This is my absolute favourite part of going to conference, meeting editors and agents and pitching my manuscripts. It is without a doubt the best way to get your work in front of a publisher. I've pitched at the previous two conferences and while none of my work has yet been picked up, I have received actual feedback on my work from the publishers, which you don't get through the slushpile.
This year, I have three pitches with three different publishers...and I'm pitching three different books! Oh, I have a lot of work to do...
Whether it's catching up with old friends, making new ones, or simply meeting your favourite authors, just talking to other people is one of the best things about conference. We're all writers. We all love books. And you never know who you'll meet either! At my first conference, just being in a room with these people made me feel like a real author and then at my second, I felt like part of the tribe.
I cannot wait to get to Melbourne and see all these wonderful people again.
3. RWA Awards Dinner
At my first conference, the awards dinner was fun because everything was all new and I loved watching everyone be presented with their awards. When Marion Lennox was inducted into the RWA Hall of Fame and the whole room stood to applause, it filled my heart - something to aspire to!
At my second conference, dinner was a little more stressful as I sat there all nervous about the announcement of the Emerald Award, which I was in the running for. I attended with my mum, which was fun, and when I won, it was one of the most memorable moments of my life. I treated myself with dessert!
But I love watching the Rubys, cheering on all these amazing writers, and Stand-Ups with Anne Gracie at the end makes you feel like part of the romance writing tribe. I cannot wait to see when I get to stand up this year!
Then there's the after party, which is always fun as we dance until midnight and turn into pumpkins. After all, there is still a whole day of conference in the morning, so we can't be dancing all night.
4. The Freebies
When you arrive at conference, you always get your swag bag with a couple of books in it and who knows what else. If you're lucky, you may even get some freebies at the Friday workshops! I still have both my RWA bags from 2017 and 2018, which are great for grocery shopping. I love taking my RWA bag to Woolies with me and showing off my awesome writing organisation.
5. The Confidence and Motivation You Leave With
Conference makes you feel like a real writer, no matter where you are on your journey. After my first conference, I replotted my manuscript on the plane trip home, rewrote it, and won the Emerald Award the year after. After my second conference, I was feeling a lot more motivated and I just keep going. The thing I look forward to most this year is another dose of confidence, because I sure do need it! We always do as writers, whether we doubt ourselves or not.
But the main thing I have brought away from conference both years? I should write for Mills & Boon. I don't know why, but that's what I keep feeling. And this year? I have a manuscript ready and an appointment scheduled to pitch it to a Mills & Boon editor.
Fingers crossed! I'll blog about the conference when I get home next week!
Rachel is a writer of romance fiction with vast interests in travel, theatre, sport, and everything books. This blog is a fun feed where Rachel lists her Top 5 of whatever inspires her.