Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Conference Dos & Don'ts!

Debby Giusti at the 2014 RWA Literacy Signing!
She's ready to greet folks when the doors open.
This year, 480 of your favorite authors
will be signing. Proceeds benefit literacy.
By Debby Giusti

New York, New York! 
The 2015 National Romance Writers Conference will be held next week at the beautiful Marriott Marquis Hotel on Times Square in New York City. To help prepare for the big event, I’m reviewing some of the conference dos and don’ts originally in a blog I wrote before the 2011 conference, also held in NYC. What worked then still applies. I've added some photos from 2011, and Seekerville will post pics from this year's conference on the WE, July 26-27. 

Not attending RWA this year? What about ACFW? The majority of the information I'm sharing today applies to that conference as well as state or regional gatherings in your local area. Being prepared helps calm nerves and ensures you make the most of your conference experience. So…

DO your research. Check the workshops and speaker lineups ahead of time to determine which presentations you want to attend. Ask other writers about programs that SHOULD NOT BE MISSED FOR ANY REASON. Which leads to the first don’t…

DON’T be late, especially if a presenter is a big name draw. Rooms fill up fast. You don’t want to be without a seat or barred from entrance because the venue has reached maximum capacity.

The New York City skyline taken from the Top of the Rock!

DO make the most of every opportunity. Strike up a conversation with folks on the elevator. Sit next to someone you don’t know at breakfast. Introduce yourself to the people beside you in the workshops you attend. Keep a notebook and jot down their names and email or, better yet, exchange business cards. When you get home, stay in touch. RWA has more than 10,000 members; about 2,000 attend the National Conference. After a few years, you’ll know everyone!

DON’T be handicapped by shyness. Set a goal to talk to five people you don’t know each day. Come up with an equal number of opening lines and then practice saying them to strangers. “Where’s home?” and “How long did it take for you to drive (or fly) here?” are universal icebreakers, especially at the beginning of the conference. “Wasn’t our keynote speaker inspirational? Have you read any of her books?” “Are you going to see any of the sights while you’re in New York?” You decide on the questions. Having them ready will ensure you make new friends wherever you go.
DO talk to authors at the literacy book signing. The big name writers attract long lines of readers, while the majority of authors have very few people stop by their tables. If you enjoy an author’s work, tell her. If you’ve never heard of her, ask about her book and her genre and any tips she has on getting published.

DO keep paper and pen handy. Ask authors for a quote on literacy or the conference or New York City that you can use later in a blog article. Most writers enjoy having their picture taken with readers. Those photos will make a nice addition to your website, blog or Facebook page.
Mary Curry and Tina Radcliffe at the 2011 Conference.
They're rooming together this year! Watch out New York! :)
DON’T feel obligated to buy the authors’ books at the RWA signing. The publishers donate the books, and the proceeds benefit literacy each year.  It's a great cause, but conferences are expensive so don't worry about not buying.  Plus, with the airlines' luggage and weight restrictions, most folks wait until they get home to buy books.  Or download them to their Kindles!

DON’T forget to stop by my table. I want to give you a big Seekerville hug. Plus, I'll be giving away little composition notebooks and candy!

DO frequent the Goody Room. At the beginning of the conference, the room is crammed with tons of informative and fun giveaways. After the signing, I usually leave a stack of leftover books in the Goody Room so check back often to see what new items are up for grabs.

DO study the tchotchkes and think about what you’ll place in the Goody Room when your book sells. Before “The Call,” I collected bookmarks and other cute author giveaways. That collection helped me decide on promo items when my first book sold.

The beautiful Woolworth Building on Broadway is the
NYC headquarters for Harlequin and Love Inspired Books.

DO wear your badge high enough so folks can see your name. Think of it as a marketing tool. Add an interesting pin or conversation starter that will help you stand out from the crowd. 

DO have a one-line pitch prepared, so when people ask, you can succinctly tell them about your book. One line won’t tell all, but hopefully, it will hook their interest.
Love Inspired Books Executive Editor Tina James gives
Debby Giusti (L) and Janet Dean (R) a tour of the LI offices
during the 2011 RWA Conference.
DO print business cards to pass out at the conference. Attach a small label on the back with your upcoming book releases, contest wins or other information you’d like people to know.

DON’T hand your card to editors or agents unless they ask for it. More than likely, they won’t need to contact you before you submit to them. Be sure to get their cards so you know where to mail/email any material they’ve requested.

DO attend workshops presented by editors and agents you’re targeting. At the end of the program, introduce yourself and mention your work. Sometimes they’ll ask you to submit a proposal on the strength of that short conversation.

Lady Liberty! God Bless the USA!

DON’T stalk editors or agents. (Of course, Seeker friends would never stalk anyone!) Give them space, especially in the restrooms. Be friendly, but take your cue from them. If they seem interested in chatting, strike up a conversation. If they’re rushing to keep an appointment, smile and say hello in passing.

DO ask editors and agents about their submission guidelines when they request your material. Some want only electronic submissions. Others require hard copies.

DON’T interrupt when you see an author or writing friend talking to an editor or agent. Most meetings between authors and their agents or editors take place in the hotel lobby or coffee shop. They’re working and don’t want to be interrupted.

Ground Zero under construction in 2011.
DO attend the Spotlight On… Sessions hosted by the publishing houses to which you’d like to submit. Take notes and ask questions. If you can’t make the session, buy the CD to learn the latest information about the publisher.

DO attend the HARLEQUIN SIGNING on Friday, July 24, 9:45 am - 11:15 am, Westside Ballroom 3-4. Tina Radcliffe, Missy Tippens and I will be signing, and our generous publisher is giving our books away FREE! Get there early to be first in line.

The NY Stock Exchange.
DON’T give your manuscript or proposal to editors or agents at the conference. Mail the submission to them once you get home.

DO pack comfy shoes. Conference hotels are large and require lots of walking. Also be sure to bring a sweater or light jacket in case the hotel is cold.
The Seeker Village gathers to chat during the 2013 conference!
DON’T hole up in your room at the end of the work day. Writers love to congregate in the lobby or bar area. Find a friend and mix and mingle. You never know who you’ll meet. Usually the Seekers and Villagers find a spot to call their own. Join the group and the fun!
(L_R) Debby Giusti, Janet Dean and Mary Connealy at Times Square.
DO enjoy yourself. You’ll come home enthused and ready to write.

Share your tips or conference dos and don’ts. Leave a comment to be entered in a drawing for an advanced copy of PERSON OF INTEREST, the next book in my Military Investigations series.

Hope to see you in New York!

Wishing you abundant blessings,
Debby Giusti

By Debby Giusti
August 2015


While babysitting a young servicewoman’s infant, Natalie Frazier hears a murder in the neighboring army duplex. Convinced her former commander is behind the crime, the ex-soldier bolts with the baby. But who will believe her story? Army investigator Everett Kohl deals only with the facts, but this time his gut instincts can’t be denied. Is the attractive Natalie a cunning killer, as his ranking officers believe, or an innocent victim? Ordered to bring her in, Everett has a decision to make. Helping her could cost him his job…but not protecting  Natalie and the baby could get all of them killed…

Pre-order your copy in digital or print format: Amazon.

Available NOW!


Tina Radcliffe said...

Hahaha! That picture of Mary Curry and I gave me a chuckle. We first met at RWA NYC that year. Great memories.

Remember that the RWA schedule for Seekers in The Weekend Edition

Mary Curry said...

Ha! My tip was going to be Stay out of the way of photographers!

I had the worst case of bronchitis when that picture was taken. The hotel's sub zero AC wasn't helping.

Cindy W. said...

Great post Debby! You gave some awesome tips! Makes me wish I was going!

Have fun and be blessed!

Smiles & Blessings,
Cindy W.

Mary Preston said...

I can only imagine how much fun it would be to attend. A working environment too I understand.

Jackie said...

Hi Debby,

I plan to order my plane ticket today for ACFW, and I've been thinking a lot about that conference. Thanks for all the great tips.

Don't be shy is the hardest tip for me. I'm so awed by the greatness surrounding me at conference, and it's hard to get comfortable. Last year you and Tina and Janet went out of your way to make me feel more at ease, and I will always remember your kindness. Thanks so much.

Have a great time in NYC!

(I can't wait to read your new book. It sounds great!)

Debby Giusti said...

Tina, love the pic of you and Ms. Curry! I know you two will be up to something in NYC, probably dreaming up new opportunities for the Seekerville family to get their work before more editors and agents.

LOL at my tablet's auto correct. Seekerville became Seeker villa. Is an Italien retreat in our future?

Mary Hicks said...

Some great tips, Debby! Sounds like fun.

Good luck and safe traveling to all who are planning on going to the conference.

Debby Giusti said...

MC, seems you were the one who was always taking photos with your iPad! LOL!

Trying to remember if the NY Marriott was cold in 2011. The ATL Marriott was warm...I was always shedding my sweaters and jackets. Anyone remember 2011?

Debby Giusti said...

Cindy, tuck them away for future reference. Writers eventually get to conferences. Local or regional events are a good start. When you attend, you'll know what to expect and how to prepare ahead of time.

Rose said...

Can't wait to see you and all the other Seekers next week in NYC!

Great tips.

Debby Giusti said...

Grabbing my second cup of coffee. Tea is available as well, along with an assortment of NY bagels and cream cheese and jelly. I brought locks for Ruthy, and for those in the South, a pot of grits. Enjoy!

Debby Giusti said...

Mary P, we'll be working for sure. So many excellent workshops to attend presented by industry experts. Plus, lots of opportunities to network.

I'be been covering the conference with prayer for some time now, asking God to direct our steps to the places He wants us to go. There really are no coincidences when we ask the Lord to get involved.

Debby Giusti said...

I'll miss seeing you in Dallas, Jackie. This will be the first ACFW conference since 2005 that I won't be attending. You're so poised and gracious, no one would think you were shy. :)

Debby Giusti said...

Jackie, thanks for mentioning my book. Hugs!

Debby Giusti said...

Thanks for the safe travel, Mary Hicks! Travel prayers appreciated.

Debby Giusti said...

Rose, so glad you'll be there!!! Remembering ACFW Dallas when we first met...lovely memories.

kaybee said...

DEBBY, this is good advice and simple good manners. We don't want to become a Conference Monster! These are tips that can be applied to any situation.
This is not a conference year for me, but I will "ponder these in my heart" for the future.
Kathy Bailey
Staying Home in NH

Caryl Kane said...

Hey Debby, thanks for the glimpse into a writer's conference. I would love to attend a readers conference.

Cindy Regnier said...

Staying home - again! I do love posts like this - and pics! Thanks Debby. Makes me feel closer to the action. Alas, my 'real' job hits a peak of busyness about the same time as conference. For now, it has to get priority. Wishing all the folks who can attend a wonderful and productive time. Would love to meet the Seekers face-to-face someday!

Wilani Wahl said...

Thank you for the tips. I will tuck them away for when I have an opportunity to attend a conference. One highlight of attending a conference would be to meet in person the wonderful authors I have met through Seekerville. I will look forward to seeing pictures and hearing about this years conference. Please enter my name for a copy of your book

Marilyn Baxter said...

Great tips! I like the one about putting a label on the back of your business card with your current release since I had a book release two days ago (subtle hint LOL). Note to self: print labels. I also had some bookmarks made with my current book on the front, my previous one on the back along with an easy peach crisp recipe. I tend to keep things with recipes on them.

My tip is to carry a bottle of whatever over-the-counter pain reliever you use with you at all times. You can make a good friend if you offer them something for their headache. And remember to drink lots of water so you don't get dehydrated and develop a headache -- or worse.

I saw myself in the Atlanta 2013 photo. It was so great seeing you guys there. I think I moderated your workshop -- another good way to meet people and give back to RWA.

I've been working on my packing list and my wardrobe chart. I plan out each day's outfit in advance so I know exactly what to pack and then it's easy for me to know what to wear. I add in a couple extra tops to go with my good ole stand-by black dress pants just in case I spill something down the front.

See y'all next week!!!

Debby Giusti said...

Enjoy the week, Kathy! I know Ruth will have fun activities planned for those who won't be in NYC. Make sure Ruthy doesn't get carried away. Okay?

Barbara Scott said...

DEBBY, great advice! Especially, no stalking in the bathrooms. LOL I've always sat on the editor's side of the table or taught writing classes at ACFW. It's fun to think about attending as an author. I'm praying for a huge influx of cash so I can attend this year. Come on, Publishers Clearing House.

Glynna Kaye said...

RWA in NYC looks like SO MUCH FUN, Debby!! I've never gotten to go to RWA or New York City--but I can dream, can't I?

One thing I did when I went to my first ACFW conference was pack a flattened FedEx box in the bottom of my suitcase. One of the flat-rate kind where it costs the same amount no matter how much you cram into it. A local friend mailed the filled box back to me after the conference -- but I think at RWA's site there is usually a FedEx pickup there, so that might be something to check into in advance if you think you might be bringing home books and other treasures!

Janet Dean said...

Debby, your post has me all excited to see you and everyone going to RWA this year! I have a lot of prep work to do before I go. As you suggest, I need to look at the workshops and make a list of the ones I don't want to miss. Then print a calendar with commitments such as Love Inspired events, group lunch with editor, meeting with agent, HQ signings and chats. And of course the signings!

Your tips on starting conversation with strangers are terrific! When I think about it, no one we meet is a stranger since we're connected with our love of writing.

Thanks for the bagels!


Janet Dean said...

Glynna, yes, there is a mailing site at the hotel. Thanks for the great tip for getting purchased and free books home!!


Janet Dean said...

Marilyn, looking forward to seeing you!


Janet Dean said...

Rose, I'm looking forward to hooking up with you! Familiar faces make the conference so much fun!

I had to giggle at Debby's assurance we'd soon know all 2k attendees. If anyone can, Debby can!


Rhonda Starnes said...

Wonderful tips, Debby! Oh how I wish I was going, but sadly the money wasn't there this year due to other obligations and WPA.

However, I was in NYC last week on a family trip. It was horribly humid (this coming from an Alabama girl who lives in a high humidity area). I would say make sure you drink plenty of water to stay hydrated if you do venture outside the hotel. I got really sick and almost passed out. Fortunately, I was with Mary Curry when the episode hit, and we quickly figured out I hadn't eaten any protein that day and was dehydrated. Felt better after eating a chicken and avocado salad and drinking lots of water and Gatorade. It's easy to forget to take care of yourself when you're traveling and on the go.

Right now, my conference goals are ACFW in Nashville 2016 and RWA in Orlando 2017. I will bookmark this list so when I finally make it to conference I don't come off acting like a hick.

Janet Dean said...

Jackie, I'm not attending ACFW this year. Hope you'll share the happenings with those at home.


Janet Dean said...

Mary Curry, most people love to be photographed at conferences so taking pictures is a terrific way for a shy person to get involved. No one would've guessed you were hiding behind that iPad. ;-)


Missy Tippens said...

Debby, you've got me really excited about conference!! I can't wait to see everyone!

You know, your tip about not interrupting author and editor/agent appointments is a great one. I can't tell you how many times I've excitedly waved and run over to greet a writer friend only to realize she was sitting with her agent or editor!! It's so embarrassing. :)

Missy Tippens said...

I love that Tina and Mary photo! "Look out NY" is right. :)

Missy Tippens said...

LOL, Debby! I think we DO need a Seeker Villa!

Missy Tippens said...

Marilyn congrats on your new book! No need to hint around here. We want to celebrate with you! :)

May the K9 Spy (and KC Frantzen) said...

Wish I could be there... Just to meet up with you ladies AND see NYC.
Never been!

Have FUN!

Lisa Carter said...

Looking forward to seeing all you Seekerville ladies in NYC next week. Debby, any advice on what to bring as far as promotional items, swag, etc . . . ? Do you bring bookmarks to hand out as well as business cards?

DebH said...

is it bad to wish I could go to a conference just so I can meet Seekers in person? I cannot justify going to a conference when I really don't have anything of note to show anyone. i'm still struggling with what/where i'm going with my writing. I know it's in God's plan for me, but the logistics are escaping me at this time...

love all the pix and looking forward to "hearing" from conference peeps as well as seeing what Ruthy has planned for the non-conference peeps.

Hallee Bridgeman said...

SO looking forward to New York this year! I hope to see all of you there again! Spending some time with the Seekerville folks was one of the highlights for me last year in San Antonio.

For those of you who want to start the conference off with a worship service, the Faith-Hope-Love chapter of RWA will have our annual worship service on Wednesday. Let me know if you want to know the when's and where's. There's nothing like kicking off a conference in worship with other writer believers!


Susan Anne Mason said...

Great tips, Debby. Sadly I won't be attending the conference this year but hope to see everyone next year!
Can't wait for pictures and updates from both conferences!

Debby Giusti said...

I was at church for a couple hours and came home to lots of comments. Grabbing coffee and ready to chat...

Fresh fruit--cantaloupe, watermelon, pineapple, apples and oranges--available for a mid-morning snack. Help yourselves!

Debby Giusti said...


A number of reader events are popping up around the country these days. Barbara Vey hosts a wonderful Reader Appreciation Luncheon each April in Milwaukee. Harlequin is hosting reader luncheons in various spots. The first was in Florida. I believe the second was held in the NW. RomCon is a romance-based conference for readers to mix with their favorite authors. Also the RT Convention is a reader-based event. Google your area, and see if you can find a local event. Let us know, if you uncover something of interest.

Debby Giusti said...

Cindy, I hope we can meet someday in person as well. Thanks for the conference well wishes. We'll be sharing info and tips that we learn in future blogs. Stay tuned! :)

Debby Giusti said...

Wilani, you're in the drawing.

I never attended a national conference until my book was close to being sold. Actually I got The Call three days after returning home from the 2005 RWA Conference. Up until then, I had only attended conferences closer to home...the GA Romance Writers' Moonlight and Magnolias Conference and Memphis' Duel on the Delta. I couldn't justify being away from children and incurring the expense for the larger events in those early years. So I can relate to all of you who won't be attending for whatever reason.

Debby Giusti said...

Marilyn, thanks for sharing your great tips!!!

I need to make some labels too. And get dollar bills from the bank for tipping the maids, wait staff, cabby, etc.

Volunteering is an easy way to make new friends. I should have added it to my list of Dos. Thank you!

Yes, yes, yes!!! To black slacks. I take a couple pairs and then switch tops. Easy peasy.

Congrats on the release of your next book!!! I'll look for your bookmarks in the Goody Room. Love that you've added a recipe along with your book info!

See you in NYC!!!

Debby Giusti said...

Barbara, I have to ask. Were you ever stalked in the bathroom? :)

Debby Giusti said...


An excellent point! Yes, the hotel has a mailing service, and RWA provides resources as well so attendees can mail boxes homes--boxes filled with books!!! Pack scissors, tape and a Sharpie in your luggage to make the mailing process that much easier!

Thanks for sharing a great tip, Glynna!!!

Sarah Claucherty said...

Debby, don't add me to the drawing today--I've already got POI (not the Hawaiian dish ;) in my TBR pile from an earlier giveaway here at Seekerville!

I'd love to attend a writers' conference like RWA! Meet authors, get some insight into the writing world, discover new authors and publishers, pick up some lovely books and whatnot...Sounds wonderful! Unfortunately that's not feasible right now, between a college student's budget and work commitments. Someday! Someday!

In the meantime, like Caryl, I'll be hunting for nearby reader events! Thanks for the idea, Caryl, and the tips for finding those events, Debby!

Debby Giusti said...

More mailing info:

Some folks mail boxes to the hotel and have them held for their arrival, especially promo items.

FYI, the larger hotels often charge a daily holding fee until the box is picked up. Call the Marriott if you plan to mail ahead and ask about their fees.

Myra Johnson said...

Wonderful tips--and such a thorough list, Debby! I really hoped to make it to the NYC conference but it was more important this year to spend that travel money on our trip to Montana (see yesterday's post) for our grandson's graduation party. Someday I would like to do NYC as a real tourist, though, not restricted by conference schedules.

Debby Giusti said...

Janet, you're so organized. Love that you'll make a schedule for each day...probably a spread sheet, which is more than I'll do. LOL!

But I have a stack of printouts of events that I want to attend. I'll file them by date and make a list--handwritten--of not-to-be-missed meetings/sessions/signings.

Like you, I need to review the workshops. RWA attracts the big name speakers. Love to soak up all the interesting info they share in their presentations.

Won't be long!!! I'm excited!!!

Debby Giusti said...

LOL, Janet, about your 2k comment. Knowing everyone in RWA is a worthy goal, don't you think? :)

Debby Giusti said...

Missy, I hunted for a pic of you, Tina and me for the blog. I wanted to load it next to the info about our HARLEQUIN SIGNING WITH FREE BOOKS!!! Alas, I couldn't find one. We need to make sure we have our picture taken together at the event!

To those who may not know, this is a huge honor. I never thought I'd be invited to sign at the special publishing house giveaway. I'm humbled and grateful...also thrilled to share the "special moment" with Tina and Missy!!!

Debby Giusti said...

KC, we need to meet in person one of these days!!!

BTW, did you see the lovely comment Vince posted on the blog yesterday in reference to your Paris book? If not, be sure to check it out. Wonderful, well-deserved praise.

Debby Giusti said...

Hi Lisa,

So glad you'll be at RWA! Recently, RWA has requested no paper giveaways in the Goody Room. I haven't checked the restrictions this year. They also want promo to be in some type of a container/box/basket, instead of freely placed on the tables. I giveaway my little notebooks, usually about 300-400 of them. This year, I'm planning to attach candy to small business cards that promo my books for the Goody Room. I'll also have The Writer's Prayer. I pack lightweight baskets in my luggage to hold the various items.

Are you sighing on WED? You can give anything away at that time. I'll have my notebooks and perhaps some other item that helps me reach out to folks who pass my table. I love chatting with the FIRST TIMERS. They often feel a bit overwhelmed. We'll keep running into each other throughout the conference so it's a great way to make a new friend.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi Debby, I am really going to miss seeing you at the conference. Seems like we have met up at quite a few in the past. yay.

Your list is great. Just want to add. Those of you who aren't published YET. Everyone always asks "What do you write?" Followed by, "Are you published." If you aren't published, that is such an uptight question. I learned from one of my Seeker friends to be prepared to say things like, "No, but I'm targeting such and such a line." Or "Not yet, but I have several positive requests." Or "Not yet, but I've won some contests so am getting close." Or just say, "Not yet, but I'm getting close."

If you are prepared for a terrific and positive response, those questions won't bother you so much. We have all been in this boat, so don't be shy or embarrassed.

It is always fun to talk about what you are writing so be prepared for that. Debby mentioned knowing your one line pitch, but also be able to speak about your works in progress with enthusiasm. Editors and Agents notice that positive attitude and remember it. So stay positive and enjoy all those workshops and networking opportunities.

Debby Giusti said...

Lisa, for the past few years, I've used business cards as bookmarks. They're easy for me to reorder--and relatively inexpensive--when I have a new release.

LeAnne Bristow said...

Hi Debby,
Thanks so much for this post. This will be my first conference and I'm so nervous! Unlike a lot of writers, I'm very much an extrovert and love chatting with problem is I chat too much, especially when I'm nervous and will ramble on and on. So if anyone here sees me doing that, please feel free to tell me to be quiet before I make a big fool of myself! I will be non-stalking Seekers and Harlequin editors, meaning I will be stalking but trying to be discreet, and can't wait to soak up all the knowledge floating around....that is, if I survive getting to the hotel from the airport by myself.
Now, I have to go work on that one line pitch!

Sandra Leesmith said...

Great advice GLYNNA about the Fed Ex box. Or a large flat rate priority box. And tape. They usually do have a mail service at the conference, but boxes and tape become a premium. It is so much easier to mail those heavy books home.

If you fly Southwest, you get two free luggage pieces. I often take an extra empty suitcase. That way I can get goodies from the goodie room and all the books I want. Just be sure you put books in each suitcase to keep the weight below 50 pounds.

Debby Giusti said...

DebH, check out my comment to Wilani. I didn't attend national conferences until I was close to making a sale.

I know God is leading you along the right path, Deb. Just trust in Him! Often He doesn't reveal the plans He has for us, but we know, as Philippians tells us, that they're not for our woe, but for our good! Keep holding on to His promises.


Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi DEB H. Are there any local conferences you can attend? Sometimes going to a conference and listening in all those workshops gives you the ideas you are looking for. I'll pray for direction. I so know how elusive that can be. sigh

Debby Giusti said...


So sorry about your dehydration in NYC. Thanks for sharing the tip about drinking lots of water! I believe Marilyn mentioned it as well. Very, very important. Glad Mary Curry was with you. Any tips on what sights to see?

ACFW in Nashville in 2016 is on my calendar too! Love the city. It's only a four-hour drive from me so I can pack everything in my van and won't have to worry about luggage restrictions. My first ACFW Conference was in Nashville. Didn't know many folks. Missy and Margaret Mosley welcomed me as a third person in their room. (I had just sold and decided last minute to attend.) Met so many wonderful folks at that conference who have remained good friends.

We'll have a great time at the WPA in August!!! :)

Debby Giusti said...


FHL is a wonderful way to start the RWA Conference. Love that we pray for the needs of all!

Why don't you share the info for those who are attending the conference.

HQ is having some meetings for authors that afternoon, and I have to meet with my not sure how much of the FHL gathering I'll be able to attend. If I'm not there...I'll be with you in Spirit and in prayer.


Debby Giusti said...

Sue, you're a busy lady with all your new books!!! Congrats. Looking forward to sharing hugs next year!

Debby Giusti said...

Sarah, I'm so proud of you juggling college and work. A heavy load, for sure! You'll have time for writer conferences in the future. Laughing at the POI comment. Not my favorite dish. A bit bland, IMHO, somewhat like hummus but not as good. :)

Hope you enjoy the story.


Debby Giusti said...

Myra, your Montana trip to be with family was far more important than RWA. Loved the pictures you shared yesterday. I've driven through Montana--and remember the fences along the sides of the road to hold back the snow--but have never stopped to smell the roses, or wildflowers, so to speak. Your photos made me long to spend time there. Although maybe not in winter. :)

Sandy Smith said...

Great post, Debby. I love reading about the conferences and seeing all the pictures. I attend vicariously through these posts. Someday I will make it to a big conference, but I feel the same as some of the others in that I need to get closer to publication first, which means I need to finish my Speedbo novel. I figured on doing that this summer, but only a month of my vacation left and I haven't done a thing. On the other hand, I have done a lot of the home projects I wanted to accomplish, but must get back to writing.

Please enter me in the drawing for your book.

Debby Giusti said...

Sandra, thanks for your tips! As I read your comment, I thought about editors and agents who could be sharing the elevator as Villagers talk about their writing with enthusiasm. You never know how God is going to make everything come together for good.

Will miss you this year, Sandra. I know you're caring for a very sick relative. Praying for her and for you!

Debby Giusti said...

LeAnne, be sure to find us. Stop by my table at the signing. Mention Seekerville!!! I'll try to connect you with other Villagers.

Check out the schedule Tina posted on last week's WE to get an idea of what's available and where you might find Seeker friends.

Also we try to congregate in the evenings when we don't have prearranged functions, like publisher events.

Conferences are made for extroverts. Lots of folks to meet and with whom to chat! You won't have any trouble making new friends.

When does your plane arrive? Let us know. Maybe someone else will be arriving at the same time and you can share a cab to the hotel.

Rhonda Starnes said...

The open bus tour at night was nice, except for the low hanging limbs in some spots of the city.

Nashville is a 2 1/2 hours drive for me. That's one reason it will be more affordable. I can use the money saved on airfare to help pay for the hotel.

Debby Giusti said...

Sandra, I'm flying SouthWest and looking forward to taking two suitcases!!! I fear the airline will soon change their policy on luggage, almost too good to be true!

Before my trip to Europe, I purchased a small luggage scale made by Samsonite. Love it! One of the best travel purchases I've made in years. I can weigh my suitcases and be assured I'm under the 50 lb limit.

For those who aren't aware, the penalty for an overweight suitcase (on Delta) is $70!

Debby Giusti said...

Sandy, you're in the drawing. Good luck finishing your Speedbo story. Writing comes first. Ask Ruthy. She foregoes conferences...and gets even more books written each year. Smart on her part...and smart of you!

Kathryn Barker said...

Great tips Debby!! I've never attended an RWA conference or an ACFW but have gone several years to a wonderful conference in Oregon...the Oregon Christian Writers Conference. Met some wonderful authors, agents and editors. A conference is a bit overwhelming the first much to absorb all at once...but by the second or third time it's more relaxing!

No need to enter me in the drawing...Person of Interest is in my stack of TBR!!

Wishing all of you a terrific time at the conference and looking forward to hearing all about it in future posts!!

Finishing my Magnificent Mango cuppa tea and off to write!!

Sherida Stewart said...

Debby, thanks for all the good ideas to keep in mind for conferences. Five new people each day. A one sentence blurb. Comfortable shoes. Yes! Loved the pictures.....and looking forward to photos from RWA15! Wish I could go the the FHL worship service and meet Seekers and Villagers in NYC, but the reports of the activities will be appreciated.....almost like we're there!

My tip for those not attending the big RWA conference would be to try a smaller one. I've enjoyed some regional ones in Seattle and Phoenix. Now I'm excited to be attending a mini-conference (only $40) in August and many of your suggestions will be useful. Though I do hope to go to the national RWA conference someday, practicing my skills at smaller conferences is less intimidating. And less expensive.

Please enter me in the giveaway for Person of Interest. Sounds great! And the Seeker Coffee Shop Romance collection is on my e-reader. Fun reading time ahead!

Debby Giusti said...

Thanks, Rhonda. We took a city tour in 2011 that was lovely and included a ferry ride to the Statue of Liberty. I want to take a tour of the new World Trade Center area. Not sure what else.

Being able to drive to a conference makes everything easier and usually cuts costs, which is always good! :)

Debby Giusti said...

Kathryn, regional conferences are usually smaller and easier to navigate, especially for first timers. Our GA Moonlight and Magnolias is a nice size, yet they attract good speakers and a number of editors and agents. I enjoy attending and always get my money's worth! :)

Debby Giusti said...

Sherida, tell us about the mini-conference you're attending in AUG. Yes, to regional and local workshops. Lots of info, little stress and few travel difficulties!

Hope you enjoy the novella collection. You're in the drawing for PERSON OF INTEREST.

Valri said...

Debby, as a reader, it would be fabulous to attend something like that and meet so many authors! Can readers go to those or is it only for authors? I would love to attend sometime but finances as they are, it would be awhile! Anyway, I loved your post! Interesting as a reader to see what you authors go through! Have fun at the conference! I would love to win your book! You know I've read every one of your military investigative series :)

Meghan Carver said...

Don't be handicapped by shyness. Great tip, Debby! I am painfully shy, but I am so glad I worked up the courage to talk to you and Janet at ACFW last year when we ended up at the same table at breakfast. What a blessing!

Myra Johnson said...

Debby's right about Moonlight & Magnolias. Many excellent workshops and plenty of friendly writers to hang out with, but on a much smaller scale than RWA National. I went last year for the first time and really enjoyed it!

Barbara Scott said...

DEBBIE...yes I was stalked in the bathroom. Also waylaid in the hallways while on my way to appointments and classes. I always tried to be gracious though. Writers are a passionate bunch. ;-)

Debby Giusti said...

I'm so touched that you've read my entire series. Thank you, dear friend!

Anyone can attend the RWA Conference. You don't have to be a writer. If the conference is ever in your area, consider attending the Literacy book signing on WED, at 5:30 pm. It's free. Lots of big name authors are there. The event is open to the public, and folks start lining up at 1:30 pm so they can be at the beginning of the line when the doors open. Folks run to Nora's table. Sherilyn Kenyon draws a big crowd. James Patterson has been there. Harlan Coben. Linda Howard, of course. All the big romance authors as well as others. I find it very exciting...and so fun to meet readers and fellow writers. It runs for two hours and makes lots of money for literacy. Usually close to $60,000.

Debby Giusti said...

You blessed us, Meghan. Always love seeing your pictures and comments on Facebook. Isn't it wonderful to make a friend at a conference and then continue to connect throughout the year via social media, email and/or Seekerville. God brought us together for sure! You were concerned about your writing future at that conference. Now you've SOLD!!! I'm so proud of you!!!


Debby Giusti said...

Myra, come back this year!

Debby Giusti said...

I know you were always most gracious, Barbara! Sorry about the stalkers! YIKES! :)

Janet Dean said...

Hallee, I always enjoy FH&L's worship service and seeing everyone! Not sure I can make it this year with the meetings HQ scheduled.


Janet Dean said...

Debby, no spread sheets for me! I just put events in my Outlook calendar and print.


Janet Dean said...

Myra, you and I both are wearing teal in our Avatars. I look for teal to find the last time I read comments and keep getting it wrong. LOL


Lyndee H said...

Nice post, great tips, Debby.

There are always so many events at conferences. Sometimes I bow out and sit in the lobby to have a minute of peace. That's when I end up making a new friend or two, doing the same thing.

Have a wonderful time everyone.

Lyndee H said...

Oh WOW! Look at that! I've been locked out of commenting on Seekerville for more than two weeks and now, all of a sudden, here I am! YAY! Missed interacting, but did read the posts!

Debby Giusti said...

Lyndee, sorry you've had trouble with blogger. I did as well!!! Thought it was just me. Then I got a reCAPTCHA in picture form. Wondering if I struggled to post when they were working on updating the site? Who knows! Technology can be frustrating!

Love those special meetings when you least expect them. So God! :)

Will miss seeing you at RWA. Always remember that first time we met! Sharing Barbara Vey's reader luncheon was so special too!

LeAnne Bristow said...

Hi again Debby,
I've printed out the WE and got my schedule on my RWA15 app, so I'm ready to roll! My plane lands at Newark around 6 pm Tuesday night. Anyone else coming in at that airport Tuesday evening??

Barbara Scott said...

Debby, do a lot of Christians attend RWA? Can you sell sweet romance in the general market? Just call me clueless.

Myra Johnson said...

We're twinkies, JANET!!!

Hey, LYNDEE!!! Welcome back!!! We've missed you!!!

Myra Johnson said...

Oh, and LYNDEE makes us triplets!!!

Mary Connealy said...

Love these tips, Debby. They are all GREAT advice.

Mary Connealy said...

Barbara there is a nice crowd of Christians there. Faith, Hope and Love, the online chapter of RWA focused on Christian Fiction has a meeting every year and it's usually well attended. Plus it's Wednesday so that's early in the conference and hopefully you can find other Christian authors and make plans if you want to hang around with them.

It will be held Wednesday, July 22, 2015, from 2:00 - 5:00 pm, in the Empire Room of the RWA conference hotel, New York Marriott® Marquis, 1535 Broadway, New York, New York 10036. It is open to members and non-members and you don't have to be at the RWA Conference to attend.

Debby Giusti said...

Newark, 6 pm, Tuesday! Anyone flying in at that time?

LeAnne Bristow wants to share a ride to the airport!!!

Will let you know, LeAnne, if I hear of anyone arriving then.

Valri said...

Thanks for the info, Debby! I just might be able to attend some year, IF it ever comes out west! It always seems to be on the East coast or in Texas! I live in Oregon so it's a little far for me! I would love to attend the Literacy event, do you have a table there? I would rather go to your table than those authors you mentioned!!!! I don't read their books! Can't wait for your next book!!!

Debby Giusti said...

Barbara, YES!

Loads of inspirational authors are also RWA members and attend the conference. Lots of readers are at the signing. RWA has a large chapter, called Faith, Hope & Love, that is totally Christian writers!!! We have a WED afternoon chapter meeting and a worship service following.

I bet you'd enjoy the workshops at the National Conference. So many are top of the line speakers. Lots of the latest industry news. Professionals from the film industry are there as well. There's so much for published authors. It's a gold mine for most of us.

Debby Giusti said...

Janet, Myra and Lyndee,

Love a woman in blue, my favorite color!

Debby Giusti said...

Thanks, Mary, for sharing the FH&L info!

Debby Giusti said...

Valri, I'd love to see you at the signing someday. The conference will be held in San Diego, I believe next year. But that's a far drive from you.

All the authors at the signing have a spot at a table, shared with another author. The room is huge, and the author tables are arranged by last name in long lines. The readers/other folks walk along the aisles to find their favorite authors. Lots of photos are snapped. The TV News is always there. RITA finalists, like our Missy, have flags at their spots to identify them. The big names are set up in the corners usually so their long lines have space to stretch out.

We need to video the event so you can get an idea of its scope. It's truly amazing and lots of fun.

Julie Lessman said...

Oh, Debby, makes me want to go, and I am not a huge fan of conferences, so GREAT JOB!!

You are a pro at conferences, Deb, so your dos and don'ts are outstanding and a must for conference attendees. The next conference I will be attending will be ACFW Nashville next year, so PLEASE do a repeat around that time to refresh all of us, okay?


The Artist Librarian said...

"Ask authors for a quote on literacy or the conference or New York City that you can use later in a blog article." Love this idea. I just attended the American Library Association's annual conference and they had several author signings at the exhibit hall. Of course, some authors had huge lines and could only say "hi" and sign their book, but there were several who didn't have too much of a line and I was able to briefly chat with them (Rachel Hauck)! ^_^

@Glynna - Great idea to bring a flattened box with you! They had a post office at ALA, but by the time I went, there weren't very large boxes left and I thought $20 shipping was overkill for the size of the box. Big mistake --I went a bit overboard with all the ARCs, author signings, etc. so my suitcase was overweight and United charged $100 extra dollars since it weighed in the 50-75 lb. range! Fortunately, my scholarship included a travel allowance, but I definitely learned my lesson. =)

Edward Arrington said...

I never attended a writer's conference but went to a number of banking conferences over the years. My boss told me if I came back with one GOOD idea, it was worth the expense of the trip. I found that often the contacts proved to be more valuable than many of the sessions. Later if I was working on a project, I could call up some of the contacts to find out how they handled various issues.

Sherida Stewart said...

Debby, the mini-conference is the one done by the Colorado Romance Writers RWA chapter. It's just one day and focuses on "Building Your Brand" so that will be interesting to me. Angela James will critique some submitted first pages. It's always fun to chat about writing with others who speak the language. :)

Dana R. Lynn said...

Love the post, Debby! I have to force myself out of my comfort zone at events like these. Believe it or not, I'm shy in person. But all your advice is soooo helpful. I am really looking forward to meeting so many wonderful people, and seeing those I already met again. I'm just too excited for words!

Oh, and I don't need to be included in the drawing as I already have it!

Valri said...

Thanks, again, Debby, for the additional info! San Diego would be great! I grew up in Southern Calif.! My daughter lives in Arizona not too far from San Diego! We'll have to see what's happening next year when Conf. time comes around! Have fun in NYC!

CatMom said...

Wonderful tips, Debby - - and this makes me wish even more that I was attending RWA and ACFW this year (no conferences for me, but Lord willing next year!).
I'm so looking forward to seeing the photos you all will post. :)

Oh my, that photo of some of us in 2013 made me smile. That was my first--and so far, only--RWA conference, and it was AMAZING. Of course, the main reason it was so amazing was because of the SEEKERS and VILLAGERS who were there, and welcomed me with smiles and hugs!!

I hope that all of you attending will have a marvelous, safe time!
Love, Patti Jo :)

Debby Giusti said...

Julie, I'll be at the Nashville ACFW Conference as well...God willing. Looking forward to it. Nashville is a fun city. A print shop city. The downtown area housed lots of print shops in the olden days.

You won't be far from your daughter and sil...a quick visit on the way home would be perfect!

Debby Giusti said...

Hi AL...

Where was the conference? So glad you could attend!

Isn't Rachel Hauck wonderful. She hails from my alma mater. We're both Buckeyes. No wonder I love her!!! :)

It's so easy to over pack our suitcases, especially if we're taking books home! So sorry about the huge added expense you had to pay. I sometimes leave books for the cleaning staff and only take the ones that I know I'll read. Hate to leave books behind, though. Always hard.

Debby Giusti said...

Hi Edward,

You're so right. The networking, the making contacts outside of the workshops is so invaluable. Being able to reconnect later is important, as you mentioned! The writing world is small, and folks are always eager to help others on the journey to publication and beyond. That's a huge plus!

Debby Giusti said...


The conference focus...Building Your Brand...sounds great. Let us know what they suggest.

I finaled in their contest this year. Not sure when they'll announce the winners. Undoubtedly, they're a great group of folks! LOL!

Enjoy the conference. I agree with you. Getting together with writers who love to talk about the craft is always energizing. I could talk about books and writing all day...really, until the cows come home, as the old farm saying goes.


Debby Giusti said...

Thanks, Dana, for getting PERSON OF INTEREST!

Looking forward to seeing you at RWA! I love how the LI authors support one another! Such a great group! See you in NYC!

Debby Giusti said...

Valri, fingers crossed for the San Diego conference.


Debby Giusti said...

Patti Jo, I'm not attending ACFW this year either! Will miss you in NYC!

Enjoy the rest of the summer. School starts too soon in GA. Seems the summer is almost over, and we still have to endure HOT AUGUST!

Stay cool, dear friend!


PS: They're filming a movie in my town. Lots of movie folks hovering around the high school my kids attended. Fun to see. Being in a movie is on my bucket list. LOL!

Tanya Agler said...

Debby, Thanks for the post. I'm attending RWA15 next week. For all of us friends of Seekerville or Villagers, I hope to meet many of you also.

In response to your comment, yes, school starts in 2 1/2 weeks where I am. My youngest are entering kindergarten, but they are so ready so I'm happy for them.

I will have my luggage scale with me. I bought it last year, and it was pretty accurate for my flight back.

Thanks for the heads up about the Harlequin signing, and the hint about the boxes. Last year I stood in the FedEx line, and that tip will come in handy.

Pat W said...

Debby, thanks for the great tips. I've never attended a conference but had planned to attend either RWA or ACFW this year. A new grand baby due in August put a stop to that lol. This is the BEST REASON EVER for ditching the conferences :)) I'm hoping to attend ACFW in Nashvile next year! Hope to meet many of you there.

Debby Giusti said...

Tanya, looking forward to seeing you in NYC! Glad the shipping tips helped.

Debby Giusti said...

Pat, how wonderful about your new grandbaby. Praying for safe delivery and healthy baby. Enjoy your grandma time...which is the best time of all!

Deanna Stevens said...

Conferences are so fun! & work! ! I have been to quilting conferences and know the time is always well spent.. It was fun to see what authors expect of a conference.. Have a wonderful time ;)
toss me in please it sounds like a great book!

Becky Dempsey said...

I am signed up for my very first writer's conference for October. I will be sure to remember these tips. I've been to many teacher's conferences and I always had a lot of fun. I'm sure that I'll have fun in October, too (although I went to the teacher conferences with my co-workers and am going to the writer's conference alone)

I'd love to win the book :D

Leola Ogle said...

One of my favorite lines: "DON’T stalk editors or agents." I just had to laugh. And I needed a chuckle. And the picture of Mary Curry and Tina it just me, or do those two look like they were up to mischief? Looks that way to me. Just sayin'

Anna Weaver Hurtt said...

Great advice, ladies! I can't wait for the day that I can afford to go to the ACFW conference... or any conference that matter. I've only been to one writer's conference and it was very small and held at one of the local colleges here.

Andrew Garth said...

My name is ANDREW STEPHEN GARTH !!! i am very grateful sharing this great testimonies with you, The best thing that has ever happened in my life is how i won a lottery. I am a man who believe that one day i will win a lottery.finally my dreams came through when i contacted Dr Osun. and tell him i needed the lottery numbers. i have come a long way spending money on ticket just to make sure i win. But i never knew that winning was so easy until the day i meant the spell caster online which so many people have talked about that he is very great in casting lottery spell, so i decide to give it a trial .I contacted this man and he did a spell and he gave me the winning lottery numbers. But believe me when the draws came out i was among the lucky winners. i won (1.000.000) ONE MILLION POUND . Dr. Osun truly you are the best, with this man you can will millions of money through lottery. i am so very happy to meet these man, i will forever be grateful to you. Email him for your own winning lottery numbers or call him +2347035519489. website

Andrew Garth said...

My name is ANDREW STEPHEN GARTH !!! i am very grateful sharing this great testimonies with you, The best thing that has ever happened in my life is how i won a lottery. I am a man who believe that one day i will win a lottery.finally my dreams came through when i contacted Dr Osun. and tell him i needed the lottery numbers. i have come a long way spending money on ticket just to make sure i win. But i never knew that winning was so easy until the day i meant the spell caster online which so many people have talked about that he is very great in casting lottery spell, so i decide to give it a trial .I contacted this man and he did a spell and he gave me the winning lottery numbers. But believe me when the draws came out i was among the lucky winners. i won (1.000.000) ONE MILLION POUND . Dr. Osun truly you are the best, with this man you can will millions of money through lottery. i am so very happy to meet these man, i will forever be grateful to you. Email him for your own winning lottery numbers or call him +2347035519489. website