This summer I was able to attend my very first Romance Writers of America conference as well as take my first trip to New York City. So many firsts! I’m excited to share all the touristy things I did with you and cover the workshops I benefitted from the most.
I ended up getting into the city pretty late Tuesday night/early Wednesday morning, so Wednesday I spent most of the day sleeping and walking around the city. I had an immersive book launch session scheduled later in the afternoon, but I never actually made it.
Instead, I took myself on a walk through Central Park and to the Metropolitan Museum of Natural History (The Met). I couldn’t believe how big the museum was, and I didn’t expect how long it would take me to walk there from my hotel on Times Square. It felt like the Roman and Greek collections went on forever, but just as I was getting to leave, I found exactly what I’d been looking for: the Ancient Egyptian exhibit.
Day Two and Three
I don’t know about you, but I don’t sleep well in hotels. It’s the pillows. Why do they have those crappy feather pillows? So every picture of me on Thursday was strong with the sleepy eyes, especially at the Harlequin Book meet up with Maisey Yates, Elle James, Cindi Myers, Janie Crouch, Tyler Anne Snell, Julie Anne Lindsey and Jenna Kernan. And! A reader of mine was at the conference and gifted me with a beautiful ornament she’d hand folded during the signing.
Thursday and Friday were all about the workshops. I ran from one conference room to the next to make it in time (elevators were a real bitch), grabbed some food between classes with my author friends, and occasionally hid in my room to watch the Office and get some work done (I had a synopsis to write during my time in NY). Oh, and yoga because sitting all day is hell on my back.
Additional Income Streams with Jayne Rylon – I’ll be honest, I was super intimidated by this class and the author who taught. Not only does Jayne produce a crap ton of books at a truly impressive speed (self-pubbed), she has all of her books recorded in audio, she merchandizes, she has her books translated in other languages, and so much more. Each additional stream she covered seemed more impossible to me than the last, but there were a couple of alternatives I came away with and am going to start incorporating into my business.
The Synopsis in 850 Words or Less with Anna Alexander – So…I took this workshop to keep my agent from dropping me as a client (not really). Recently, I sent in a proposal and we spent the next four weeks revising and rewriting it together. I was frustrated, she was frustrated, everyone was frustrated. Of all the workshops I attended this week, this was the workshop I came away with the most real world application. And my agent thinks so too…
Industry Marketplace – This is an awesome get together between authors and industry professionals. I had the amazing opportunity to meet with the editors who I’ve submitted a brand new single title romantic suspense series to and meet my agent in person for the first time.
Forensics for Fiction and Writing Crime with Geoff Symon – I’m combining these two workshops together because they were taught by the same speaker. If you write romantic suspense, suspense, procedural, or thrillers, check out Geoff Symon’s Forensics for Fiction books. They will save you hours of research and make sure you’re getting the details right. It was such a pleasure to meet him in person. He’s hilarious, and while I was familiar with the topics beforehand, I stayed because he’s just so damn entertaining.
Multiauthor FB Reader Groups with Sonali Dev – You may not know this, but I run the Addicted to Danger FB group for romantic suspense reader with 30 other amazing authors. So this workshop was specifically to help me do that better, and I walked away with so much excitement and inspiration for where to take this group next. Also, if you’re not a member and you read romantic suspense, you’re missing out. Come join us!
Harlequin author party – Ummm, one of the best parties I’ve ever been to. I got to dance with my friends and my editor, meet some Harlequin Intrigue goddesses (Carla Cassidy and BJ Daniels), and rock out all night long. Oh, and there was a ton of dessert to keep me going.
A Year of Marketing with Zoe York – Zoe made coming up with a year-long marketing plan so easy for me to understand. While I’d known that I needed to get more serious about my self-publishing side of my business, she actually convinced me I need to treat it with as much respect and priority as my traditional career. Hence, why you’ll be seeing two or three books in my Search and Rescue series next year, instead of just my normal one.
Villains, Deviants, and Killers with Karen Rose – I had to walk out of this one. I didn’t realize the panelists would be discussing some triggering topics, and I failed to read the trigger warning in the description of the class. So…yeah.
Money Matters with Maisey Yates – I thought this workshop would be discussing more experience concerning being a full-time author, but I was super happy with the takeaways such as learning it’s possible to make a full-time income publishing traditionally with my publisher, and when I need to hire a CPA to handle my finances.
Writing Killer Suspense with Melinda Leigh – So much good information in this workshop. I was a little starstruck seeing Melinda Leigh in person. She’s super funny, inspirational, and gave me a ton of new ideas to consider for the future.
On my last day in the city, I decided to throw in one more workshop into my schedule, but I spent most of the day with the fantastic Patricia Eddy walking around Manhattan and grabbing some amazing pizza.
Hybrid author with Molly O’Keefe – I’ve heard Molly’s name around the romance land inter webs, but I’ve never put a face to the name, and I regret it’s taken me this long to get familiar with her! Molly publishes both traditionally and self-published with immense strategy, intention, and a business-like sense. She walked us through how to have a brutal self-awareness of our goals, what we want out of publishing, and more. Easily one of my favorite workshops from the whole conference.
The New York Public Library – I couldn’t stop looking up at all the beautiful ceilings in this building. Also, I seriously didn’t know the New York Public Library was an active library. As in, there were people there to study, read, and find some quiet in a city that never sleeps. We were allowed to pretty much walk wherever inside, but there were signs posted everywhere, including the magnificent reading room, for tourists to be quiet for the patrons.
M&M store – Okay, so I’ve been to the one in Vegas…several times, but I couldn’t help myself. It was right there by my hotel in Times Square…
The rest of the day included getting some work done and heading to the airport where I immediately got sick coming through my front door and spent the following week hacking up a lung.
All in all, it was a great first RWA and trip to NYC, but if I had to give you some tips, I’ll leave you with these:
- Sanitize your hands. Often.
- Carry snacks and water at all times
- Use the second line on your RWA badge
- Maybe don’t eat pizza for every meal
- Get all your work done before conference, because it ain’t going to happen during
- Hang out in the hotel lobby. You’ll meet so many amazing authors who’s books you’ve read and possibly run into editors you work with on a yearly basis but don’t recognize.
- The elevators are broken, oh, and so are the escalators. Good luck. Also, you’ll run into authors without your make up and make a complete ass of yourself in front of them during this time.
- Have fun!