I’m a proud member of RWA (Romance Writers of America), and this week is their national conference, being held in NYC. I’ve been once, a few years ago in Dallas, and had tons o’fun. There’s a lot to do, whether you’re published or not. There are parties and workshops galore. You can get the opportunity to sit down with an agent and/or editor to talk about your story and see if they might be interested. In short, it’s worth going to, even if it is one of the more expensive writer conferences around, and the main reason is this: meeting people. While getting the chance to pitch a story is always great, there are 2-3k writers at this event. It’s an opportunity to make new friends, and just make connections with people. Connections are key to a writer’s life. You can connect with reviewers, writers in other genres, publishing folk, people you’d otherwise not get a chance to meet. Why is this so important? Because writing is a long haul. It often takes years to get the ball rolling, for those wheels to gain traction, and beyond writing a great story, the people you are connected with often are the ones who make the difference between a book languishing in the dark and it seeing the light of day. Word of mouth, baby. If you have the cash, the event is worth this aspect all on it’s own.
I’d hoped to make it this year, really, really did. I would have been able to do their literacy signing with about 400 other writers and about 3k readers walking amongst us. My wife, romance author @tracymadison, would have done the same. It would have been our first opportunity to do such a thing together. Plus it’s her birthday today, and getting to treat her to that special day in NYC in such a venue would have made me very happy. Alas, the economy sucks and we couldn’t afford it. We hope to go next year. I may end up doing Bouchercon instead. It’s an opportunity missed and I regret it. So many people I’d have liked to have met and new ones I’d hoped to meet. So, if you wonder if the expense is worth it, don’t doubt, it is, every penny.