Sunday, July 3, 2011

The 10+ Things I Learned at the 2011 RWA Conference

For weeks I looked forward to the RWA National Conference. I was eager to attend the various workshops and my publisher’s events. Most of all, I looked forward to putting names to faces. The run up to the week was busy as I finalized my plans, bought clothes, and planned workshops to attend. I talked and tweeted with friends (some that I only knew online) and got even more excited. I wasn’t disappointed.

Times Square - New York 
The Conference was at the New York Marriott Marquis Hotel at Times Square. The fast pace of Manhattan carried permeated the week. The conference was high energy from the time you stepped into the Opening Session on Wednesday morning until you strutted out of the gala Awards Ceremony Friday night.  

There was a lot to take in and learn. I look forward to applying it all. So, what are the top ten plus things I learned at this year’s RWA Conference?

·         I learned that networking both on-line and in-person is vital to an author’s career and absolutely necessary for one’s personal growth.
·         I learned one could get frustrated waiting for the programmed elevators.
·         I learned Carina Press is an incredibly supportive and caring publishing house.
·         I learned Sharon Sala is as wonderful as I thought and was truly excited for me when I told her I sold my first story.
·         I learned Delilah Marvelle is a dancing queen with whom I could almost keep up (it will take a week for my feet to recuperate).
·         I learned that tweeting and blogging are important but writing trumps them both.
·         I learned Eliza Knight is a great friend and conference companion.
·         I learned the six magic words every author should know to keep the reader in the story.
·         I learned that transmedia is on the horizon.
·         I learned that Kim Killion is dynamite and Brooks’ not bad either.
·         I learned Julie Rowe’s book and mine both release on November 14 (yea!)
·         I learned that wearing the first sale ribbon gets you acknowledged not only by friends, well know authors, agents, and publishers but also by complete strangers in the elevator. It will take me a week to wipe the smile off my face.
·         I learned I could dislike chicken real fast.
·         I learned I felt like a princess at the Harlequin Black and White Ball.
·         I learned I wasn’t rooming with a total stranger, Denise Pattison, but my new best friend.
·         And finally, I learned I have an outstanding support network. Women who care about me and my success. I was reminded that I couldn’t have gotten this far without them.


  1. Ha! Excellent list, Ruth! I don't know about dynamite, but I did feel a little explosive all week. LOL

  2. @Kim Killion

    Kim, you looked terrific and, on Brooks' arm, you were the envy of ever author (and a few hotel guests)!

    I love your website and your spot on information. Besides all that, you're a wonderful advocate for new authors. It was great seeing you.

  3. Thanks Ruth!!! I'm so glad we finally got meet in person! Great list :) Had a blast with you!

  4. @Eliza Knight

    Thanks Eliza! I had a wonderful time, too. It will take me a week to come down from all the excitement.

    I can't wait to see you in October at the NJ conference. I know your workshop, Edit Your Book in a Month, will be filled.

  5. Great list Ruth! It was so much fun hanging with you on Wed. night and getting to taste a little of the conference experience. So...what are the six words? Do tell!

  6. Great post, Ruth. I really enjoyed this since I wasn't able to go.

    And btw, what is the answer to this one? I learned the six magic words every author should know to keep the reader in the story. Are you able to let us in on the secret?

  7. I agree -- great list...and what Rachel said: what are the 6 magic words, c'mon. Please?

  8. Color me green with envy! I wished I'd gone, but alas, I'll relive it vicariously through you. And you met Eliza!! Great post. Grill a steak and put your feet up.

  9. @Marlo Berliner

    I'm so glad you found me on Wednesday. It was great hanging together if only for a few hours.

    It seems several readers would like the six magic words. Look for them in next week's blog.

  10. @Renee Vincent

    It was a wonderful experience, my first in fact. I've attended smaller conferences but never National's. The workshops were wonderful but the networking opportunity was outstanding.

    Next year's conference is in Anaheim, California. I'm already dreaming.

    Check out next week's blog for the six magic words.

  11. @Amy Kennedy

    I'm glad you liked the list. It was fun putting it together to give you a flavor of the week's events.

    Everyone seems to want those six magic words. Come back next week. I'll do a blog on them.

  12. I loved reading your post, Ruth. Unable to go this year, but I remember enjoying putting faces to names, and meeting online friends in person. Chicken I remember, too! So, what is the answer to the 6 magic words?

  13. @J. Coleman

    Joelene - Thanks for stopping by. All the events were wonderful. I reveled in immersing myself with writing surrounded by authors.

    Eliza is as awesome in person as she was teaching our class. We had a blast together.

    Thanks for stopping by.

  14. @Gerri Bowen

    I'm so glad you enjoy my posts. Since you've gone before you know the excitement. I can't wait to go next year.

    Everyone is asking about the six words. I'll blog about them next week.

    Thanks for stopping by.

  15. Thanks Ruth! I will certainly be waiting on pins and needles until next week! You better post that link on the loop so I don't miss it! haha

  16. Wonderful list, Ruth. And, yes, you are amongst the best supportive system I can imagine. Isn't it great to have so many friends around to support your ups and downs, pleasure in your sales and awards and pick you up when you stumble. I met so many new friends last year, one was Eliza and she was so fun to meet and Denise has been a good friend to me for years - how many I cannot remember. Enjoy your memories. Conferences are awesome!!!!

  17. @Paisley Kirkpatrick

    Thank you for your comment. It was a great experience. It really charged my 'writer' batteries. I came home eager to dig right in.

    I still find myself going over things in my head, smiling at some and shaking my head at others. I can't wait for next year.

  18. Well done! You had me at: be back next week!

  19. Ruth that was a wonderful post! I wish I could have been there to meet you and all the wonderful ladies. You sound like you had a blast despite the chicken.

    Next year when I go, I will finish what you don't eat. I love chicken. LOL

  20. @Lizzie Walker

    It would have been great to meet you. Four days of surrounding yourself with writing and authors is definitely empowering.

    I'm already making plans for next year. I will definitely share with you. I had no problem with the tiny lemon tarts at the Awards Ceremony!

  21. Excellent round-up, Ruth. Looking forward to those six magic words and going thru the links in the other nine mentions!

    Thanks for sharing. I really like your blog content so far. Consider me subscribed.

  22. @Joanna Aislinn

    Thanks so much for stopping by and for subscribing. Nationals was wonderful. It was hard to pick just a few high points.

  23. That was a really nice post Ruth, thanks for sharing your conference tips. I loved reading them. And next week, I plan on checking back for those six magic words. I'm sure I'll enjoy reading them, too.

  24. @Debby Lee

    I'm so glad you enjoyed the post. I had a good time putting the list together.

    It seems everyone is interested in those six words. I'll reveal all next Sunday.

    Thanks so much for stopping by.

  25. You met our Queen Eliza! I must look like Joelene's twin by now. :)

    Sharon- I absolutely love her! She's a member of my local rwa and I am excited each time I see her and snag my hug from her! She truly is a sincere lady. And so, so funny!

    Now- about those six words???

  26. Ruth, are the master of suspense! I can't wait to discover the six words:) And your description of conference made me moan...I want to make one of these SO bad!
    Great info, and a great post:)


  27. Ruth, I enjoyed meeting and rooming with you.

    I probably shocked you a few times with my language. LOL

    The night you came in from the Carina party...well, I'll never forgot it. You were so happy, so sparkly, so hyped. And you wished that every writer out there could have the same experience. I feel like I was reunited a friend that I hadn't seen in years.

    You stepped in and helped me with the AGM and Literacy Basket set up, giving me ideas that helped make everything better. Many thanks!


  28. It was a blast meeting you Ruth and believe me, my feet STILL hurt, lol. Whenever I get myself back over to NYC, you're the girl I wanna see :)

  29. Very cool list, Ruth. Sorry I didn't bump into you in NY, but it was a pretty big conference! Maybe next year...

    Wish I'd been in the transmedia workshop. The worldbuilding involved sounds fascinating.

  30. @Calisa Rhose

    Eliza was awesome. She was a great conference buddy.

    Sharon is just one very special person. You're lucky to have her in your chapter.

  31. @Loretta

    It was a wonderful experience being around writers, agents, editors and senior publishing executives. They were approachable, informative, and easy to speak to (once you got over the wow factor)!

  32. @Denise Pattison

    You were great to room with. I was glad to help you where I could.

    I know I gushed when I got back from the party but it was a wonderful experience and do wish every writer could feel that special.

    I know you're on vacation. Thanks for taking the time to stop by and leave a comment.

  33. @Delilah Marvelle

    You, my dear, were one dancing machine. And yes, my feet still hurt although I managed to get into my wedgies and waddle off to the office this morning!

    Be prepared for fan mail!

    Hugs and thanks for dropping in and leaving a comment.

  34. @Mia Marlowe

    I'm sorry we didn't get a chance to met, too. There may be a copy of the transmedia presentation on the RWA flashdrive that was in our tote bag. I haven't had a chance to look myself.

  35. Hey, Ruth! I'm from the NJRW loop and am sorry we didn't get a chance to meet. Did you manage to hook up with any NJ writers there?
    Great list! And I met your roommate, Denise at the Madeline Hunter lunch. She sat at our table. Small world. :-)

  36. @Jennifer Shirk

    There were several NJRW writers at the conference. We really didn't do a meet up as much as just give each other high fives and quick reports and what we heard and did.

    Denise has become a dear friend. I'm glad you were able to share the Madeline Hunter experience with her. It is a small world.

    Please stop and say hello to me at our next NJRW meeting. I'd love to meet you in person.

  37. Sounds like you had a wonderful time. Conferences do recharge your batteries, don't they.

  38. @Sandy

    I had a terrific time. I wish everyone could have been there. It would have been wonderful to put faces to names.

    I definitely came home with my batteries recharged.

    Thank you so much for your comment.