Hello, everyone! Just a short entry to announce I’m off to the RWA National Convention, being held this year in Atlanta, from July 17-July 20. Last year in Anaheim–practically my back yard–was my first experience at RWA, and I very much enjoyed the chance to meet other romance writers at every stage of their career. Back then, I was in the process of transitioning between being a writer and being an author, having signed my first contract but still awaiting publication, scheduled for six months down the road. I knew I had a lot to learn, and I was eager to learn it.
This year, I am attending as an official author, with one book out as of last December and another forthcoming in October. I will be participating in two signings–the Literacy Autographing held on July 17, 5:30-7:30 pm and the Sourcebooks signing on July 20, 3:00-4:30 pm. I still have a lot to learn, however, and maybe even a few things to pass on.
Like a few conference tips, perhaps. Several writers have posted columns full of useful advice to those coming to their first RWA. This one, by Vicky Drelling, is especially helpful, and so is this one, describing the weather and various sights in Atlanta. I can heartily concur with all these suggestions–especially regarding comfortable shoes and bringing enough business casual outfits to compensate for surprise stains or wardrobe malfunctions. And here are a couple more:
1. Get plenty of rest. It’s more tiring than you’d think to sit still and have people talk at you for an hour or two. So if you find yourself needing to slip up to your room for a nap, go for it. Your body and mind will thank you for it.
2. Be pleasant, polite, friendly, and discreet. You never know whom you might meet in the elevator or even the line to the women’s restroom!
3. Asking another attendee what she writes is a pretty reliable ice-breaker. And it could be the start of a beautiful friendship.
4. Hydrate. The air in the hotels can be very dry, especially at night, so drink plenty of water.
5. Bring business cards to pass out. And promotional bookmarks to give away if you have a book out or forthcoming. (I just received some beautiful promotional bookmarks for A Song at Twilight, my October release at Sourcebooks, which I’m looking forward to sharing).
6. Familiarize yourself with the conference hotel and surrounding environs. Getting the lay of the land can help you get to sessions and other appointments on time.
7. Keep a weather eye on the weather! Atlanta in July is hot, but it’s also having a very wet summer this year, so if you’re staying off-site, or planning on going off-site, you might want to pack an umbrella or a light raincoat or rain poncho.
8. Enjoy yourself–whether that means attending lots of sessions/workshops, making friends with other writers, sampling works by authors new to you, or even holing up in your room should sudden inspiration strike (a tendency every writer will understand–and most likely forgive!)
Hope to see some of you there!