Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Adventures of an RWA conference virgin

By J. Hali Steele

First, I’d like to extend my appreciation to the Royal Blush Authors for allowing me to share my excitement about attending my first RWA Annual Conference. Once I’m back and all settled in, I’ll bring everyone up to date with what really happened. Wait. Does what happens in DC have to stay in DC? Hmmm.

Over the last month, no one could possibly have missed the hubbub with RWA and its stance regarding e-books and e-book publishers and where they fit into the RWA’s scheme of things (or don’t!) To be politically correct, perhaps I should be saying digitally published. I’m not sure anymore. Anyway, I’m not going to say much about it here except that I am a new author who is e-book published and I am not seeking to be published in NY in the foreseeable future. This does not take away from the fact that I consider myself career focused, and I believe I’m learning tremendously by working with three very good publishers. I look forward to the day we are all on the same page and playing on a level field. Enough about that.

I’m ready to begin my adventure and I’m going to have a wonderful time meeting and networking with quite a few of the folks I’ve met online. The next time I chat with them, I’ll have faces to put with names.

I’ve spent hours pouring over the workshops trying to decide which to take. There are so many: Boot camp for Writers, Get Your Acts Together and Emotion: the Heart of the Novel, just to name a few. I found one that is perfect for me: Mastering Your Domain - I’m hoping this one gives me info to take back control of my home!

Check this workshop out: The Virgin Widow's Heart Stopped When She Saw the Workshop That Would Change Her Life Forever: How To Recognize Clichés and Use Them To Make Your Writing Shine. Huh? Yup, that’s one title.

And there’s The 15 Minute Synopsis. I’m not going to waste my time there. If someone had this secret, it would have been on Facebook or MySpace by now. At least it would have been Twittered about. LOL

When I first joined RWA my goal was to learn everything possible and become a Pro. Well, I made it, and no matter what anyone says – I’m proud as hell to wear that pin. (Wonder if they give a class on photography? Hey, it’s the best I could do.) The fact I finished a novel and mustered the courage to send it out made me feel as though I earned it. *smiling broadly* This is one workshop I am definitely looking forward to attending. Here’s the thing: it’s all about being published in print. But I have a plan. I’m going to listen and learn. Period. Here’s what they’ve planned for Pro —

Deb Werksman of Sourcebooks, Inc. is going to talk about what happens after the sale. How your book passes through acquisition and copyedits – I’ve been through this with epublishers and the editors were tops in my book. Why? They kicked my butt! I learned from them. She’s going to touch on marketing and sales – okay, I’ve done a bit of this for my books, but you can never know too much about marketing, so I’ll learn more. She’s also going to talk about print runs and distribution. I’ll listen, it never hurts to learn new things.
Madeline Hunter is going to talk about issues for authors who sub and don’t sell and how to go from rejected to being sold. I can learn from that because I’ve been rejected by publishers, so this could certainly help me. I’ll be listening closely.

There’s going to be an agent panel. They’ll discuss what is selling and what isn’t right now. I’m going to take it all in and learn. There will surely be something I can use, something that will help me along the path I’ve chosen.

I’m attending the Passionate Ink chapter’s party. That should be hot! At least the conversations will be. I’ll not miss the Rita and Golden Hearts awards ceremonies. I hope to be on the receiving end one day. (See, I’m focused and that field may get leveled yet!)

The breakfasts, lunches and dinners will all be opportunities to meet new people, learn new things and I’m going to act like a sponge and soak it all up. I’m meeting two friends whom I first met at an RT Convention a couple of years ago and we formed a great bond of sisterhood-in-writing. We email each other often but we’ll catch up and share so much in person. My sisters are coming down for two nights *eyes rolling*. They’ve been supportive of me and my dream, I can’t say enough about how much I love them. Plus they’ll help me lug my junk around. *grins*

So, I’m ready. For me this is another step on my career path. Another page turned and the start of another great adventure.

Thanks to the ladies of Royal Blush for having me in for the day and to read more about my adventure, come back on Friday, July 24th. I’ll tell you what happens in DC. Promise – I won’t leave anything out. There may even be pictures if I can get the hang of the dang camera.

So…stay tuned for more.


TJ said...

Have a fabulous time!

Sandy said...


I don't know how I missed this post and the one before.

I'm dying to hear about the conference. It was one I wanted to go to, but couldn't afford.

Tell all.