Interview with a Conference Attendee

This July, I attended the annual RWA Writers Conference with Violet Femmes Maria K. Alexander and Tina Gabrielle.

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I thought it might be useful to share my experience with you. And, to make the information more interesting, it’s written as a Q&A.

Hope these golden nuggets are helpful to you.

Conferences can be expensive. What makes attending one worth the expense?

First, pick you conferences wisely. RWA is on a national level so that in itself makes it worth it. Another conference I always attend is my home chapter’s – New Jersey Romance Writers.

Meeting face to face editors, agents, industry professionals and writers, of course, is an invaluable opportunity. And you can fan girl over famous authors, which is always fun!

Also, conferences inspire your muse. Where else can you talk books 24/7, how characters have you pulling off the roadways because they’re talking to you, without people thinking you’re out of your mind?

Book signing. I still get excited thinking about my first official signing, all for a good cause. It’s a great way to interact with readers and fellow authors.

Networking. Fast and furious. So many people to meet, so little time. But I’ll tell you a secret. Do you know how the Violet Femmes formed? Yep, from meeting up at a conference.

What was the highlight of this year’s RWA conference?

There were so many highlights but I have to go with the Cowboys.

Like the Dallas Cowboys?

No. Um…Giant fan. I’m talking about the six-foot-three hunks Maria forced me to take a picture with.

San Antonio RWA 2014

This was a terrific promotional idea hosted by Amazon Kindle Love Stories – which is in the footnote and background of every photo. Branding, anyone?

What did you learn from the workshops attended?

Maria is better equipped to answer this question as I attended so few. Two workshops, though, were very informative.

In How To Make $100, 000 By Self Publishing, three authors discussed how they promote their work (which even a traditionally published author can benefit from knowing). Series sell with three being the magic number. Know your audience and play around with pricing to see what works best for your series. Bookbub works (which I can personally attest to). And if you have a series, put your first book free or at .99 cents when the third is released. Build your brand across books and your author name.

And, you need to produce. Be prolific and write write write. It’s important to give readers immediate access to all your books. The more, the better.

In New Adult Marketing, I learned an interesting and important statistic on ebook versus print sales. 80% of New Adult books sales are digital versus the 70% ebook versus print sales. And YA? Only 10% is ebook sales. This says a lot about who is reading what, and how they are ready it.

Who did you meet and why are you excited about meeting them?
Again, the conference was a terrific opportunity to meet up with fellow authors. In April, Kate Willoughby, Kat Latham, and Rhonda Shaw celebrated a Carina Press co-book release date (along with Rebecca Crowley and Allison Parr.) We’d never met but collaborated so well. I learned so much from them. The conference was a great opportunity to meet up, given we live in different states (and countries).

I reconnected with Claudia Connor whose debut is coming out from Random House in September. It’s hot! Check it out on Amazon: Worth the Fall. Claudia and I did the contest circuit together. And, btw, she had a presidential suite at the conference…which may or may not have been next to Nora’s.

Historical author and fellow Carina author, Anabelle Bryant was a hoot. She really inspired me with her knowledge and creativity. You should check her out; she shared story ideas over lunch and wow, she’s got a plathora of interesting historical twists!

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Finally, I had a fan girl moment with New York Times Bestselling author, Joan Johnston. Fifty-six books and she is still prolific. She had terrific insight on the publishing industry which she so generously shared.

As you can see:  Networking. Networking. Networking.

Summarize your RWA conference experience in three words.

Network. Learn. Enjoy the company.

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  1. Jenna Blue

     /  August 4, 2014

    I’m on board with all your reasons to attend a conference! Like you, I think you just need to pick wisely: bang for the buck, best networking for you, or best learning experiences for you. And I just loved hearing who you rubbed shoulders with! So exciting, and wish I’d been there with you! Thanks for the fab post!

  2. Hi Michele. I had a great time with you in San Antonio. And you’re right, not everyone can afford the cost and time for a National conference like RWA. Local conferences like NJRW’s Put Your Heart in a Book brings lots of NY editors and agents face-to-face with authors. It’s a great conference at an affordable price. And Jersey in October is nice. Not too hot, not too cool.

    Thanks for sharing your experiences, Michele.

  3. Thanks, Jenna, for commenting. It’s always fun to recap conferences, as the excitement lasts longer than the actual event! Best, Michele

  4. Maria, It was so fun sharing our conference experience together. Yes, NJRW is a fantastic conference.

    On a smaller scale, but big in the way that NYC publishers attend. Best, Michele

  5. I had a great time catching up and going out to dinner at the conference. Wonderful post, Michele!

  6. Jaye Marie Rome

     /  August 5, 2014

    What a fun time, MIchele! Yes, conferences are great for networking…and we’ve got this great group of Femmes to thank for it.

    I always love helping out on the committees, too, because you get to meet or have contact with agents and editors more readily. It can sometimes be daunting to approach one if not properly introduced. 🙂

    So glad Texas was a great experience for you!

  7. It sounds like you had a great time! I’m sorry to have missed it. Love the cowboys and cowboy hats!


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