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Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Top 5 Reasons to Attend RWA® Nationals

Registration for the Romance Writers of America’s 2011 National Conference in opens today at 8 AM central time. The conference will be held at the Marriot Marquis in New York City on June 28th- July 1st.

If you’re like my chapter sisters, you’ve been talking about Nationals since the last conference ended. Perhaps you are waiting by the computer to reserve your spot. But if you’re still on the fence, here are five reasons to attend:

To Promote Your Work: More than two thousand writers, editors, agents and other industry professionals are expected to attend this conference. Attendees can schedule a one-on-one pitch session with an editor or agent. It’s not every day a writer gets an opportunity like that.

To See Your Favorite Authors: The “Readers for Life” Literacy Autographing is a rare opportunity to meet and chat with hundreds of published authors. Several publishers also have their own signing events where they give away free books.

In addition to all the fabulous authors giving workshops, the RWA website advertises the following:

Best-Selling Authors Steve Berry, Diana Gabaldon, and Tess Gerritsen to Present at Opening Session”


Madeline Hunter is this year's keynote speaker, and Sherrilyn Kenyon is the Awards Luncheon speaker. Meg Cabot will emcee the 2011 RITA® and Golden Heart® Awards Ceremony, and Julia Quinn will speak at the Librarians Day Luncheon.”

The Rita and GH award ceremony is sure to be full of superstars, both established and upcoming.

To Attend the Workshops: While it’s true you can order the recorded sessions on CD after the conference, nothing beats being in the room, seeing the props and slides, and being able to ask questions.

With 100 workshops offered, you are sure to find something new to perk your interest. Although the list of workshops has not yet been released, it’s sure to include something for writers at every stage of their career as well as various workshops on career, craft, and research tracks.

To Discover the Latest Industry Trends: The Publishers’ Spotlights offer a unique opportunity to hear editors talk about what they looking for in a submission and what they’re buying now. If you’re looking for an agent, you can attend a panel session to get a feeling of which one is right for you.

To Make New Friends and Keep the Old: As I look over the previous reasons, I realize none of them are foolproof. You might not get to pitch to the editor of your dreams. Your favorite author may cancel at the last minute. The workshop you wanted to attend might be filled to overflowing.

But there is one constant you can always count on at RWA Nationals, and that’s the wonderful sense of community. There is nothing quite like meeting online friends for the first time or setting out on this adventure with your chapter sisters. Where else can you find two thousand people who share your passion for writing? The friendships you make at Nationals will last a lifetime. And who knows? That nervous first-timer you befriend may turn out to be the next Nora.

So there you have my top 5 reasons to attend RWA Nationals, in no particular order. Did I leave anything out? What is your main reason for going to Nationals? Or, if you’ve decided NOT to go, why?


  1. Great list, Clarissa! But my #1 reason is to hang out with my fellow Lady Scribers! No price tag is too high for that opportunity :)

  2. I agree with you, Jerrica. That was supposed to be included in the last one. I was saving the best for last:)

  3. I am going to wear my pink first sale ribbon :) And hopefully to cheer friends at the GH and Ritas (good luck, all!). I had almost decided not to go, given the expense and the fact that I don't have a book out until 2012, but the chance to meet my editor, see my agent and my friends I've met along the way, won out.

    But next year? I'm going to sign!!!

  4. I'm planning to go, mainly because I want to see all my online friends and colleagues, to chatter about books and writing. I hope the finances cooperate, because I was so envious last year reading everyone's tweets about the conference. I want to be there this year!

  5. I don't plan to go, the reasons being:
    1) Finances;
    2) Where I am in my career is not a point where I need a particular item you listed above, I am at a different point--in the middle of two books.
    3) I love networking with authors there, get great energy and feedback on good leads, but again, I'm in a quiet, more internal period of my writing where I feel the need for no more suggestions/rules/advice.

  6. Hi Donna and Heather! I hope to see you there. Heather, I loved meeting you at Nationals. I was so thrilled to see your success, and if it's any help, I still owe you cab fare from last year. :)

    Thank you both for commenting.

  7. I am going for all of the above reasons, plus as the dates are earlier this year I won't have to miss my daughter's birthday. And New York? Hel-lo big city!!! I can't wait.

  8. I'm going. I love meeting new people and hanging out with the friends I've made from previous conferences. I like watching people too, so even if I'm not talking to someone, I'm watching their interactions.

    I love the spotlights and getting my RWA bag--which I use. Totally love getting all those totebags as gifts. They generate conversations when I use them to go shopping.

  9. If you can afford to go, do so, because it is a wonderful experience. I have attended many large medical conventions and they don't hold a candle to the RWA in friendliness. I loved the lectures, so different from looking at grafts of side effects of drugs in a dark room right after lunch.zzzzzzzzz. My main reason for not attending is the cost which when all is said and done will be about $3000. That, unfortunately, is two house payments for me. I'll have to settle for the tapes.

  10. Fabulous hotel in the middle of EVERYTHING !
    Just had an 8-day stay there last week.

    I registered this morning and the main reason I'm going is to participate in the Literacy for Life book signing...first time, two books! VERY VERY excited.

    Friends, networking, editors (they'll all be there), who could ask for more?


  11. Congratulations on the 2 books, Angi. I so enjoyed meeting you at Nationals last year and seeing you win the GH too. I'll look for you at the Literacy signing.

    Ruby, I think you're right. RWA is so much more fun than any engineer's convention too.

    Denise--How could I forget the tote bags. They are filled with great stuff and so is the goody room.

    Meredith-- I'm so excited to have so many chapter sisters going this year. I will look for you on the plane!

    Thanks to all of you for commenting:)

  12. Excellent list, Clarissa. This will be my fourth conference and each year I have different reasons for attending. In the beginning it as the craft sessions. That is also the year I met Lydia Dare face-to-face (both of them). My reasons have evolved over the years and now I am more focused on the spotlights, industry and wanting to spend time with the LadyScribes and others I've met over time, such as Heather :).

  13. Thank you for the comment, Amy. One of the highlights of my conference last year was meeting you and all the other Lady Scribes.

  14. All great reasons, Clarissa, but I agree with one of the commenters. I go to have a great time with my friends. And congrats to Heather and her First Sale ribbon. I got to wear mine last year.

    Great job hitting all the points.

  15. Hi Liz, I met you at Nationals last year too. Great fun with the BCBabes. I can't wait to see all of you again this summer.

  16. I've been hearing RWA national stories during the past year and can't wait. It'll be my first RWA conference and I admit terrified. Luckily, I have many friends from the chapter attending so I won't be too much of a wallflower. Worst case . . . I suppose I could find a book to read . . . ;-)

  17. Great list. I love RWA conferences but this one is simply way too expensive. I'll be staying home.

  18. Lynn, I don't know how I missed your post the first time through. Good luck with your writing and thanks for commenting.

    Liz, I know I will see you there:)

    Arwen, I'm hearing that a lot. Maybe next year in L.A.? Thanks for the comment and good luck with your writing.

  19. I am hoping for 2014 and San Antonio which is right down the road from me. Finances would not allow me to even think of NY or LA. I had planned for Nashville and would have loved Orlando but was forced to move and there went those plans. Right now I can't see thinking about Nationals when I am still living with my sister and unemployed and my husband's caretaker/chaufer and everything else. He is seriously ill with kidney dialysis 3 times a week and spent Christmas and New Years both in ICU after a heart attack 2 days before Christmas. SO I will dream for 2014 and San Antonio, Texas about 2.5-3 hours down the road.

  20. Oh my goodness, Kathy. You obviously have more important things to do. I hope your husband is on the mend, and you'll be able to join us in 2014.

  21. I'm attending for all those reasons, but the number one reason is it's being held where I live so I can afford to go. : )

    Anna T.S.

  22. Hi, Clarissa and Lady Scribes!

    I registered yesterday, but a few minutes later I felt buyer's remorse. It is rather expensive, especially if you're travelling from the other side of the world, like me. But your post reminded me of all the good reasons to go - thank you!

    See you in NYC!

  23. I'm hoping to go. :) While it's expensive, yes, my issue is the plane! I am terrified to fly. I just don't know, in the end, if I can get on the stupid plane. :/ Even if I paid for it all.

    But I really want to go.

  24. Hi Ami, I know you will overcome your fear. Just find some good friends to travel with.

    Vanessa--you and our Heather-- have my admiration for the effort you make just to get here. I would probably sleep through the whole thing. LOL.

    Anna, so lucky to live close. I hope I meet you all in NYC.