Monday, July 29, 2019

Writer's Conference

I attended the Romance Writers of America’s annual conference last week. Well, attended should be in quotes, since officially, I didn’t register for it. Don’t worry, I didn’t break any rules. It was held in the Marriott Marquis and all I did was hang out in the lobby and meet up with friends for meals off site. Totally legit. 

Honestly, this was my best experience with that conference ever. The reason I didn’t attend officially was because there were only about two workshops that interested me (at the time I looked, so they may have added more) across the four days. Between the registration fee, hotel fee, commuting fee and food, it was a heck of a lot of money for two hours. So I passed on officially attending, although I’ve heard wonderful things from those who did attend and I’m sure I missed out on a lot by not going.

To start, I met two writer friends for lunch, Claire and Charlotte. We’d never met in person, only online, and it was great to put voices to faces. And luckily for me, their social media photos actually looked like them, so we recognized each other—a daunting prospect otherwise, when you’re scanning thousands of faces walking through the lobby! We had a great lunch and got along well. 

Afterwards, I hung out in the lobby for a while. I got to fangirl over Christi Caldwell, but played it cool while we chatted and joked about cutting in line. These conferences are great because really, authors are just like everyone else, and it’s fun to see them that way.

An agent who has expressed interest in the types of books I write recognized me and mentioned again how much she’d love to see something from me. That was tremendously flattering, and I’m working on it. I have no idea if it will fit in with what she thinks she can sell, but it was uplifting, and made me feel great.

While charging my phone at the shoe shine station—seriously, it was the ONLY place in the entire lobby where I could find a plug—I met up with another author in person. Kerry and I are also with the same publisher and have never met in person. But our personalities are similar and we were looking forward to seeing each other. Although it was only for a short time—although long enough for her to laugh at my location—it was fun, and I’m looking forward to the future when we can spend more time together.

Then I hung out with one of my critique partners while she was in between workshops/meetings. Laurie and I meet for coffee and shopping frequently, and she’s my plot genius, so whenever I have a problem with how to get my characters from point A to point B, I call her. We discussed #ownvoices and #diversity and she did me a HUGE favor (thank you again!). As usual, I left our conversation motivated and feeling great.

While waiting for a dinner engagement, I met and chatted with another author. Amy Andrews is from Australia, so while we didn’t discuss her books (but you should check them out), we did talk about her home country and sightseeing in New York. 

And finally, it was time for my publisher’s pizza party. Again, it was a lot of fun seeing Rhonda and meeting up with a whole bunch of people I know through our author chats but have never met in person. Peggy is just as much fun in person as she is online, and Jeny was so sweet! There were a bunch of others, the pizza was good (it’s New York, after all), and I’m so glad I went. Afterwards, Charlotte and I went for drinks before I finally came home way past my bedtime.

I’m so glad I went. Not only did I meet great friends, new and old, but talking to everyone, hearing about their feelings, which are similar to mine, solving problems and just drinking in the vibe, recharged my batteries. I’m so much more enthusiastic about what I’m doing, so grateful to my tribe for lifting me up and helping me, and I can’t wait to complete the projects I’m working on.


  1. This is a great idea, particularly when the conference is held in an hotel. I, recently, volunteered to help at the Mslexia magazine writers' conference, held in the city of Leeds. This was in the university there, so
    I could drive over daily.
    Volunteering gave me a great experience. I met loads of interesting people, had great fun, and learnt a lot about these sort of conferences. I had my meals there and have claimed my fuel expenses, so it didn't cost me a penny.

    1. I love volunteering at conferences and make sure to do so when I officially attend. And I hope to officially attend this one in the future. :)

  2. I was sosososo happy to finally put your lovely face to a voice! hee hee. I wish I could have done what you did by "Unofficially" attending the conference because practically none of the workshops spoke to me either. Lots of money, not a lot of ROI (as we writers say! hee hee) Again, tho, it was worth all the expense to finally get to meet lovely writer friends like you, darling girl! Keep writing and maybe we can meet again in a not so "Unofficial " setting. Be well.

    1. Oh, thank you, Peggy! It was so much fun to meet you. You're just as great in person as you are online.