Every year I look forward to the conference put on by the New England Chapter of the Romance Writers of America (NECRWA.) This year, even more, as I’d be doing my first book signing, and one of my best writing friends would be coming north from Pennsylvania to attend. Though I don’t consider myself a romance writer, women’s fiction, which I do write, sort of falls under the romance umbrella.
This was my fifth NECRWA conference, so I’m no longer a “newbie.” However, the importance of attending has increased since I started going, as I’m an author published in book length fiction now. I attended eight workshops which covered everything from search engine optimization to representing overweight characters correctly. Writers take in a lot during these conferences. Most of the seminars I attend have to do with marketing. Afterward, I sift through the information and prioritize what needs to get done, and when. I’m still working on last year’s learning! With a full time job and time-consuming hobbies like hiking, finding time to write is already a struggle. Finding time to market? Even worse!
Speaking of marketing, I had to set up my table for the signing. Adding things from my collection at home, here’s what I came up with:
Be still my heart! Every day I feel like more of a professional writer, and believe me, this was a big boost to that feeling! On display were the first three books from my Girls of Glam Rock Series set in the decadent world of 80s hair metal, as well as the first book of my other women’s fiction series, Women Like Us. Transformations has three short stories in it about real world women with real world problems. All four books can be purchased here:
What made the conference and signing even more incredible was being able to see and share a table with my friend, mentor, and romance writer Judy Kentrus:
Want to read some contemporary romance with compelling characters and lots of cute animals? Click here for Judy’s website:
In addition to networking with other authors, attending a conference is all about rubbing elbows with people that have achieved high levels of success, listening to keynote speakers that an attendee can learn a lot from, and of course, eating and drinking! I supplied the Smirnoff Ice for my posse because I refuse to pay ten bucks for a drink! We had a couple of fun nights of hanging out in someone’s room (one night it was mine) and talking nonstop about writing. Not much sleep to be had, but let’s face it, we’ll have plenty of time to sleep when we’re dead, right?
One of the problems that a lot of writers have is moving enough. Nora Roberts offers famous advice as the first step in being a successful writer: “Ass in chair.” And an author spends a lot of time in a chair. In between workshops and meals I did laps around the hotel parking lot with KJ, another of my great author friends. It was suggested to me that maybe next year I should do a workshop on staying fit. Hmm…going to think about that one!
All in all, a great time. I’m already looking forward to next year!