by Linda O. Johnston
I attended the Romance Writers of America National Conference last week in New York City. Am I glad I did? Yes, mostly because of the wonderful people I saw, meeting up with those I knew professionally and as friends–or both. I’ve been attending RWA conferences for many years and for different reasons, but that’s the most important.
I also attended three other conferences this year, some of which I have mentioned here. One of the others, California Dreamin’, was a local romance writers’ conference. Two of the others were mystery writers’ conferences: Malice Domestic, and the California Crime Writers Conference. Yep, that’s a lot of conferences.
So why do I do it? Yes, to meet up with those kinds of people I mentioned. And that’s the most important reason for me these days. But I also attend workshops and meals and other related events.
Do they help my writing career? I think so, or I wouldn’t go.
But if you’re a writer, should you attend conferences? Why not? At least those for the genres you write in. I always tell other writers, especially those just starting out, to join writers’ organizations in their genres and attend local meeting of their chapters. Conferences help you meet others in different stages of writing and sales, which can also help your career.
Did I enjoy the RWA conference this year? Yes, but I had some issues with it, too–one of which was the hotel we were in and its horrible elevator service. But I did get to visit the AKC Dog Museum.
Plus, this year, I hardly attended any conference workshops. No time, thanks to the various Harlequin meetings and workshops. I also had less interest in most of the topics than in the past, although the ones I did attend were helpful for research purposes. My favorites were, one on creating series, where I got some other people’s takes on how they do it, another workshop on forensics in fiction, and another on twists in stories.
Will I attend RWA next year? Most likely. I’m under contract for four new Harlequin Romantic Suspense books, some of which will be published by then, and it’s always good to make contact with the editors and others at a publishing house in person like that. Plus, it’s in San Francisco, which is a lot closer to LA than New York is.
Maybe I’ll see you there!
Linda O. Johnston, a former lawyer who is now a full-time writer, currently writes two mystery series for Midnight Ink involving dogs: the Barkery and Biscuits Mysteries, and the Superstition Mysteries. She has also written the Pet Rescue Mystery Series, a spinoff from her Kendra Ballantyne, Pet-Sitter mysteries for Berkley Prime Crime and also currently writes for Harlequin Romantic Suspense as well as the Alpha Force paranormal romance miniseries about shapeshifters for Harlequin Nocturne.
This article was posted for Linda O. Johnston by Jackie Houchin.