Author Toolbox, Inspiration, Journey, Networking, Writing

Gearing up for the #RWA Conference!

Holy Cow! June is over already! This year has been flying by and while I am excited for my upcoming trip to NY, I am also nervous that there is just too much to do before I go! RWA is the fourth week in July, so I need to get organized!

2018 I attended my first RWA Conference and I dipped my toes into the experience but didn’t participate in a lot of the things that were offered. I have to admit the event was a tad overwhelming for a newbie and it was slightly inconvenient in that I wasn’t in the hotel where it was being held. I have definitely corrected that situation this time, I am staying where the action is and committed to being there the entire time! What that means is I have some work to do!

Here are some things that I am participating with this time around, and a few ideas I have for how to get the most out of your conference experience!

Volunteerism: The best way to meet people is to volunteer, and this conference has plenty of opportunity to do that! They have so much going on with check-in, goodie room (so much swag!), banquets, awards and book signings. Since I wasn’t there the entire time last year, I took advantage of volunteering the first day I arrive this time. Not only will it give me a chance to acclimate, but you never know who you might meet! Hopefully I will save my fan-girling for a little later in the week, but more than likely I will have my phone handy for selfies!

Indie Author Book Signing: This event will be a couple days into the conference, and I really enjoyed it last year! I met some Twitter friends IRL and had an author I admire take a copy of Playing With Fire! I missed a selfie opportunity with her, so I won’t be letting that happen again this year! What is different this year from last is that I am not going in a car. Hard copies of my books aren’t super light, so I will need to arrange to ship them, since carry-on will be too hard to deal with. That will be one of the things I will need to coordinate relatively soon.

Author Pitch: This was the part of the conference that booked up super fast, and I was too late to get in. But no worries, I plan on attempting stand-by and will have my pitch ready to go since you never know who you might run into! For this I plan on having my elevator pitch (a couple of lines) as well as my longer pitch (about a minute). I believe in practicing, so will be drafting what I want to say and repeating it until it is automatic. I plan on having my “something else” ready as well, since the last time I wasn’t prepared for that question. I highly recommend having another idea in your back pocket, even if it is only an outline! If the stars don’t align and I don’t get my chance with an agent, there will be more opportunities to come! If nothing else, I will be ready to query after I get back.

Literacy Autographing Event: This was not an event I attended last year, and this year I will be participating so have lots to do to get ready! The event will be held on Saturday, July 27, 2019 from 3:00 – 5:00 p.m. and will be open to the public. For this, I will need to ship copies of my books, and bring a small amount of table display stuff (which I can also use for the Indie signing). Because we will be placed at a table with another author, space is at a premium, so I plan on having a small table runner made and will give away swag. My graphic designer is in the process of helping me rebrand, and our plan is to launch my new look at this event! I have so much to line up! Pens, Bookmarks, and tarot cards! It was awesome just how many folks picked the exact right card for them last time!

Schedule Social Media Posts: While I do get on my social media accounts and interact in person, I could not possibly keep up with all my posts unless I used a scheduling software. I personally use Buffer, and it is well worth the monthly fee I pay for the service! Part of being gone will mean that I will need to have posts lined up ahead, and so I will line up all of my July posts, and possibly the first few weeks of August. Having set “themes” on each day of the week helps me stay on track and getting a whole month done at once, frees up time in the month to write new words. With so much inspiration at the event, I will definitely want to be caught up on my posts!

Have fun: Yes, I am planning on doing a bit of that as well! Plus, I am sure I will want to hide away and work on my book as well, which always seems to ground me. With over 2,000 people staying in the same place and attending the same conference, you can imagine how overwhelming it can be, especially for an introvert! But, what an amazing experience! For anyone who hasn’t attended a genre specific conference, I highly recommend it. You won’t regret the investment in yourself!

Sorry, but I really must go. All this chatting about what I need to do is stressing me out a bit. Time to start packing and getting my books on order and shipped! If you are a Romance writer and want to check out what RWA has to offer, you can link to their site here. If you are in Michigan and want to see what the Greater Detroit Chapter has to offer, check us out here! We are a super fun group and we would love to meet you!

Happy Writing! XO