Hi friends! For those of you don’t know, the national RWA conference was in Anaheim last week. (RWA being the Romance Writers of America.) I got to go(ish) last year in NYC, and had wanted to this year, but it didn’t work out. Hopefully next year in Atlanta! Anyway, I’d been emailing back and forth with Valerie Bowman, and here she is sharing a recap of the conference with us! Yay! Hopefully with more recaps to come!
#RWA12 Conference Wrap up
by Valerie Bowman
I’m back from the land of palm trees and Disney. Oh, wait. I live in Florida. Ok, so I flew all the way across the country for essentially the same scenery, but it was fabulous seeing friends, authors, agents, speakers, and various industry muckity mucks at the Romance Writers of America 2012 National Conference in Anaheim, California.
Without further ado, let’s hit the highlights.
I’d say the biggest news of the conference was Carina Press winning its first RITA. As Carina’s blog puts it, “Fiona Lowe and Carina Press became part of publishing history with a win for Boomerang Bride in Single Title Contemporary Romance.” This is BIG news because a strictly e-publisher has not won the prestigious award before. Carina Executive editor, Angela James, gave a terrific acceptance speech saying that two years ago when Carina opened its doors, she was asked where she saw Carina in five years. “Winning a Rita” was her reply. And they did it! In two! Congrats to Fiona, Angela, and the entire Carina staff.
Second biggest pieces o’ news?: The PAN rules have changed ($5000 self-pub earnings will make an author PAN-eligible now). The Golden Heart and Rita categories have been streamlined (goodbye to the Regency category [sob] and the Novel with Strong Romantic Elements category) and the Golden Heart contest will be electronic next year.
Ok, so what else went on? There were tons o’ workshops about social media. We get it, don’t tweet BUY BUY BUY links to our books on Twitter. There was a workshop on the English Country House (which I adored) and one about the History of Contraception (which I missed, dang it!). Workshops on surviving disaster, ER Trauma 101, and how to write emotion and subtext. There were terrific book giveaways and signings. I, myself, got to participate in my very own first signing EVER with St. Martin’s Press where I gave away signed ARCs of my debut Regency romance novel, SECRETS OF A WEDDING NIGHT. And it was every bit as fun as I thought it would be!
Bowker gave a presentation to the Published Authors Network (PAN) and informed us that the average reader thinks $5.31 is a reasonable price for a novel-length ebooks. Food for thought, indeed.
BookEnds Lit Agency had a meet and greet in the conference hotel lobby for anyone interested. You could pitch and meet the agents. I thought it was a great idea. Van Gogh Vodka had an extremely well attended History of the Cocktail session where they were handing out free drinks. Woot!
The Literacy Signing raised $50,963 for ProLiteracy Worldwide . I think about half of that came from me. Avon handed out bags to those who walked in the door. Convenient to store your loot. Uh, it about tripled my purchases!
When the awards came around, Ann Aguirre did a hysterical “interpretive dance” when she won the RITA in Young Adult for her novel, Enclave. In a touching moment, Jo Bourne, Historical RITA Winner, thanked all her teachers.
Stephanie Laurens delivered a keynote speech complete with a slide show about how the big NY publishers need to change with the times, and Robyn Carr’s speech was amazingly sweet and inspirational. “Success is not measured by fame or fortune or power. Success is measured in moments of satisfaction,” Ms. Carr said. The lovely and gracious Barbara Vey was thrilled with her 2012 RWA Vivian Stephens Industry Award for promoting the romance genre. And on Saturday night, Brenda Jackson won the lifetime achievement award to multiple standing ovations.
Also, Leah Nash, a photographer for the NY Times was busily snapping photos of the whole event and I heard an NPR reporter was there too, interviewing authors. She snapped away at the Beau Monde’s Regency soiree where there was dancing, drinking, and whist aplenty.
There was a PubIt Answer bar, which was new this year, where authors could ask their self-publishing questions. A sign o’ the times, no? There were conference CDs being sold, RT magazines subscriptions for sale, and there was even a massage table in the hallway which had a very full sign up roster.
My conference highlight might have been stepping out of my hotel room door and seeing Nora Roberts. I must have looked twice. “Hi Nora Roberts. Good to see you,” I said. Smooth, right? “Hi. How’s it going?” she answered. I think she’s so lovely for attending every year and giving so much back to the industry. She had a party in her room two nights later that I SO wanted to crash but I controlled myself. I could just imagine hotel security being summoned to escort me off the premises.
All in all the conference was fabulous and I can’t wait until I hit the road for 2013 in Atlanta!
Bio: Award-winning author Valerie Bowman writes Regency-set historical romance novels with a focus on sharp dialogue, engaging storylines, and heroines who take matters into their own hands! Valerie’s debut novel, Secrets of a Wedding Night, will be published by St. Martin’s Press on September 25, 2012.
“Secrets of A Wedding Night is the most charming and clever debut I’ve read in years! ” –Lisa Kleypas
Guest what else? Ms. Bowman has very generously offered up her conference tote bag as well as a few books to a lucky commenter! So, what’d you think of the post? I especially love the anachronistic one where Valerie is drinking her beer in costume. Have you ever been to a conference? Would you go to the RWA signing? Which author(s) would you most like to see?