A once in a lifetime adventure

I’m feeling like a kid at Christmas at the moment. And I’m not the only one – there are people like me all over the country counting down the days in eager anticipation. Why is that, when it’s only 13 August?Unknown

It’s because the RWA Conference is now only EIGHT sleeps away!! I’ve heard great things about the annual conference of the Romance Writers of Australia and I’m so excited to experience it for myself.

This year’s conference is being held in Melbourne, one of my favourite places to visit. I’ll be living the high life in 5 star luxury at the Park Hyatt and mixing and mingling with a bunch of talented, hard-working and fun loving writers, some of whom I’ve met and some I’m looking forward to meeting.

So what do a bunch of romance writers get up to at a conference? Well, for me, being fairly new to the world of writing, I’m signed up for three jam-packed days of workshops focusing on the craft of writing. There are also workshops available for self-publishers and those focused on business management and planning — because, as I’m quickly learning, being an author in today’s world is so much more than putting words down on a page; one needs to be skilled in the art of self-promotion and branding.

As well as that, there are many writers attending, me included, who have appointments with agents or editors from reputable publishing houses. This is a strict five-minute time allotment (so strict, a one-minute warning is sounded!) in which the writer has the opportunity to “pitch” their book to their chosen agent/editor. If they do a good enough job, the agent/editor can request to see the manuscript or a few sample chapters. It’s no guarantee your work will be published, but rather a chance to avoid your manuscript ending up in a “slush pile”, which can happen if you submit via email or snail mail.

But it’s not all so serious — there will be a cocktail party and Gala Awards Dinner thrown in there too for the opportunity for all attendees to dress up, network and have a bit of fun.

For me and many others, this conference will be a once in a lifetime adventure because we’ll never again experience it as wide-eyed newbies. I have to say, that RWA does an amazing job looking after new conference delegates. We are being organised by the amazing Queen of Newbies and her team of Wranglers. Newbies will be easily identified by the colour of their lanyards and I’ve heard seasoned conference goers make a particular effort to make newbies feel welcome. As well as that, newbies are set to be treated like VIPs by being allowed into the cocktail party early for a meet-and-greet and welcome address. But that’s not all, we’ll be given the opportunity for a small, private morning/afternoon tea with a successfully published author who will no doubt be peppered with questions. It’s a good thing romance writers are so good-natured and willing to share their wisdom!

So, spare a thought for me next weekend as I head off on my adventure — and keep your fingers crossed that I don’t completely bomb out in my pitches! Thanks a bunch xx

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