Friday, July 9, 2010

Making the Most of Nationals

Sandra here,

Are you set for the big time?
RWA Nationals is it baby.

All the major publishers are there giving away free books and their authors are signing them.

All the major publishers are sending their editors.

All the major agents are represented.

And there are thousands of writers vying for their dream to write, publish and market their precious work.

Ohhhhh the excitement.

The energy.

The nervous tension.

The fear.


Hey Mickey, What's up?

So with all of this going on, how do you make the most of it?

Let's look at one thing at a time.

1. The most important element of this
conference is your
editor/agent appointment.

Ten minutes of pure tension and fear. NO NO NO Don't go in with that attitude. This is the best part. The most fun. The interesting stuff.
  • have your pitch prepared and ready to present. This takes 1 to 2 minutes. (If it takes more, trim it down) Did I say trim it???? YES YES YES
  • So you've pitched and they say "great send it to me" And you jump up and tear out the door excited as can be. NO NO NO. STAY STAY STAY and use that full ten minutes.
  • Chit chat. Ask them how they like Orlando. What will they be seeing? etc. The reason you do this is because when you send your requested proposal, you can remind them of who you are by asking them how they liked _______.
  • If they have not asked for your proposal, chit chat anyway because you will be sending them something some other time and it is wonderful to know who these people are.
  • btw No editor or agent will take your proposal with them so don't even dream of it. But they could ask to see the first few pages. So take sample pages in a professional looking case, file, briefcase, etc.
  • Take a business card to leave with them if they ask.

2. NETWORK This is the next most
important element of a conference.

(After all, why did you travel all these miles

and spend all this money???)

In spite of the fact there are thousands of authors and aspiring authors there, the publishing community is not that big. Editors change houses often. You might meet an editor from a house you won't be writing for, but who knows, in a year or two that editor might be at the house you are submitting to. It is always great to know the people you are working with.

Introduce yourself to agents. You hear it said often that signing with an agent is like a marriage. But do you pick a husband from a list? You want to know that person. Know if they are someone you can work with, get along with, respect. So meet those agents. Talk to them. Attend their workshops and listen to what they have to say. You can tell a lot by listening to them speak.

And its a blast to meet your favorite authors.

(Like those of us from Seekerville-smile)

And its beneficial to meet aspiring authors.
You could end up joining forces and forming
a critique group. Or you will meet next year
as published authors.

Or forming a blog (like we did at Seekerville)

After all, writing is a one person project for most of us. It feels great to get out and put some real clothes on for a change and talk to real people.

Writers are a fun group because we all come from different walks of life, different parts of the country, different cultures. But what holds us together is we're interested in EVERYTHING, we love learning new stuff, we love meeting new people.

And the best part is meeting other people who are just as crazy as you are. I mean who else holds elaborate conversations in their head and talks to make believe people?????

So with this said. Toss aside any fear. BE BOLD and introduce yourself to everyone and anyone. You just might end up meeting the future Best Selling Author.

And the bars, lobby and meals are great times to mix. Try to sit with people you don't know. Pass out your business cards to everyone.


3. Attend Editor/Publisher spotlights.

These are a must. What houses are you targeting? Go to the spotlights because the editors will tell you what they are currently looking for. As they introduce the editors, they will list their preferences. For example, one editor might prefer historical and another paranormal. If you're writing historical, then you will want to target the editor who prefers them. They will usually tell you what they specifically don't want. Good stuff to know.

And they are usually fun to listen to. They might even be as nervous as you are. (shhh don't tell)

4. Workshops

Do like Myra does and check out the workshops before you arrive. (I wish I could say I was so organized. sigh) But she is right. This is a must. Look for the workshops that will benefit you the most. If your critique group keeps telling you to "show don't tell" find workshops on that subject.

If you're published and not sure how to market, find those workshops that talk about marketing techniques.

Prioritize the workshops. That way if something comes up, you'll know which workshops to skip.

My personal recommendation is to buy the CD of all the workshops. You can download them onto your MP3 player and listen to them when you can really focus on what they are saying. And you can hear them all, something you can't do at the conference. It is cheaper if you buy it at the conference. You can also share it (and the cost) with a friend.

This is also recommended for those of you who cannot attend the conference. Why miss out on all that info? Click here to order.

5. What to Wear

  • Most wear professional clothes like you would wear to work. After all you are selling yourself as a professional writer.

  • But remember it is HOT in Orlando. And because of this all of the rooms will be air conditioned. Bring a sweater or wrap. Once a room fills up with bodies, it heats up.
  • SO NEVER NEVER NEVER ASK TO TURN UP THE AIR CONDITIONER I promise, if you do, you'll be roasting before the workshop is over.
  • For the gala dinner, dress formal. This ranges from church Sunday best to really dressy like prom outfits.

  • If you're going to tour the beaches like me and Ruthy, you will want something comfortable and cool. Probably shorts and sandals.
  • If you're going to Disneyworld. WEAR COMFORTABLE WALKING SHOES
6. How to unscramble your scrambled brain.

Believe me, before the conference is half over, you will feel like your brain is mush. There are several remedies.

  • Find the nearest bar

  • Put on your swimsuit and go outside and take a dip (I met a senior editor by doing this)

  • Go to the gym and work out. Exercise is a great stress release.
  • On that note, skip workshops and go to Disneyworld.
  • Take a nap. (Preferably not in the lobby or in a workshop)
  • Take a break and visit with a friend.
7. Bonus Conference Freebies

One special feature at RWA nationals is most major publishers offer free books. The last RWA I went to in San Francisco had different rooms and times for each publisher. Before that, they all were in the same room. I'm not sure which way it will be this time. But in any case, you must attend. This will reimburse your conference fee BECAUSE each publisher has all of their romance authors sitting there signing books and GIVING THEM AWAY. That means free. No charge.

So if you're driving. Bring an extra suitcase. Those of us flying in. RWA provides a mail service right outside the door, complete with boxes, postage, and delivery to your door. All for the cost of about two of the books inside. Believe me, you will have enough books to last for at least a month.

And you get to meet all of those AUTHORS. You get to discover that they are real people just like you and me.

Thanks for joining us. Photos compliments of DisneyWorld and Janet Dean.

Speaking of free books. Post a comment and tell us about one of your funniest experiences at a conference and you'll be put in for a drawing for a Seeker book of your choice.

And the chef again offered to cater today. I'm providing my favorite chocolate velvet coffee.

How about that award winning sculpture? He's featuring:

breakfast sandwiches
canadian bacon,egg and cheese muffins
egg and cheese muffins
nova scotia smoked salmon and gravlax, onions, sliced tomatoes, capers, chopped eggs, new york bagels, chives, cream cheese
hard boiled eggs
assorted regular and diet soft drinks
assorted bottled waters to include carbonated and still
assorted bottled juices
infused spring water
with your choice of orange, raspberry, lemon, cucumber mint. an environmentally friendly alternative to bottled water


  1. Coffee pot's set.

    Can't think of anything really FUNNY from a conference. Just good times.


  2. Helen, Helen, Helen....

    Nothing really funny?

    Girlfriend, that's because we've never been at a conference together.

    How 'bout fire alarms that go off in the middle of the night sending romance authors (of all shapes and sizes) scurrying outdoors to safety in their assorted 'didn't think anyone would see these' jammies????



    Being stopped by a totally cute, to-die-for Texas cop because you're skulking the borders of a big ranchero????


    Going to buy your FIRST EVER Chic-fil-A in your jammies....

    This should tell you two things:

    First: Avoid Ruthy at conferences


    Second: Call Ruthy for a good time.

    And the coffee is great. LOVE YOU!

    Sandra, I'm taking all this advice to heart, but once there, I'm totally going to be over the top and just absorb things through my skin. Not UVA or UVB rays. Info. Knowledge. Really important stuff like what shoes Janet Evanovich is wearing, and does Sherryl Woods REALLY do her own hair? And is Linda Howard still that young?

    And if Gucci is in, will my Wal-Mart special look dorky or shabby-chic?

    Decisions, decisions.... ;)

    Lovin' the food. You throw a MEAN PARTY, MISS SANDRA!!!!!

    Hugs from upstate...

  3. Helen, you doll, always with the coffee first thing. Will you be there? You must join us at a conference sometime because.... well you heard Ruthy.

    Oh my Ruthy, And I'm going to a conference with you AGAIN. What will be next? I shudder to think.

    Wait. Not shudder. Those incidents were hysterical. I mean going to a conference is FUN FUN FUN. especially with Ruthy along.

    That menu is from their event list so we might get that at the conference. yum.

    I might miss workshops but I won't miss the meals. LOL

  4. I'm never been to Nationals, but I think your column could apply to any conference.

    I remember those fire alarms at the 2005 ACFW conference in Nashville. LOL, I rolled over and went back to sleep while my roommate went out in the hall to see what the problem was. We received a free breakfast. Coming out of the dining room the next morning, I ran into a friend who introduced me to this bubbly redhead who had just finished working out...of all things...sheesh. When she told me the woman's name, I burst into tears...that woman was my first mentor. Yes, ladies and gentleman, I had met Ruthy who taught me to cry for a day, and then put on my big girl pants and move forward.

    Thanks so much for sharing, Sandra.

  5. Ahh Lisa, That is sweet about meeting Ruthy. Yep, she will make you cry and then tell you to put your big girl panties on. But its worth it. She's always right dag nabbit :(as she would say)

    But really, you slept through the alarm???? Good thing there was not a fire.

    I made Ruthy change floors. We moved to the second floor from the top floor. Not funny. But hey, I spent my early childhood in San Francisco.

  6. This post was hilarious! I've never been to a conference, but the fire alarms remind me of my senior year in college when we had false alarms regularly, including the night before graduation when they went off almost every hour!


  7. Oh Holly, That is hilarious.

    You can probably well imagine all of us strangers, and soon to meet formally and professionally, men and women, outside in their jammies.


    There has to be more funny stories out there.

  8. I've never been to Nationals, but ya'll make it sound like a lot of fun.

    I hope they provide plenty of chaperones...


    bcountryqueen6 (at)msn(dot)com

  9. I wish I was going to Nationals!!! I've only been to two and those were so much fun. I loved the workshops and all the speakers. One of my favorite parts is staying in a beautiful hotel. Orlando will be great, but be prepared for some intense heat!

  10. Hi Cara, Thanks for the warning. You would know since you live in Florida.

    I'm used to heat being from Arizona, but the humidity will be what gets to me.

    Straight hair. yikes.

  11. Every writing conference I've attended can be summed up in two words: tired fun.

  12. Thanks for the great tips, Sandra! I esp. appreciate the part about unscrambling the brain--great advice. :)

    There was a fire alarm last year in DC too, but during workshops. Hundreds of romance writers spilled out onto the lawn surrounding the hotel. Two huge firetrucks pulled up the circular drive out front, and as the firefighters hopped off the truck in full gear, all of us on the sidewalks whipped out our cameras and snapped pictures. That counts as research, right?

  13. Hi Connie, Chaperones. Are you kidding? That is why we have so much fun.

    Please come sometime.

    Anyone serious about writing and getting published, start saving your pennies. Conferences are like the university training you get for most professions. They are a must. You need to learn about the profession, meet the movers and shakers and find your genre niche.

    Great investment of time and money.

  14. Gina, SO TRUE

    You need to plan a week after the conference just to unscramble your brain.

    Will you be there?

  15. Then again, I could have said "funny tiredness."

    And one can also wonder if the only reason I'm responding again is because my word verification is "grope." *sigh*

  16. Oh Anne, That is a scream. I must keep my camera handy at all times.
    OF COURSE that counts as research. I mean that's hero material.

    Who does these fire alarms?

    Those heroes could be out saving real lives.

  17. Excellent overview of the RWA conference experience, Sandra! It won't be long now until we're in Orlando. Yay! Looking forward to hooking up with Seeker sisters, Love Inspired editors, authors and writer friends I only see at conference.

    Outstanding conference memory though not funny really. My critique partner, Shirley Jump and I scurrying toward the staircase in our p.j.s and robes with the fire alarm blasting in our ears then being told the situation was under control and to go back to our room. After we did, we heard the fire engine arrive. Needless to say, we kept an eye on things until the engine left. More excitement than I care to have, especially in a high rise hotel!


  18. Networking. That's the fun part!!!

    I've never been the RWA national conference, and can't go this year, but I'll be at ACFW for the fifth year! Love it so much. This year I can relax. I'm not going to pitch so I don't have to be so uptight! Thank goodness.

  19. >>>>SO NEVER NEVER NEVER ASK TO TURN UP THE AIR CONDITIONER I promise, if you do, you'll be roasting before the workshop is over.

    Sandra, it may be early and lack of caffeine, but this makes NO SENSE to me. And yet, I think, if I could just clear the fog from my brain a bit more, it would. I'm sure it's me.

  20. I've never been to RWA and I've always wanted to go. Someday. SOMEDAY.

    And yet, reading this blog is almost overwhelming for some reason.

    It just seems too big to handle.

    I spend most of my time alone, you know....

  21. Oh Janet, You were out in your jammies too. That is hilarious.

    Folks, When I mentioned dress codes, I guess I should have included that we need to bring decent jammies since we could be all out there again. yikes.

    btw we are not inferring that anyone should set off an alarm. It wastes taxpayers money not to mention ties up the heroes when they might be needed for a real emergency.

    And Janet, yes, I'll get off my soapbox. It will be great to network. And SEE YOU AGAIN. Oh fun oh fun oh fun.

  22. Hi Melanie, The same tips apply to ACFW except they don't have all the freebies that the ABA publishers give away.

    But the networking, agent/editor appointments, workshops, seeing friends, meeting everyone. That is the same. Oh yes, the brain like mush is the same there too. LOL

  23. Mary, Mary, Mary. It is too much to handle. Trust me. That is why you go to HAV FUN and forget about trying to do everything.

    And the bit about the air conditioning. Every conference I go to they have the air on in the rooms. It is cold when you walk into an empty room. Someone complains, they turn the air off. Then 20-100 people walk in and their bodies heat up the room. When the air is on, its perfect. When the air has been turned off you are roasting by the end of the workshop.

    So people out there BRING A SWEATER. You can take it off.

  24. oh, funniest experience. Hmm, let me see. I can't really think of anything funny that happened. Unless you count my very first conference when I FAINTED. It's sort of funny now, looking back on it. At the time, nobody was laughing that I know of!

    It's funny that I can't think of anything funny, because I'm usually laughing and smiling, except when I'm crying! But they're good cries. I always laugh about crying but only later!

    Oh, and Ruthy, I get to see Linda Howard once a month at my RWA chapter meeting. *SMIRK* She's very down to earth and approachable, although I've yet to approach her. LOL

  25. Oh, Sandra, rub it in, why don't ya???? I am SO jealous that half the Seekers are going to RWA, and in Orlando, of all places!!! LOVE Orlando!

    But I'll be a big girl and stop whining now and simply say I hope you gals have a fabulous time and meet the Mouse ... while my husband has to stay home with the Bear.


  26. I've never been to either conference but I'm interested in how they compare. If you think you're writing more towards the inspirational market would it be worth while to go to RWA where I'm assuming the majority of writers, publishers, editors etc would not be from the Christian market? And if you could only afford to go to one, which one would you recommend?

  27. Ruthy:

    I've only been to one RWA national conference, and that was over 20 years ago. Can't remember any unusual incidents.

    Most of the conferences I've attended over the years have been educational or related to the ministry. Did go to the national ventriloquism convention one year. That was a blast.


    I was registered for Nashville, but the move to Orlando created more travel complications than I cared to deal with. I cancelled.

    I'm registered for ACFW. I've even volunteered for a couple of things.


  28. Love RWA!

    What I found funny about the fire alarm in Washington D.C. was all the authors who went to their rooms to get their laptops before they left the building!

    My advice? Get the conference tapes...they're not that expensive and there are so many amazing workshops!

    (And that way, you won't feel guilty sitting in the lobby coveting Nora Roberts cute purse as she walks by...oh, wait, maybe that was just me)

  29. Oh Melanie, Was that you who fainted? That would be memorable. But at least everyone was caring about you.

    That reminds me folks. DRINK LOTS OF WATER. Many problems can be deterred. You get so busy you forget to do that and they always provide water in each workshop.

    An I love to see you laughing and having fun. That's the best part of a conference.

  30. Julie, We will miss you and you aren't a bear. You're a writer after all. Entitled to bear type moments. LOL

    Helen, A ventriloquist convention??? Now that would be a kick. Are you a ventriloquist?

    I understand about the change. Cost me a bundle to change airline tickets, etc. I almost cancelled out myself, except I had to go see Ruthy again. Want to see what is going to happen this time? We'll probably have some snaffoo involving Mickey and the gang.

  31. That wasn't me last year, Sandra. I was the one in 2005. I was the FIRST! LOL I had a teeny reaction to some OTC meds from the night before. Ai yi yi, I can't even take Benadryl. My husband says I'm very delicate. And he doesn't mean it as a compliment either!

  32. I've never been to RWA, but it sounds terrific...especially all those free books! I'd need a U-Haul to get home!

  33. Well, this wasn't a writer's conference but a church retreat and camp one...I went to California from here in NC and was walking around, only to discover that a former classmate from MD was there as well. AND that he was a Methodist jaw dropped and he was like, "yeah, I know." The guy didn't have a stellar rep in high school if you know what I mean.

    Have ya'll ever been surprised by some of the folks you meet at these thing?

    Have a great time all.

    Peace, Julie

  34. Hi Kav, Both conferences are expensive. So if you can only go to one (that is usually what I do. I alternate) I would go to the ACFW conference if you're targeting the Inspirational market. Most of the CBA publishers are represented whereas at RWA only a few are.

    btw it is improving. RWA conferences are getting more CBA publishers every year.

    Also, if you can't handle the big ones, look around for local chapter conferences. Desert Rose chapter puts on a super conference every other year. And our local chapter provides workshops at every meeting. Most chapters do and they are free. WEll, you do have to belong to go to all of them, but you can go as a guest to one or two. It pays to belong though. RWA has a wonderful magazine with great articles about the business of writing.

    Local ACFW chapters might have workshops to go to that don't cost anything. Ours does in the Phoenix area. Email me if you live in that area or ask about the local groups in your area. You can log onto the RWA site or the ACFW site and find out about the chapters in your area.

  35. Stephanie, I'm with you. I always buy the tapes whether I go to the conference or not. Best hundred bucks spent. You get TONS of information.

    And yes, lets check out those shoes and famous authors. smiling

    That's a great point about the laptops. I always carry a flash drive with everything that is on my computer. That way if something happens I have my info with me.

  36. Erica, A U-Haul would be ideal. smiling

    Julie, That is fun--to meet someone unexpectedly. Hmmmm sounds like the start of another novel. Thanks for the idea.

    Now I can add the conference fee to my research tax deduction. LOL

  37. Melanie, I was remembering the one in 2005. So we did meet then. How great. You remember the fire drill too.

  38. I remember the fire drill. It is permanently scarred into my psyche, the pajama clad writers in the hallway.

    I mean seriously, it IS a fire alarm. We SHOULD probably run for our lives.

    And yet we stood there and chatted and wondered (and probably plotted out scenes in a book about idiots who ignored fire alarms and DIED!!!

  39. We ignored the fire drill! We figured if it were real, we'd figure it out in time!

  40. Well, it wasn't funny at the time, but at Mt. Hermon I intentionally waited to pick up my submission packets until after dinner to avoid the crush of attendees eager to see their results. Imagine my horror when I finally opened my packet to see a note from an editor saying she wanted to meet me -- two hours ago. We both laughed about it later. (I was very thankful that she found it funny).

  41. Sandra:

    Yes, I'm an AMATEUR ventriloquist. I haven't done much in recent years, though.

    Try to do a visual of a hotel jammed with convention-goers carrying these little figures around through the halls!!

    I used to do assembly programs for the school when my kids were in elementary. I did a lot of church things, of course. And the civic organizations also liked the wooden headed kid.


  42. And Mary, only YOU would be out there plotting your next story and probably spending the rest of the night writing it. LOL

    And I'm so glad it wasn't real as it seems there are many of you who would be DEAD.

    Ruthy and I were running around in our jammies but at least we would be ALIVE

  43. Karen, That must have been the most horrible feeling. Like you, I'm so thankful the editor had a sense of humor. Whew!

    And see folks. That's why conferences are great. We find out editors really are real people.

  44. Helen, I do hope one of your heroines is a ventriloquist. If not, can I write one? And ask you a gazillion questions. This sounds amazingly fun.

  45. Hey folks, I'm off to play pickleball and will be back in a couple hours.

    What is pickleball? Check it out.PICKLEBALL

  46. Sandra:

    Yes, the heroine in one of my manuscripts is a ventriloquist. That one placed second in the Merritt Contest.


  47. Hi Sandra:

    I’m just fresh from a conference and I have a few suggestions:

    1. Bring a watch. I forgot mine and there were no public clocks anywhere in the hotel. Many speakers did not know how long their talks were supposed to be and the way you found out that the class was over was when then next class started coming into the room. (This can make you late to your next class. Hint: know where you next class is held.)

    Note: It is easy to get talking in the hall between workshops and not know when the next workshop begins. When you come in late, sometimes the doors to the room make a lot of noise when they are opened. (Everyone turns around to see who is disturbing the class!) This is especially true if the room is dark and the open doors flood the room with light. Know when your next class starts and get there on time. A watch helps!

    2. Have business cards even if you never use them the rest of the year. Business cards are the best and fastest way to exchange information. You’ll be surprised how many different people you’ll meet that you’ll want to exchange information with after the conference is over.

    3. Don’t be shy. Sit up front as close as you can to the speaker and stay away from any partition walls. Sometimes the class next door is so loud that you can’t hear your own speaker – this is especially true if the speaker next door is dynamic and very funny. Also if you are near the speaker you will be able to hear the questions from the audience the speaker receives. Some speakers are inexperienced and do not repeat the questions they are asked.

    4. Try to sit were you can see the overhead projections. Some speakers are very inexperienced and use ‘slides’ with type too small to be read from anywhere but the first row. Also some speakers will not speak loud enough to be heard in the back of the room – even when told to speak up. Sound equipment does not always work and even when it does some speakers refuse to use microphones.

    5. When eating, sit at tables with the most people already there. Talks at meals with people who you don’t know can be one of the most rewards times at a conference. I found that the experienced authors at the table would often be quick to introduce themselves and start conversations. My favorite 'icebreaker' was this one: “I’m Kaki Warner and I write western historicals. What do you write?” This gets everyone at the table involved in the conversation. Everyone likes to talk about what they write about.

    I hope some of this helps.

    Have a great conference.


  48. Okay, Gina's groping people and Melanie just admitted to being tooooooo chicken to approach Linda Howard (who pulls up her big girl panties just like the rest of us, I assume, Mel... I'm just sayin'....

    AND the kicker is she sees her almost once a month.

    Oh. My. Stars.

    Mellie. Call me. We'll do some phone to phone counseling. It will help, I promise!!!! ;)


    And Sandra's warning about false alarms. That is the school teacher in her.

    Oh mylanta, I need a drink. Caffeine, I mean. Loaded. I've woken the past few mornings before the alarm because this story is buzzing through my brain. And other people's stories are buzzing through my brain.

    I'm all abuzz. But now I NEED a buzz...

  49. Sandra, did you just coach people to drink lots of water?

    Sandra, this is how we get book fodder. We watch our friends faint (and that whole Mel fainting thing was proven to be Mary Connealy's fault... She mentored the poor girl and has since put the future of mentoring on hold for civic organizations nationwide. Sad, really). And after they faint, or WHATEVER they do that is embarrassing, we use it in a book.

    So fun.

  50. LOL, Ruthy!!! Yes, I'm too chicken! Plus, I figure the woman gets approached enough. She doesn't need one more. What would I say, anyway? Maybe I'll call you and you can coach me.

  51. Hey Vince, Great suggestions. You're absolutely right on, especially with seeing, hearing and watching the time.

    However those chats in the hallway can be more fun than the workshop. shhhhh I didn't say that.

  52. Ruthy, you got me. No No No don't drink the water. It is too fun to watch everyone faint. And then use it in a story. What story was that you used it in Ruthy???

    Ooops telling on you.

    Melanie, cluck cluck cluck. Ruthy is right. Listen to her. Call her. She's a kick anyway and you'll get a good laugh.

    And Ruthy doesn't mind getting too much attention so don't ever feel shy about approaching her.

    Actually all of us Seekers love attention. Can't you tell?

  53. I've never been to a conference but I hope to go one day. Y'all just make it sound so terrifying, thrilling, hilarious, and educational all at the same time! The most important thing I've taken away here is to pack some decent pajamas ;-)


  54. Super, super overview of RWA, Sandra! And now I am looking forward to it more than ever--especially seeing several of my dear, dear friends again!

    Nope, can't really afford it, but I haven't been in a few years, and besides, this will be my first time ever participating in the Literacy book signing. So if you're there, PLEEEEEZE stop by my table and say hi so I don't feel completely alone at this massive event!

  55. Hi MAry, Yes, yes, decent pajamas are a must.

    Myra. So looking forward to seeing you again.

    And YES YES YES There will be many Seeker sisters at the literacy signing. Some for the first time. drrrummmmroolllllllllll woo hoo

    And proceeds go to a good cause.
    And you can write off purchases of books.
    And you have another reason to bring that extra suitcase or as Erica suggested. a UHAUL

  56. Sandra, you did a superb job reminding folks of all the things NOT to forget.

    I'm so jealous of everyone getting to go to RWA!! I expect a full accounting of all the great activities and surprises the week brings.


    Who did you talk to?? Who received requests??


  57. Hi Audra, I wish you were there also. We will miss you and believe me, we will report all the good news.

    I'm off for a swim. Need a break from sitting at the computer. whew! Brain's mush.

    Be back with some snacks and refreshing sun tea. Have slices of lemon and orange to squeeze it it if you like.

    Lemon and orange slices taste great in sparkling soda water too. Yumm. I can hear the ice cubes clinking now.

  58. Sniff. Sniff. Waaaaaaaa-iiiiii-lllll.









    I did go to a small workshop recently and being the youngest person there and coming back from the hotel bar, even if it was with a LEMONADE can make you the brunt of a few jokes.

    Fun post though. Thanks for letting me know what to expect when I do FINALLY get to one!


  59. Oh Casey, Don't cry. A workshop is a great way to start. You can do all the things there that you do at a conference. Network, Learn craft, Learn about the business, and build your confidence for when you do go.

    Should mention to all of you that most of these conferences have strands for all ages, all genres, all special interests. No matter what your age and/or what you write, you will find something to interest you.

  60. Hey everyone!
    Been out of the loop a bit. Great posts and comments!.
    I've only attended 3 conferences - the SCBWI in Houston this past February was a fun time. I met some really great authors, and we still keep in touch. I don't know if this qualifies as funny but at the dinner afterwards, it was so loud, it was impossible to hear the person across from you at the table. So when the keynote speaker and her hubby seated themselves across from me I was quite excited but could hear about every 4th word. So - some of the things I thought I heard or imagined I heard were pretty funny.
    So - a note if any of us plan an event like this, make sure it's held somewhere that is conducive to conversation...
    not so funny - but TRUE!!!
    Everyone - have a GREAT weekend!

  61. Sandra, you have me really excited for conference! And I guess it's going to be here before we know it!

    Thanks for sharing the fun photos. :)

  62. Anne, I was there for the fire alarm in D.C.! We were coming back from lunch and saw all the people spilling out. I heard it was a kitchen fire.

    But all I could think about was how many of those authors on the lawn were ready to run inside to rescue their laptops! :)

  63. Hi Missy, What an experience in DC. Today is the first I've heard of it. Oh I hope they don't do that in Orlando. It is going to be HOT HOT HOT


    Thanks everyone for joining us today. I'm off to bed as we have a big day tomorrow.

    Stop by because I've heard there is a party.

  64. I wish I could go this year!

  65. LOL, Sandra. It is a great place to start and I loved laughing with everyone else, seemed to just lighten the mood a great deal. :)