What do writers do at a writers’ conference?

B. J. Daniels and editor Denise ZazaFunny you should ask. Whatever it is that we do has left me totally exhausted. Thanks to some weather-related flight delays, I arrived back in Houston in the wee hours of the morning today. I had just spent 4 days at the beautiful Marriott Marque in Atlanta attending the Romance Writers of America National Conference. Imagine the noise level in the hotel with approximately two thousand women roaming the halls. My ears are still ringing though I must admit that some of that was due to the dance music at the Harlequin Party on Friday night.

If you’re curious about what that many writers do when we get together, keep reading and I’ll share some of the highlights of my conference with you.

On the night I arrived, there was a giant booksigning with the books donated by authors and publishers and the profits going to the literacy campaign. There were hundreds of authors, several from our group here at Petticoats and Pistols in attendance. Eager readers began lining up long before the doors opened at 5:30 on Wednesday night.  I couldn’t tell who was having more fun, the readers or the authors who always love a chance to meet with their fans. There were other booksignings throughout the week sponsored by the publishers. In these the authors get to give away their books to conference attendees who stop by and chat. That is always fun.

And then there are the workshops on every topic you can imagine related to writing. My favorite are the research workshops where we get the opportunity to hear from the experts, the men and women who help us stay on our toes with our research.

It’s also a chance to get together with writer friends from all across the country. It’s amazing how close you can become to people who share your love for writing even though you only see them once a year. And it’s a chance to meet with editors and agents. I’m one of the fortunate people who have been with the same editor for over 55 books. Visiting with her is one of my favorite parts of the conference.

And then there are the publishers’ parties. Since I write for Harlequin Intrigue, I always attend the Harlequin Party on Friday night. This year we had the most fabulous array of chocolates I have ever seen. They looked far too good to eat, but eat them we did. I gobbled down quite a few myself. And then we danced. And danced. And danced. Who needs a dancing partner when you have a ballroom full of women?Deb Webb getting set up for RWA Literacy Booksigning

There’s much more, but I’ll leave that for another day. Now it’s time to go back to writing. The next deadline is fast approaching! And, after all, I am a writer.

Joanna
Updated: July 22, 2013 — 1:10 am

15 Comments

  1. I was there for the author signing on Wednesday. Got to see some of my favorite ones, Carolyn Brown, Toni Blake, Susan mallery, Sharon Sala, Vicki Lewis Thompson. Wish I could have stayed longer, but grouchy husband ruined that!

  2. I think it would be so much fun to go to one of these conventions. Thank you for sharing your experience with us!

  3. I definitely enjoy seeing people in person when I get the chance. Looks like everyone had fun!

  4. I would love to have the opportunity to see and talk to so many of my favorite people in one place!

  5. Joanna, It was only my second RWA. I didn’t know they did those publisher signings with FREE BOOKS!!! I brought so many books home it is RIDICULOUS!!!!!
    Love it!

  6. Sounds like a lot of fun but also I thing it would wear a person out pretty quick. Travel will do that to me.

  7. Hi Joanna, it was great to meet you finally! The workshops were great, but I do get overwhelmed realizing all the things I should or need to do lol. And the noise level is cringe-worthy. But over all a wonderful experience. Actually I’m in the plane flying home right now. Can’t wait to get there. I enjoyed visiting president Carter library this morning…beautiful! Xo

  8. So glad you were there, Kim. I think the husbands may have been overwhelmed by all those romance writers.

  9. Me, too, Mary. But really loved it that some of the authors gave away download options for their e-books instead of paperbacks. Helped my poor back when I had to lift that suitcase.

  10. Great meeting you, too, Tanya. I didn’t do any sightseeing. Had to hurry back to drive my hubby into Houston to the doctor today. Still in a cast, but good news is he can now put some weight on the foot. We’re making progress.

  11. Wore me out, too. Only eight o’clock, but I’m thinking it’s time to go to bed.

  12. I finally went to my first conference (RomCon) this past June. It was loads of fun and similar to RWA, just not as large and heavy on the fans rather than the authors. It was great meeting some of my favorite authors and finding new ones to read. It must be nice to be able to visit with so many of your friends and share ideas about your craft. The signings are important. It puts a face to the name on the book. Visiting gives the reader a better feel for who the author is and what goes into their writing. It must be hard for authors during the mass signings with so many people trying to meet and talk.

    RWA is a writer event. You need time to relax and socialize without the ever present fans there asking questions and wanting pictures. I guess anyone could pay the fee and attend, but spending the time stalking authors isn’t really the way to spend time. It is a good thing there are events for writer/reader interaction.

  13. You’re so right Patricia B. Unless you’re interested in writing you wouldn’t want to attend a writer’s conference. But fan conferences are great fun. I’m planning to be at the RT conference in New Orleans next spring. Hope to see a lot of my readers there.

  14. How do you find out about conferences for fans and Christian and romance authors? Or is there such a conference?

  15. The only conference I’m familiar with, Barbara, is the Romantic Times conference, but I’m sure there are others. You might drop a note to your favorite authors and ask them which fan-focused conferences they’re attending that year. Or just check on-line.

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