Posted in Conference, For Writers, On Writing, Reading, South, Writing


RWA13 in Atlanta was a wonderful experience.  I find I learn so much in the company of other writers, and not just in the formal workshops.  In case you couldn’t attend, here are 13 things  I learned at RWA13.

1.  Romance readers are generous and passionate about good books.  I worked as Cashier at the Literacy Signing.  One woman drove across two states to get to the signing.  She had more books than she could hold and her husband rounded to the closest hundred to benefit literacy programs.  I don’t know her name, but she is why we write.

2.  The publishing industry is in flux.  As more authors take charge of their own career, publishing houses and agents need authors more than authors need the traditional publishing world.  It’s a scary but exciting time.  As the author you are more empowered if you take the time to figure out what you and your rights are worth.  (Discussion with Dorien Kelly and Courney Milan)

3. Independent press does not necessarily mean small press. (Indie press panel)

4. A great hook taps into the reader’s curiosity and gets at a deep emotional response (from Elizabeth Boyle)

5. Publishing a book is not a solitary activity.  It takes a team. (from Simone Elkeles)

6. Don’t be afraid to ask a question of authority. The powers that be may not want to answer the question, but you’ll never get an answer unless you try.

7. Interested in trying a stand up desk?  Before you spend $1,500 on a fancy work station, try the ironing board.  I always wondered what those things were for…..  (from Bruce Kelly, CIH,CSP)

8. A workshop on finances may not sound exciting, but Laura Alford, Diane Kelly and Donna MacMeans made taxes and record keeping a conference highlight.

9. Michael Hauge is an amazing public speaker.   The goal of any story-teller is to solicit an emotional response in the reader.

10. If there is an open chair at your lunch table, you might make a new friend.

11. The best presenters were the most prepared and organized speakers.

12. We need more euphemisms for “lady parts.”  (Stephanie Doyle, Elizabeth Hoyt and Molly O’Keefe)

13. When you get over two thousand writers in one place, the energy is amazing.  I’m fortunate to be part of this terrific writing community and I can’t wait until San Antonio #RWA14

Did you go to the conference?  What stood out for you?


where the heart finds a home

15 thoughts on “RWA13

  1. RWA conferences are great! And you are definitely right about the energy created by a large group of writers getting to spend time with like-minded people. Thanks for the notes here. Helps those of us who weren’t able to attend!

  2. Wonderful post! I attended Anaheim in 2012, and I was thrilled to meet so many of my fellow authors, including a few dozen from Crimson Romance. You came away with some great experiences and insights; oh, and the “lady parts” bit was hilarious. I’ve always heard them called “doll parts.” lol

    1. I hadn’t heard the term “doll parts” before. It’s too bad that workshop wasn’t taped. It was hilarious and a bunch of us live tweeted it. You can search the twitter archive using the hashtag #RWA13

  3. I noticed that even though the market is in flux, the best marketing tool a person has is a print book. In a room full of swag, or in a big publisher signing, that’s what people walk towards. That’s what they pick up. Side-by-side with a coupon code for a free book, a person may pay more attention to the paper one because there’s still that perception of substance with paper.

    Question now is, how do e-book authors grab attention without standing on tabletops and handing out $20 bills to passerbys?

    1. I wonder about this too, Holley. I noticed that some of the e-first publishing lines of major houses offered a paper sampler. Authors signed their excerpt and typically gave another paper item (bookmark, postcard, trading card) with the booklet. Lines were typically shorter than for a traditionally published author, but they still had lines at the Kensington signing (for example). I cashiered at the literacy signing so I have no idea how authors worked the crowd there. I saw some ebooks sold as CDs and I suppose thumb drives would be another way to do this, although you’d have to write small. You certainly have given some food for thought and further discussion. Thanks for stopping by.

  4. Thank you, Lola. Some of those points are funny, some are profound. Usually my experience with conferences and I miss it so much. Thanks for sharing your info.

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