so I started pitching and going to the workshops on agents. In 2005 I found myself naturally gravitating to more of the networking and social stuff.

I've never failed to come away with renewed inspiration, motivation, and energy after spending 4-5 days with 2000 other women who "get" what I do.

Sure, some of it's overrated. I don't think I'd ever pitch again because I suck and the case of nerves I get just detract from the overall experience.

But I've always managed to take away at least one lesson/contact/epiphany/goal that's made going worthwhile.

In fact, last year at the Reno conference, one of the lunch speakers had placed pink index cards on the tables and invited us to write down 5 goals. (Apparently, she does this at a lot of her speaking engagements.) Then she introduced members of the audience who had filled out her cards at some other event and achieved their goals.

Well, I'm not a goal setting person, but I wrote down five anyway. One was to sell before the next conference. Guess what? It worked! :)

Alyssa Goodnight said...

Wow! Congratulations Randi. And thanks for your insights. I think pitching would put a damper on my whole experience as well. But it seems like a great opportunity to meet an agent or editor face to face.

You too, Sara. Thanks for commenting.

So far no negative words to say about the contest...