I’m back from attending my first writing conference and what an amazing experience. The Romance Writers of Australia Writing Conference was held in Adelaide this year and the uber talented Silk Chen invited me along and I’m eternally grateful for the invite. I’m not really sure what I was expecting but I have to admit I was dreading it. I thought it would be terribly boring and lots of introverted writers but on the contrary, I found the conference to be incredibly inspiring and motivating. The best thing I found was the sense of community. I LOVE creative people who are passionate about storytelling.
The Highlights from the RWA Conference in Adelaide for me were:
- Seeing all the lovely ladies passionate about Romance and Storytelling.
- Workshops. My favourite was the one on being more assertive and tips from a writer who worked with James Paterson.
- Fiona McIntosh, best selling author with Penguin. Witty, funny, inspiring, motivating and innovative. I just wish her master class wasn’t full until 2018!
- The Slush Pile Session. Where editors and agents read the first two pages of a manuscript submitted anonymously (the writer is in the audience!). This was a real eye opener and I couldn’t believe how many editors would stop reading from the first paragraph! Scary but could definitely see why.
- It was entertaining to see Agents and Editors treated like rock stars. I’m ashamed to admit, I didn’t know most of them but lucky my buddy knew and got some insider info (see below).
- Pitching my novel. It was nerve racking but I’m so glad I did it in the end! I did get a ‘yes’ but I heard through the grapevine they were saying ‘yes’ to most people but it was still nice to see a reaction and receive the golden ticket (a business card from one of the rock stars).
Here are a few my tips for attending a writers conference:
- Go with a friend. You’ll enjoy it more and you can split accommodation costs. I went with the talented Silk Chen who’s on the cusp of a book contract as we speak.
- Don’t get worked up about your pitches, being alone or anything else. Just have fun and take a seat.
- Wear comfortable clothes and shoes. To make the most of your conference, you will be busy so its best to be comfortable. It will be like a workday with lots of walking.
- Practice your Pitch. Don’t wing it. They will ask questions so be prepared and believe in yourself and your story!
- Bring notebooks and Pens. You’ll never know when you will hear a golden nugget and need to write it down and who knows inspiration might strike.
- Connect with your writer Facebook friends. I recognized a few people and didn’t have the guts to go up to them and regretted it.
- Do go and explore the city when you have free time.
- Get business cards printed with your WIP, Book Title and/or synopsis.
- Have a water bottle with you when you’re going in and out of workshops.
- Blog about your experience to encourage other writers to go to writing conferences.
- Go with low expectations. The chances of getting a book contract…..are low. Don’t make it a life or death situation. Its all about having fun and the experience.
- Don’t send your manuscript or first chapter off too soon after the conference. Agents and editors are often very busy straight after a conference. My buddy got this insider information at the airport bumping into one of the publishers (how brave she was to ask questions!).
Know if you go to a writing conference you are miles ahead of other writers so go on, Google ‘Writing Conferences’ now and book yourself in.