RWA Conference – Day 3

Claudia had access to the hotel Concierge Lounge so on Friday morning I was lucky enough to get to eat a really nice breakfast there. We were enjoying
our meal with author Silver James when this adorable woman popped in and sat with us. She dropped her purse on the chair across from me, said hello to Silver and ran off to get herself a coffee. I guess Silver saw the way I looked at the new girl (the I know you from somewhere look) and she helped me out. I was about to have breakfast at the same table as Sarah Wendell from the romance novel review website So fun!

Sarah Wendell

After breakfast there was a “Spotlight on Harlequin”. We wanted to go but chose a workshop instead, figuring that we could get the spotlight a a recording later. I loved every workshop we chose today.

9:45am The Choreography of Action with Cherry Adair. Cherry is an outstanding public speaker. She’s engaging and enthusiastic and so funny. I highly recommend any of her workshop recordings. I have them all!

Harlequin SigningAvon Signing

9:45am-11am Avon and Harlequin Book Signings. We managed to make it right after Cherry’s workshop. This was so great.

I for one had no idea what this really entailed. They were spread out over the course of two days and surprise, surprise, every publishing house attending hosts a book signing where their authors autograph FREE copies of their latest work. Some authors had up to three books with them (a series for example or two representing the different styles they wrote).

I don’t think I need to tell you how incredible this opportunity is. It’s insane, and although I loved meeting every author (some for a second time), the best moment was when Victoria Dahl gave me an autographed copy of the first book in her yet to be released (September 2012) new series, Close Enough to Touch. I might have blacked out a little at the table. Not sure. Plus a lot of them brought along promotional items. At the Avon signing, Tessa Dare had the cutest buttons and at the Harlequin signing, Victoria Dahl had coasters promoting her Donavan family series (the own and run a brewery!)

11-12pm Building Characters Who Breath with Jodi Thomas while Claudia whent to Grab Them! How to Seduce an Agent or Editor to Read Beyond the First Five Pages with Jennifer Miller. She enjoyed her workshop as well.

Lunch Awards12:00pm Awards Luncheon Featuring Guest Speaker “Robyn Carr”. Lunch was great and I enjoyed listening to Robyn Carr’s speech. I have to admit though, I would have enjoyed it a lot more if I weren’t sweating and terrified at the time. All I could think about was my upcoming appointment with Gail Chasan, Editor for Harlequin Special Edition.

Immediately after lunch, I ran back upstairs to my room to shower and change for my Editor appointment at 2:50pm.

I managed to get ready pretty quickly despite my nerves and I decided to swing by the bar (not for the reasons you’re thinking about, I swear!) The Bookends Agency hosted a meet and great at 2:00pm. I figured it would be a good idea since I had an appointment with Jessica Alvarez from Bookends the next day! The place was packed, but I managed to introduce myself and shake Jessica’s hand before I had to make my way to my editor appointment.

2:50PM Gail Chasan Editor Meeting. The most shocking thing about this is how wonderful Gail was during our meeting. She put me at ease immediately. I received a few great tips about the editor/agent meetings from other authors.

  • Smile, be pleasant, ask the agent/editor how they are doing (these items seem obvious, but when you’re nervous it’s easy to forget basic manners, trust me I know!) Also, they’ve been sitting at these tables all day for a few days at this point. They’re most likely exhausted. A little kindness goes a long way to making a good impression.
  • Know your story/character. Try to tell your story from memory instead of using notes. Pretend you’re explaining your novel to a friend. It will help to get your story out in a natural way. Reading from notes usually makes you sound robotic.
  • It helps to compare your story to a movie. It gives the agent/editor an idea of the kind of story they can expect.
  • Time passes quickly. You have ten minutes. Make sure you speak about your hero, your heroine, the setting, their conflicts, black moment, and their happily ever after. Keep it short and sweet. This also gives the editor/agent the opportunity to ask questions.
  • Be prepared. Research the editor/agent you’re sitting down with. Know who and what they represent. What they’re looking for.

The most important thing I learned from this experience is to try and relax. The editors and agents who meet with you are there because they want to find new talent. This is your chance to move past the slush pile! Enjoy it and take advantage of this incredible opportunity for a face to face meeting.

The Samhain and NAL Book Signings were our next stops from 3:00pm to 4:30pm followed by another great workshop from 4:30pm to 5:30pm, Write This! Not That! A 10-Point Guide to Getting Published Faster by Avoiding Common Mistakes with Leanne Banks and Charlene Sands.

This day was just as jam packed as the previous, but I loved every stressful, exciting moment again. I remembered feeling so sad that the week was quickly coming to an end. There was still so much I wanted to experience and learn and I only had one day left to squeeze it all in.