... the more they stay the same, right? Except sometimes they don't. I went to the RWA conference recently for the first time in about 10 years.
Some things weren't changed: long lines at the bathroom; NOISE when 2000 people are in one space talking; workshops galore.
But a lot has changed. The first thing I noticed was the lack of Big Name Authors. I remember passing Nora Roberts in the hall or spying Jayne Ann Krentz at the drinking fountain. Nope. A couple of the keynote folks were around, but mostly -- nope.
Pitching for agents and editors: I don't know if there even was pitching. If there was, I didn't see the line of nervous hopefuls, practicing their words.
The vibe: it's completely different. I'm not saying better or worse, but different. It used to be that being published was like a Big Club and there were just a few select members. But now there are a bunch of successful authors who are self-published who I've never heard of or seen their books. They were the ones giving the workshops and they were the ones signing books.
I got some interesting ideas for promotion and for self-publishing, which is why I went (heaven knows, I don't need to attend yet another workshop on craft or goal-motivation-conflict!) So it wasn't a wasted effort by any means, especially since I had a chance to hang out with friends, which is always energizing.
I like to attend one Writing Event every year just for that reason: to get re-energized, to meet with my writing peeps, and to connect with other authors. RWA National was my event for this year. Now to look around and decide what's up for next year ....