Friday, August 11, 2017

A Conference Worth Your Time by Margo Hoornstra



I know there are pros and cons about the merits of belonging to the writers’ organization, Romance Writers of America. Some feel RWA is a proprietary specialty group of haves and have nots. Whether you’re a member or not, or feel the organization meets your needs as an author, attending the conference they put on each year is something to experience. I just got back from their latest.

In my opinion, RWA2017, the 37th Annual Conference of Romance Writers of America, held July 26-29 in Orlando, Florida was a huge success. I attended as President of my local RWA group, Mid-Michigan Romance Writers of America.

Since its creation in the 1980s, if nothing else, this group does strive to support romance writers in their craft and their career. The Annual Conference is one way of doing that. A definite something for everyone affair, at RWA2017, there were events of interest for those members who are emerging as authors and pre-published to those seasoned, multi-published masters.

The conference included four plus days of networking, agent/editor pitching, spotlights on publishing houses, and workshops—lots and lots of workshops—focused on career, craft, research and wellness. You name it; rather them, in the publishing world and they were represented in some form or other, either through personal, one on one appointments, workshop presentations, or receptions.

Awards and awardees were there in abundance.

The RWA Service Awards honored six members, at both the national and local level, for their volunteer efforts on behalf of RWA. Two Chapters, Central Pennsylvania Romance Writers (with less than 50 members) and San Antonio Romance Authors (with more than 50 members) received Chapter Excellence Awards for exemplary programming, community outreach, membership recruitment and retention, chapter promotion, industry engagement, and professional development.

Awards also recognized the efforts of the authors themselves with their, pre-published manuscripts and current published works, the Golden Heart and RITA respectively.

Although there was no way to attend it all, I did take in a few workshops, and a publishing house spotlight. A real high note for me was when I met, for the first time face to face, a fellow Wild Rose Press author friend I’ve known on-line for close to ten years. It was great to finally connect with her up close and, well, personal. We at The Roses of Prose talk about having a member reunion. Let me tell you, it will be well worth the effort, if we can ever pull it off.

But, back to the Conference. There was so very much to choose from and, as I’ve said, something for everyone. For traditionally published authors, indie authors and everything in between, along a wide, wide, wide spectrum of genres within romance.

I plan to attend RWA2018 in Denver. It’s a great way to connect with authors, editors, agents and publishers. Maybe meet up with an old friend or two. Care to join me?

A side note bonus I just have to share - Yesterday, I got to enjoy another face to face meeting with an on-line friend. Our own Alicia Dean aka my editor extraordinaire Ally Robertson and I had lunch together yesterday. We talked and shared and talked some more. There's nothing better than sharing with a fellow writer.

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9 comments:

Jannine Gallant said...

Sounds like you had a great time! Maybe a future post could be about what you learned in the workshops you attended? I can only imagine meeting up with old online friends would feel like hanging out with someone you've known forever. Maybe one of these days!

Diane Burton said...

I'm so glad you were able to attend the conference. I haven't been since 2004 (I think) but I always enjoyed the networking, workshops, etc. Isn't it great to finally meet someone you've been online friends with in person? I hope all of us Roses of Prose members can have a reunion and meet each other face-to-face. Thanks for representing our chapter at RWA2017.

Margo Hoornstra said...

Good idea, Jannine! Future posts it is. Whether we're friends in line or face to face, the feelings and closeness are the same. Good stuff.

Margo Hoornstra said...

My pleasure, Diane. It was a great conference. As I said, I'll definitely go again!

Rolynn Anderson said...

I think your view that RWA offers something for everyone is right on. If only I could make use of all they offer! Seems to me my biggest skill has to be 'how to choose'...picking the right thing(s) to learn at any given time. I'm with Jannine in asking what you learned that seemed timely for where you (we roses) are as writers. Glad you had a good time!

Margo Hoornstra said...

So true, Rolynn. There is so much out there, almost too much out there, to take advantage of. So many of our colleagues willing to share.

Leah St. James said...

Sounds wonderful, Margo! So glad you had a great experience. Jannine's suggestion to share some of what you learned would be great! I've never been to RWA and it's been a while since I've been to any conference, but I would love to have a Roses get-together sometime. (And how great that you and Ally got to meet!)

Margo Hoornstra said...

I truly enjoyed myself, Leah. A Roses of Prose reunion is definitely something to strive for. And I will share what I learned in future posts. Thanks for the idea, guys.

Alicia Dean said...

Awww, so sorry I'm late to this post. I haven't been to an RWA conference in a while, but I always benefited when I went. I look forward to hearing more about what you learned. And, it was SO wonderful to face to face with you. I felt like I was seeing an old friend. (not old as in age :), but old as in length of acquaintance and comfort and bond) :) I could have talked to you for hours and hours. We definitely MUST figure out a way to have a Roses get-together. Hugs...