This was the first conference I’d attended in 12 years, having taken a break for my kids’ summer activities—and, to be perfectly
honest, during some of those years I wasn’t bringing in enough income from my writing to justify the expense. I was struck immediately by how much had changed—and how much had not. E-pubbing and self-pubbing, once anathema to RWA and considered a last-ditch effort for those who couldn’t see any other way of getting their books published, was now the subject of numerous workshops. Social media, in its infancy twelve years ago, was another hot topic. But some things remained the same: book giveaways so extravagant that attendees had to ship their bounty home (to the relief of numerous sky caps, I don’t doubt!), the editor & agent appointments, the literacy signing, the RITA and Golden Heart awards, to name only a few.
A conference highlight for me is the Beau Monde’s min-conference the day before RWA kicks off, the culmination being the Wednesday night soiree with its Regency costumes and period dancing. I made a new dress for the occasion, and I am pleased to say that this, along with my
turban and quizzing-glass, was much admired.
One of the enduring delights of RWA is the discovery every year that the best things are not on the conference schedule. No, the conference highlights are those things that happen spontaneously: the agent seated next to me at luncheon, who expresses interest in my work, then hands me his card and asks to see more; the surprising discovery that some of the Big
Names in historical romance seem to know who I am(!); the passenger on the airport shuttle who exclaims, “I know you! I read your book! I loved that book!”
I also was reminded of the big rewards small courtesies can bring. After eating dinner in the hotel restaurant, I slipped a bookmark into the little leather pad along with my credit card. The waitress saw it and thanked me with an enthusiasm far out of proportion to what I thought the gesture deserved. It was such a little thing on my part, but she seemed so
These are the things that make me eager to return to RWA next year. Maybe I’ll see you in
Atlanta in 2013!