When we left our erstwhile author, she was taking notes by hand on the Recap of the 2018 National RWA Conference. Now she is attempting to transcribe those notes and do laundry and make a shopping list while hoping the dog can wait to be walked another hour. Let’s look in at her progress.
The value of Romance Writers of America National Conferences lies mostly in the community it brings together. Many people make lifelong friends there and get the motivation they need to keep writing. However, the Board of Directors discusses (some say over-discusses) the schedule and planning. Their messaging needs work to attract more industry professionals.
More on the Speed Pitching, our member heard from others signed up for it that you were given a few minutes to pitch an idea with no idea about the person you were pitching to. Often, you weren’t pitching a book but yourself. There were few agents and editors looking for new writers. Getting books to readers is still the main issue but now there are different ways to get it done. Another member felt they wasted time hoping to get a chance to pitch. The seats filled up much too fast. And a third had to ask the person which of two books they wanted to hear about.
There were a low number of agents at the conference, possibly because it has become difficult to make a living in books. Mr. President sat in on a panel where each person had a different job 2 years ago. We were encouraged to research Mark Dawson who is an expert on publishing. His observations are phenomenal.
It’s interesting that Facebook, a repository for many, many author pages, had no presence at the conference. If your author page is also your personal profile page, it can be difficult to jump between the pages. You can’t do it all and choices have to be made. You are empowered to make that choice. It has to be your choice.
This year, RWA broke up the RITA awards from the Golden Hearts. Out of 140,000 books published, how do you find out which ones are good reads? RITA winners and even the finalists are guaranteed to be pretty good.
With Golden Hearts, there were fewer entries than usual. The question is, is it the best way to showcase unpublished authors? Does it advance your career? There are multiple winners, year after year, that still do not get traditional contracts. Obviously, we need something that will do more good. Someone did point out that there are a number of published authors who would not be considered successful. RWA is looking to be of use to published and unpublished authors.
A moment of shining glory, we all agreed, was in RWA’s response and actions on Cockygate(TM). They made a very impressive stand and continue to assist the authors caught up in that debacle. Amazon was less impressive. Hiring a lawyer would be very difficult and out of the ballpark expensive for most writers.
Looking forward to the 2020 conference, one of the plans is to hold workshops with three short sessions. Then repeat that two more times, so you could jump in for any part you had to miss before. The idea is to let attendees catch more presentations when there are more things one would like to hear. So the 1-hour presentations are being cut back to 20 minutes for that process.
Someone needs to stay on top of getting popular panels into the right size room. Apparently, the spaces available were either ballroom or closet. There is hope for a central meeting location, not the lobby so you could hand out with fellow attendees and chitchat. Kind of like a con suite at a science fiction convention. But everything about that hotel was hard to find.
A PAN member attended the meeting at the conference and was given an extra brain. This one can be squeezed when she’s stressed. Also noted, the homeless folks in Denver are aggressive.
The RWA National web page is unwieldy, so look for the roll-out of a new one by the end of the year. And we have stopped using Yahoo for group email (aka the Loop). There’s a chance we can do that through the new National web page in the future.
There was one vote for the joy of hanging out with other writers, being energized. The literacy book signing event was exciting. Meeting with readers is always a lot of fun.
The meeting then changed into chapter news, including the San Diego Union-Tribune Festival of Books (Posted about it here) and the wonderful people coming to see us through the end of the year. Those are HelenKay Dimon in September, Jeff Lyon in October, and Catherine Bybee in November. Stay tuned to this blog for reports on their words of wisdom.
Thanks for reading, I’ll be back on Thursday.