Monday, January 25, 2010

Monday Me: Conference Questions

I’ve never been to a conference before, but am trying to convince my hubby that this is the year for me attend the RWA national conference. I mean, Nora Roberts and Jayne Anne Krentz are guest speakers for crying out loud. How could I miss that?

Unfortunately, I just received notice that flights through Airmiles will go up 20% in February, so I have to book my flight soon. Oh, the pressure.

This is where you come in. For those of you who’ve been to conferences (especially, RWA conferences), what have your experiences been? When do you arrive? When do you leave? What’s a typical day at a conference like? How do you get set up with a room-share (to save on hotel costs)? When do you book agent appointments and sign up for workshops? What are the benefits to attending a conference? Any bad experiences to warn others about?

I really appreciate all the information you can give me. If you feel your comment is too long or private, email me at: lynnette_labelle at hotmail dot com. Thanks again.


  1. Haven't been to RWA conferences, only childrens writers. BUT I did have a travel buddy and shared costs.

  2. Never been to a conference, but I hear ya on the "ouch factor" of airline prices this year. I was looking into heading out to Tennessee this summer, but the prices were up to around $1,000 for a round trip. Ouch!

  3. I've been to several conferences, but they're all for children's writing. Each one is so very different, it's hard to answer your questions in general. I'm sure, though, there are RWA alumni around to help you out.

    My one recommendation is to take lots and lots of notes. Somehow, the words make more sense to me once I'm back home in my writing chair and read them over again.

  4. I can't wait to read your replies!!! I just signed up for my first ever conference, a very small conference in Allentown, PA...The Write Stuff. I printed my form and had to fill it out with who I wanted to meet with for my agent meeting. I could pick up to two of the 5 that will be there, but only one represents what I write. I was so so happy when I got the confirmation email that said I got my 10 minutes with who I wanted!! I'm super nervous already and it's not till the end of March!! Luckily though, the agent I am pitching to is hosting a dos and don't of pitching workshop the day before!!!

    Good luck...hope you find some fab airfare!!! I lucked out and snagged Southwest for my Florida trip in April for $64 one way, $94 coming home. Hoping the return flight goes down so I can get my credit with SW!

  5. Also, I lucked out and one of my writer friends is going too...we are sharing room costs and since it is close enough to drive, we'll split gas.

  6. Oh you HAVE to go! I went to Washington (RWA) last year and it was AMAZING! I'm hoping to go this summer again.

    I got there two days before the actual conference started (only 1 day before some of the evening things began) and stayed a day after it ended. I did that so I was settled in and knew my way around both the hotel and the surrounding area before everything started.

    The room share thing is all on their website-- I didn't do that, so I dont know the process.

    Generally, booking appointments with agents depend on at what level you're at within RWA. However, I believe it begins in March-- It should all be on the website though. If you go to conferences, click on frequently asked questions or something like that and it should all be there.

    I didnt have to sign up for any of the workshops, I just showed up. And a day at the conference is entirely up to you. You can go to a billion workshops, or you could meet a few people and only go to one, LOL! Either way, it is so much fun. My only caution to you is, bring an extra suitcase. Seriously, you get that much stuff.

  7. I signed up for my first conference, a more local one to me...DFW Writers Conference just outside of Dallas. It's six hours away, but drivable, so I thought that would be a good way to break into the conference scene without maximum expense. There will be 8 agents there I think, and many workshops and pitch sessions, so I'll be able to get my feet wet, and maybe graduate to one of the bigger venues next year! Good luck to you and I hope you get to go! I'd love to go to RWA or Book Expo!

  8. Alas, I've never gotten a chance to go to a writer's conference. There never seems to be any near me and I just can justify the costs of flying out to one.
    However, if you do go, I'd love to hear if you think it was worth it. :)

  9. I've never been to a conference but one thing occurred to me while reading your post: apart from cost, why wouldn't you go? You'd find out how conferences work and when you're done, you'll be able to say you've gone to one. And what headliners! I say go! Airfare prices aren't going to be any cheaper a year or two from now either (most likely).

  10. Never been, but I'd considered going this year since I live in the Nashville area and wouldn't have to worry about lodging or travel costs.

    BUT! Baby #4 is due August 1st... Yeah, day after conference ends.

    I entered the Golden Heart contest... if for some reason I actually final, I MIGHT try to go just for the awards ceremony just so I can be there for fun... but I will be VERY VERY large.

    As far as if to go or not... if you can swing the $$, they are a great experience! I've gone to other conferences a few times, and LOVED it. Never been to RWA though, so can't advise a lot on that.

  11. When I went to my first conference I was like a kid let loose in a candy shop! Everywhere were writers, agents, publishers and I didn't know which way to go first! It was exciting. Learned lots. Made bunches of new friends. My feet didn't touch the ground again for days after the conference! Think my husband was going to send me back because that's all I talked about! LOL!

    Been to another conference since and still felt the same! All I can recommend is enjoy, be yourself, share, meet and greet everyone and learn all you can!

    Have a blast!

  12. I've never been. It's just too expensive. But I've always wanted to go.

  13. Thanks for your suggestions and advice. Now, it's just a matter of convincing my husband. ;)

    Lynnette Labelle