Gearing Up – RWA 2012

This will be my first Romance Writers of America conference in four years, so I’m excited. There’s something about taking over a being in a hotel with 2,000 other romance writers that gets my blood flowing.

The energy is amazing, the nerves palpable. Every year there are a lot of people who are attending conference for the first time. They are usually fairly easy to spot – they keep to themselves and have a glazed look of panic in their eyes. By the end of the conference, the panic has ebbed but the glaze is looking rather permanent. It’s information overload.

I’m pitching at this conference, as I have at every conference I’ve ever gone to. I have always been confident at pitching – don’t know why. Lucky, I guess! I’m still trolling searching for the right agent, and I’m also taking a stab at Harlequin again. (I’ve been reading their books since I was 13; I really, really want to write for them.) I’m also pitching one of my older books that I’m inordinately fond of to Entangled Publishing. They’re holding pitches off-site, at their hotel across the street so yay!

But between now and checking in on Tuesday, I’ve got a lot to do. Like, um, formalize all my pitches, to start. I need to make sure my phone is internet-enabled, and not just when  the wireless is engaged. I need to pick up my jackets at the dry cleaners tomorrow, and finish all my work tasks. A big thing is to remember all the small things; tooth brush, toothpaste, makeup, curling iron, hairbrush – I always forget something, then have to buy something that doesn’t quite work. Can’t afford to do that this time, so I’ve got to get it right.

Then there’s the clothing issue. What with not being in my usual shape, due to the rocks in my belly, I’ll be doing a lot of camouflage dressing – jackets and jeans and boots, mostly. Dressy-casual, but not too dressy. Business-like, but not a suit&heels. When you’re spending your day rushing between workshops and lunch and appointments, the last thing you need to wear is a pair of high heels. (No new shoes for me this trip. I learned my lesson about that long ago.) So, laundry just got jacked up high on the list.

I’m lucky enough to room with three incredible women, all whom I’ve known and loved for a few years. We will totally rock our room with hilarity and wine and love and I just can’t wait. (Reminder – buy wine.)

My very first conference experience was rooming with the lovely and talented contemporary romance author Lynne Marshall, way back in 2002 – Denver. Every night after we collapsed in our rooms, we’d stay up, chattering about what we learned, and sharing our notes. It was like having a mini-conference within the conference, and remains one of the highlights of all of my conference-going experiences.

This is a decade later, and I find I’m still excited about learning, still excited about seeing old friends and meeting cyber-friends, and more than anything determined to reach out to people I haven’t yet met but want to meet. I plan to be ready with my business cards to hand out, and my logline (as to what I write) memorized. Bob Mayer says you should go to conferences with a plan – know what you’re going to do, who you’re going to talk with, and have concrete goals. Below are my goals, in no particular order:

1. Be upbeat, but not obnoxious.
2. Ask for business cards from people I connect with. Pass out business cards lavishly to the same.
3. Don’t fawn over Angela James. ESPECIALLY refrain from calling her “cute”. (Yeah. Don’t ask!) As a matter of fact, try to avoid Angela James entirely in any possible one on one situation. (It’s not her, trust me. It’s totally me.)
4. Rock my interviews. All three of them. Get requests for full submissions.
5. Spend some time at the bar, sticking to soda water with lime.
6. Soak up information like a sponge. Really consider taking as many of the self-publishing workshops as I can.
7. Find all of my friends and cyber friends at the book signing and say hi to each one.
8. Scrutinize all the agents that speak at the agent panel; see if maybe there’s one that meets my criteria, and do some research on him/her.
9. Don’t spend any time in my room unless I’m a) sleeping b)partying with the girls after everything is over or 3) taking a shower/doing my hair.
10. Be as much of a positive, welcoming influence as I possibly can to everyone I meet.

So there you go, my goals for RWA 2012. Not outside of my scope of reach, I think.

How about you? Are you going to RWA 2012? What are your goals? Oh, and by the way – I’m not signing at the Literacy Signing on Wednesday night, as I wasn’t sure if my second book would be out in time. But I’ll be hawking tickets and calling out the baskets at the signing – so if you see a crazy woman with electric red hair and a jacket and jeans, flinging business cards willy nilly,  it’s probably me. Come on over and say hi!

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12 Responses to Gearing Up – RWA 2012

  1. Helpful comments, Christine. I won’t be at the conference but your tips are good for any conference individuals attend. Have a great time and I wish you much success.

  2. Christine, that sounds like a fine plan to me. If you’re taking notes at the agent panels please think about sharing with me :)
    Flat, comfortable shoes is definitely the way to go. Leave the sore feet for others!
    Have an awesome time.

    • Christine says:

      Shelley, I will DEFINITELY share anything I think particularly intriguing/helpful, especially from the agents panel.

      Cheers hon!

  3. Dayle says:

    My goals are to interact/hang out with/connect with friends and colleagues, eat healthy and work out each day, have fun, and learn stuff. And, hopefully, get a little writing in each day as well.

    Can’t wait to see you!

  4. Roz Lee says:

    Can’t wait to see you!!! I’m all packed – I think. This is my fourth RWA and the first one where I won’t be pitching to anyone! I’m so excited about that. I can’t tell you what a relief it is to have that worry off of me. For once, no pressure, just go, learn, hang with friends – old and new, and soak up the energy from all those writers in one place at the same time.
    Ooops! Just thought of something I forgot to throw in the suitcase! Gotta go. See you Wednesday, GF.

    • You’re HYSTERICAL, Roz!! I am nowhere near packed. But then, I’m driving to the hotel. Or rather, the hubby is. So I’ll pack in a panic on Tuesday morning. But lists? Hell yeah, I’m making lists. And I’ve already made up a “Welcome” baggie for each of us, lol!

      EEK! Looking forward to it!!!

  5. Maria Powers says:

    A great post; you inspire me and intimidate me all at the same time. (Breathe, Maria. Just Breathe.) Can’t wait to see you there.

  6. Sarah Vance says:

    My eyes are already glazed over and I’m completely panicked. So I guess I’m off to a good start. I just can’t talk myself into giving up my heels. I love my heels. I’m nothing without my heels — maybe I’ll switch to wedges. Can hardly wait!

  7. Pingback: RWA12 Countdown… | Jo-Ann Carson

  8. Karen Akins says:

    It sounds like SO MUCH FUN! I love that conference energy, and yay for the pitches!! I’ll be holding my fingers crossed for you. :)

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