|Toni Anderson, Maureen A. Miller, Julie Moffett and Wynter Daniels do The Pips at the Harlequin party in the Ritz hotel, Atlanta!|
Way back, when scheduling blog posts, I thought it would be easy to whip up a quick post about RWA national conference by the following Wednesday.
Er...not so much. I am still exhausted.
I've been trying to think about my experiences and condense pertinent information but it's impossible. This was my 3rd national conference and I took different things away from this one than from the previous two. Firstly, I feel *more* published now. I was pubbed with HER SANCTUARY from way back (it originally came out in 2005, I think, with Triskellion who went bust) and I was 'grandfathered' into PAN (Published Author Network) just as they changed the rules to stop all these small press authors getting in automatically. This reluctant admission into PAN made me feel like I didn't belong--this feeling seems to follow me around. Maybe it's part of who I am as a writer, never quite belonging, but I don't think I'm alone. Maybe it's just a writer thing.
However, just because you might not feel like you fit into RWA as an organization, don't make the mistake of thinking you won't fit into the RWA conference as a writer. I have found this conference to be full of the warmest, friendliest, most business savvy, empathetic group of people I have ever met (OK, except biologists and their families b/c that's just who we are). Romance writers talk to each other. Romance writers connect even if only in line for a sandwich or shuffling for space in the elevator. I think having an agent (if you want one) takes some of the stress out of being worried you're going to say something stupid (ha!) to someone influential. I know I was grinning almost daily with a lady, knowing I recognized her face. Pretty sure, now I think about it, she wasn't a writer but one of the big NY agents. I wouldn't have given her my toothy grin if I'd known. She probably wouldn't have given me hers in return if I'd been nervous and jittery. I do better in ignorance. Relaxed is good.
Linda Howard was stalking me :) Not really, but we attended at least 80% of the same workshops which gave me a very happy feeling. I love Linda Howard.
I spent a lot of time in the self-publishing track and the research track. I learned tonnes. I missed loads. I wish I had a clone who could have gone to all the other workshops I desperately wanted to attend. Thankfully most workshops are taped and I'll probably be downloading a bunch.
What did I take home (aside from books)?
I will develop a press kit. I will be looking at the metadata on my self published book THE KILLING GAME (those are the terms I heard most at this conference 'self-publish' and 'metadata'). I will try to follow the industry even more than I do already. I feel that self publishing is now an accepted route for writers although there are a few die hards refusing to acknowledge the huge shift in the industry. A few years ago they didn't like ebooks either so times change and things that were once new and scary become acceptable and the norm. I really hope RWA opens the RITAs up to self published books soon. This is a fantastic time to be a writer, so many opportunities!
I saw many dear friends and met many online peeps in person for the first time, including NYUS's own Maureen A. Miller, Wynter Daniels, DJ Adams, Ana Barrons, Julie Moffett, and Carol Stephenson. That was fabulous. Dancing at the Harlequin party was wonderful--thanks for letting me attend. Nora was there and dancing up a storm. I just realized I was dancing opposite Linda Lael Miller!--knew I recognized her face :) I had so many cocktail parties and meetings that most nights were crunched tight trying to squeeze it all in. This is a far cry to past conferences where I'd wave my roomie off to the Harlequin party and curl up on the bed for a much needed rest. I met my fantastic Montlake Romance editor and lovely agent. The awards lunches made me cry (I want to be Kristan Higgin's BFF--please invite me to lunch again and I'll fly out :)). My own award ceremony, the Daphnes, which I didn't win, was not evenly remotely nerve-wracking. I don't know if this is because of the alcohol I'd consumed (cheap date :)) or just the fact I was convinced Bronwyn Parry's DEAD HEAT was going to beat us all. Instead Cindy Gerard took the award, and I love Cindy so it was just a total buzz to be there.
OK--if I was analyzing this post I'd be convinced I am a total narcissist.
The RITAs. Oh boy. My roomie (Loreth Anne White) was up for a RITA and I was her date so we had VIP seats. We honestly had the best seats in the ballroom, I kid you not. I was mirror image to Sylvia Day's seat (RWA President) on the table on the opposite side of the podium. Seriously. The only way I would have had a better seat was if I'd sat on the floor in front of the stage. Totally awesome. :)
|Eloisa James walking between me and Sylvia Day to get to the stage to accept her RITA. That's what I'm talkin' about :)|
Another highlight was bumping into Eloisa James afterwards in the ladies' room and congratulating her on her first RITA win. It doesn't seem possible that she doesn't have a shelf full of the ladies. Eloisa was lovely. She is lovely.
Overall it was a very successful writers' conference. Positive and empowering. I liked that. Too often writers are beaten down by odds or the industry and it was wonderful to see a renewed enthusiasm for writing stories we want to write. Were there a few things that annoyed me? Sure there were, but why dwell on the negative. I want to absorb the positive and let it feed my creative soul. First, however, I need to recover... LOL
If you want to see more pictures I made an album on FB https://www.facebook.com/toniannanderson/media_set?set=a.10152113669224762.1073741825.652504761&type=3
I loved RWA 2013!
And...in other news, the price of my Carina Press ebooks went down to under $2.99 so if you haven't read them yet, now's a good time :).... http://ebooks.carinapress.com/CBB76783-9B8F-46CF-AE13-E35F3C6BE2FD/10/134/en/ContentDetails.htm?ID=9B637837-774F-4285-8E42-F5364B645096
Not sure why the images are removed...you can always try Amazon.