Wednesday, July 22, 2009

To conference or not?

Cursor… Cursor…

My advice to anyone on the fence as to go to a conference, especially the RWA National conference, is to go. The experience is like none other.
I’ve just returned from DC where the national conference was held this year, and I’m totally exhausted. It might take me weeks to recover. The funny thing is I didn’t feel drained at all while at the conference. The energy was amazing. Every workshop
I attended provided information I didn’t have or brightened light moments which for me had for some reason or another dulled over time.

Networking is probably the biggest reason to go to a conference. Your circle of will friends grow. I’m so happy to have met a number of my on-line friends face to face, especially my Golden Heart sisters and the Elements Chapter ladies—along with a few of their husbands, and new friends (waving). The conversations and laughter we shared strengthen our bond. I also met readers. I was so excited when one asked me to sign a DayTimer I had given her. Yeah, I know it’s not a book, but still. And one day soon.

Also, the chance to just sit and chat with NY Times authors, agents and editors is an opportunity none of us should pass up. I met several agents, my publisher, and a few editors. A particular editor and I found we’re co-24 NUTS. We chatted about next season and the twists that might occur.

In a social setting, my DH and I spent hours talking to Deb Webb. One sweet lady. We chatted with Suz Brockmann and her hubby—the guys talked playing baseball. Suz and I talked about mending them up after a game. Frozen peas do have another use besides being part of a health meal. DH also chased and caught lighting bugs for Maureen Child and friends, who had never seen them before. I spent an hour chatting about the industry and craft with Jordan Dane (She was awesome), and met Allison Brennan while doing so. Avon author, Deb Mullins, dished out advice and hugs as only she can. Along with my long distance good friend, Intrigue author, Jan Hambright. And of course I ran into Brenda Novak, who I adore—not only for her writing but because she is an example of an author who gives back. I could name a hundreds of authors but this post could go on forever.

I believe no matter what line of work you’re in conferences can be invaluable to your career.

What are your reasons for attending conferences, or not? Please share. And if you had a favorite moment or learned some great at RWA this year, please tell.


  1. Ditto. Ditto. Ditto. The chance to meet and talk to agents and editors in a social setting and in the workshops helps soooo much. They are ordinary people --who would have thought? The insight into the industry is phenomenal. I must say, I was a little let down coming home. It was so exciting in DC and now -heavy sigh-back to the ordinary stuff.
    Great meeting you there Autumn.
    Rita Henuber
    Extraordinary women and the men they love
    2009 Golden Heart Finalist

  2. Hey, Rita. Great meeting you too. I agree whole-heartly. I learned so much it's hard not to keep the fingers from the keyboard, wanting to make my wip the best it can be.

    Thanks for stopping by.

    Hugs, AJ

  3. Autumn;

    I absolutely agree with everything you posted - the networking is invaluable and the friendships are just so incredible. Each year, it seems I see more and more familiar faces which only adds to the fun of conference.

    On a separate note, it was so awesome to meet you, Rita and all my fellow Golden Heart sisters in DC! For me, that made this year's conference extra special.


    Addison Fox
    2009 Golden Heart Finalist - MY BIG FAT ROCKIN' REALITY

    WARRIOR ASCENDED - Coming from NAL, March 2010

  4. Ya sucks, Addison. I feel the same about you and the other ladies. I love the title of your book btw.

    You're right. Each year my cirlce of friends grows and with them connections to the industry.

    I hope you stop by again.


  5. Autumn, great synopsis of your conference experience. You made the most of the conference. Meeting you and the other Elements members was the highlight of the conference for me. It was energizing while there, but I haven't recovered yet.

  6. All conferences can be exhausting, but National is killer---and worth every second. I love to go, but it takes me a week to recuperate (and catch up with the laundry!)

    Meeting my Ruby Slippered Sisters really made this conference shine. We are blessed to be part of this group of gracious and talented ladies.

    I look forward to seeing you again soon!


  7. Carolyn, I so agree. This conference held so many special moments which I will always treasure. I can't wait until Saturday so I can sleep in. Next year, I'm thinking a week off for conference and a week afterwards to hiberate and recup. It was great meeting you. Hoping we'll get the chance again. AJ

  8. Gwynlyn is the queen of Ruby slippers. I still wonder how you walk in those amazing shoes. I'd be tripping every other foot. It was great meeting you and your family. I hope we don't have to wait until Nashville to get together.

    (((HUGS BACK)))


  9. Hey, Autumn,

    I loved reading your oh-so-positive account of your experiences at the conference. You rubbed shoulders with some really big names!

    I wasn't tired when I got home. I GOT tired after I got home trying to catch up on a week of laundry, e-mail (which I still haven't caught up on), and grocery shopping.

    I'm so glad I got to meet you and your husband along with the other Elements members and fellow critters. Just sorry I didn't get to meet everyone, but the week flew by.

    Oh, and I got my big box of books today. Didn't expect it so soon. Am going to open it with my mother-in-law because she wants me to tell her all about the conference this weekend.

    So why did I go? Love D.C. It was something I could do with my husband. And I got to meet a great bunch of women I'd only known online.

    Am excited about your book! But probably not as excited as you must be.

  10. I've been at every RWA national conference since Detroit (except for Hawaii)...and can't imagine missing one. They're insane. (!) But I can't think of any other conceivable place that has this number of editors and agents and publishing people available to us....a chance to meet face to face with friends and other writers...a chance to choose whatever workshops or opportunities you want from a limitless list. I don't know of any writing organization that comes close to what RWA offers this way.