RWA 14 is done and was, without a doubt, one of the most exciting writerly experiences of my career, to date. The conference, for those who don’t know, is the Romance Writers of America’s national event and is hosted in a different city each year (last year was ATL. Read my thoughts on RWA13 here).
The event draws romance writers from every stage of the process, all are welcome, whether you’re thinking about drafting your first romance or whether your Nora –writes-a-truck-load-freaking-Roberts. Self pub, indie pub, or big 6/5 pub – it doesn’t matter. The conference is attended by agents, editors, publishers, and other industry insiders. Most days can be spent taking classes on anything from how to write great sex to the in’s-and-out’s of ladies undergarments for the regency period (I’m not kidding). Lectures are held on other subjects as well. You can take classes taught by real lawyers and law enforcement officers. You can even learn the true slang used by cowboys, taught by real cowboys.
This year we were in San Antonio and it was hot. Wonderful, but hot. And the city was prettier than I thought it would be. Not that I necessary thought San An would be ugly, but I thought it would look like any other big city. We stayed right by the river walk and we could actually see the Alamo from our room. So, from where we were, San An wasn’t just your average city. I mean, look at this:
I arrived Wednesday and met my roommate in the airport. A quick cab ride delivered us to our hotel. We were within walking distance to the Alamo - isn't it lovely?
Immediately it was clear that RWA was going to rock. We checked in and made our way to the literacy signing.
At the signing we made the rounds, chatting happily with some of our favorite authors. And before we continue I absolutely must tell you that my roommate, @CA_Corneille, is the coolest. She had been to a few writers’ conferences in the past and knew authors from previous meet and greets.
Of course, as you can imagine, the vast majority of RWA is aimed at adult readers. There aren’t boatloads of YA and NA romance writers out there (since those audiences have only been recently carved out). So the YA and NA romance writers hosted a scavenger hunt, if you got all their signatures you would be entered to win a Kindle Fire. Since my roomie and I both write NA/YA we were thrilled to chat up these authors. After getting our last signature, we turned in our forms, and went up to bed, exhausted. But that happy, practically post-coital-bliss type of exhaustion.
The next morning, I was in session when I got an email letting me know I WON the Kindle Fire!!! OMG!!! Cue shock and surprise. I’m one of those people who never wins anything so I was floored and humbled to win so a fantastic prize.
Isn’t it lovely!?! I couldn’t believe how freaking beautiful book covers look on this thing (fyi, they were vibrant, jump-off-the-page, gorgeous).
Sessions were amazing. I learned a lot, ate a lot, drank…you guessed it (a lot) (but not too much)!
But probably the best part of any conference was the networking. I networked A LOT. Kind, talented, authors and book lovers were everywhere and so willing to chat. I even met some peeps IRL who I had only previously known through twitter. Twitter is great (I love Twitter) but let me make this clear, having real, live convo’s face to face is priceless.
Sometimes networking means posing for pictures with sexy cowboys. Kindle threw a party complete with cowboys, free drinks, and a photo booth (what could be better?). Everyone seemed to be having a good time.
In the end, I was more exhausted than I previously thought possible, but also excited and motivated to get back to work. Being present and a part of the amaze-balls, thrilling, and supportive RWA community made me so eager to do more, write more, and write better. But it was hard to say good bye.
Were you at RWA14 or another conference this summer? What was your favorite part?
Want more info on Writers Conferences? Check out these posts:
5 Reasons to Attend a Writers Conference
Conference Confusion Cleared
Lucienne Diver's conference recap
Sex, Romance and the Happy Ever After