More than a place--it's a writer's muse.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

For the love of writer's conventions

As the two toddlers are screaming at my feet, I daydream of going away to a place far away, where there are people who have the same interests as me, where knowledge is everywhere and everyone speaks in full sentences.

I dream of going to a writer's convention.

The Romantic Times is at the end of April this year in Columbus, Ohio. I drooled over the guest list. MaryJanice Davidson, Holly Black, L.A. Banks, Charlaine Harris--le sigh. I even happen to be friends with people who are going. Why am I not going?

Why indeed.

I told myself that if I made it to the top ten in Dorchester, I would have proven to my self (and my hubby who would be stuck with the two darlings) that I am making way in my writing career. I didn't make the top ten, so therefore--

Okay, you caught me in an excuse. Truth is, I don't have much to show for all of my writing work to feel that dropping a couple of hundred to be justified, especially when I live in the wilds of Central NY. The Romance Writer's Of America conference is in late August.

Again, what can I get out of these conferences if I show up with the little I have?
I feel as if I am too green to really take advantage of these opportunities. Sure, I'd like to schmooz and party with the rest of you, but would it really help me further my career? Would I be better off just waiting until I had a few polished manuscripts under my belt? By the by, RWA convention is in NY City in 2011. That's much closer to home, and by then, I will also have some more writing to show to agents, publishers, etcetera.

What conferences and conventions do you make sure to hit every year? What are the most beneficial to writers? What experiences have you had. C'mon, fess up. The newbie wants to know...


SarannaDeWylde said...

Well, schmoozing is important. You need to go and get your name out there. An agent or editor is more likely to remember your name if they have a face to match it to.

And from what I've heard, when you get to pitch, you've got time for one. So, finish what you have. Polish the shit out of it and bring it with.

I've never been myself, but I will be at RT. :)

Oh and you like free right? All of the free books, you'll have to mail them home.

Anonymous said...

I know how that feels - I have nothing published, no real base, no real anything. Sometimes I wonder what would happen if I actually had to write for a living - I'd be skinnier, that's for sure. I too would love to go to RT but, really? I think as long as I can just dream about it and make it go my way - then I don't have to deal with the possibility that I'm way outta my league! Maybe next year - one newbie to another - we have some pretty lame excuses, huh? - Bea Wellman

Jennifer L Hart said...

Here's something I learned from the D contest, it won't happen until you take it seriously. Are you happy with your writing, not the product so much as the amount of time you pour into it? You're a kick ass quarterback, and your writing is super. Is the published author thing a vague someday dream or something you're willing to take a few sacks over in order to win? Financially, emotially and time wise?
Your call babe. Whatever you do will be the right choice for you.

Robin said...

Jenn-I guess the idea of being ready for a convention is foreign to me. I mean, I've gone to American Library Association conventions when I was a librarian, but I knew my stuff. I could talk my way around with anybody in the library biz. But a writer's convention, oh boy. Everyday, I sit at my computer, typing away, getting the stories in my head and out on the screen. Then all the networking I do, all at my desk. the idea that there are people actually meeting face-to-face is somewhat daunting. I mean, I can't just take out my laptop and show them all of the work I've done. I have to have something polished, legible, pitch ready. I am a writer. I know this. I will see my books on the shelf--with IBSN #'s on them. Am I ready to spend the hundreds of dollars to join a meet-and-greet? I don't know. I want to, but i can't afford it, time or money-wise. My slogan this year is "I'm writing my way to RWA". My attempt at showing myself that we get what we work for. Now, if I can only sell what I write.

Saranna--Oh yeah, I know about the books. I have a few friends who grabbed me up a load of them last year. I had a bookgasm.

Bea--yes, my butt is quite comfy in it's writing chair. My writing snack of choice: M&M's and a glass of ice water. Not much of a diet, but oh so yummy.

Liane Gentry Skye said...

I say go. I hooked my first editor with a mermaid pitch at RT. I was winging it. She bit. A girl never wrote a novella so fast in her life.

If it hadn't been for RT Houston, I'd still be trying to figure it all out.

At conferences you can expect to:

Hone your craft

Make valuable connections

Practice your pitch

Attend publisher spotlights you'd never get access to otherwise

Get a jolt of motivation.

Go. Trust me. It will be the best thing you ever do to help acheive your dream. And you know your room is already covered. ;) You can bunk with me and Saranna!

Robin said...

Liane-RT is out. No one to watch the toddlers. I've been thinking of RWA--hubby on vacay that week. I can tickle the idea of going with my fingers...And, yes, I would love to sleep with you. thanks for asking!

Shannon Delany said...

I am so excited about Saranna and Liane attending RT--it's going to be a blast! I'm rooming with a pal who is a bookseller and another gal who is an avid reader... But I *so* wish Robin could make it.

And yes, writer's conventions and conferences can be amazing experiences. I got to meet some spectacular folks at RWA last year and this year I'll be bunking with one of my absolute faves! Definitely put on your game faces, ladies (and be ready to enjoy the nightlife when the sun goes down--these events are tremendous if you bring the right attitude).

Looking forward to both RT and RWA this year!

Casse AKA Catholic Kittie said...

I am a newbie and had to decided between RT and RWA. I chose RWA because I was insanely jealous of the twitter feeds about it and I was not there. I hope to network and take some work shops. And meet all the writers I look up to.

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