It’s the time of year when you might be able to hear a quiet buzzing among Australian romance writers. If you follow any of those authors, you might see an odd post or two online. Something about a costume? Or a party dress? Very uncharacteristic behaviour for a computer bound author . . .
That’s right, the RWA conference is just around the corner! Romance writers all around Australia are getting geared up for several days of learning, networking and surrounding ourselves in the wonderful world that is romance writing.
Introverts: step away from your desk!
For most of us, it’s a pretty big deal. It’s time away from our safe little worlds at our desks meeting other real life authors! It will be a refreshing change from interacting in the online space as many of us do. However, for the introverts among us–let’s face it, there’s plenty of us because we’re writers–it involves considerable effort and the conference can be quite draining.
A chance to pitch your work
Many authors will be pitching to publishers over the weekend. I must say I’m relieved I’m not one of them! With my City Love series contracted with Momentum, that’s going to keep me going into mid-next year thankfully. But for those who are pitching, it can be a very exciting and nail biting time. Best of luck everyone!
Targeted learning for the romance genre
Then there’s the learning. It’s like a massive brain dump from established authors and publishing industry professionals all in the space of 48 – 72 hours. It’s awesome, but there should be a warning label that comes with conference registration:
Beware. RWA conference may overload brain. Recommended 1- 2 recovery days post conference.
Opportunities to meet other authors
On top of this, the conference is a marvelous opportunity to network. Again, for many of us, this can be quite daunting, especially first timers. Last year was my first conference and while I must admit to feeling a bit out of it, the general vibe was very welcoming and the authors I did meet were warm and happy to take me under their wing. One thing attendees might find helpful is finding out whether any authors they’ve connected with online are going to be there, and arranging to meet up. I did that last year and it was great to finally meet in person. I’ll be doing the same this year as I’ve grown more friendships online since last year, and am excited to meet people in person.
A change of scenery
Then there’s the travel. A lot of us will be travelling interstate to attend the conference. Some will take it in their stride, for others the prospect may feel a bit overwhelming. It’s been 10 years since I’ve been to Melbourne. So I’m really looking forward to it, but for someone who works from home, it’s going to feel very strange leaving my family behind for the weekend. Equal parts excitement and strange.
A celebration of the romance genre!
And don’t forget the events like the cocktail party on the Friday night and the Gala dinner on the Saturday. Even if you’re not up for any of the awards, attending the Gala dinner is another great opportunity to network, as well as show your support to the other authors. And as much as anything, it’s also a chance to kick back and celebrate the industry and all the talented people who are dedicated to it.
What may surprise you about an RWA conference:
- How lovely everyone is!
- How different everyone one is. There’s women (and men) of all ages and from all walks of life, united by our passion for the genre.
- How approachable publishers are (yes, they are real people too!)
- How exhausting it is. I was barely able to form words by the time I arrived home at the end of last year’s conference.
- How business orientated the genre is. Romance writers don’t just love romance, we mean business 😉
- The many paths for romance writers. Traditional publishing, self-publishing, retirement dream fulfillment, the mad juggle to write while raising a family and/or having a career in another industry. Our paths are all different.
- The inspiration. Because that many people all in one place celebrating the romance genre is a truly awesome thing.
See you there! 21 – 23 August, Park Hyatt, Melbourne, Australia.