Part of my summer break was attending the annual Romance Writers of America conference in New York on June 28-July 1. I always love going to the national conference. There’s just something so inspiring about being surrounded by so many other writers, readers, bloggers, and just folks who love books. Going to nationals always makes me want to go home and immediately start writing something new.
There will be tons of wrap-up posts about the conference in the next week or so, so I thought I would add mine to the mix. I think I’ll also do a post about what I learned. But to start off, here’s a brief day-by-day recap of my conference:
This was mostly a travel day for me and Wheezley, my significant other, although I did meet with Annelise, my agent, that evening. I asked her the question that I always do whenever I see her at a conference: What are editors looking for these days? What seems to be selling right now? She says editors are interested in paranormal, YA, and Amish romances (who knew?). So anyway, there’s a tidbit for all the writers out there.
I had a breakfast meeting with Alicia, my YA editor, and Alex, the digital/social media editor for my YA publisher, Kensington. We had a really nice breakfast getting to know each other and talking about Touch of Frost. I’m looking forward to the YA blog tour that the folks at Kensington have set up for me and just getting the word out about the book. We also talked a lot about social media and how important it’s become to promoting books these days.
After breakfast, Wheezley and I spent most of the day just walking around the Times Square area and hitting some of the touristy shops, like the M&Ms and Hershey stores. And yes, they smell like chocolate inside. LOL.
Then, of course, the annual literacy signing was that night. Oh, boy. If you’ve never been to the signing, you should go if it’s ever in a city close to you. Basically, it’s about 500 authors in a ballroom signing and talking about books for two hours. It’s hot, it’s loud, and it’s crowded, but it’s also a really fun time. Check out this video from Smart Bitches, Trashy Books.
A lot of folks came by my table to chat or just say hi, which was really nice, and I loved putting faces with names of everyone that I’ve chatted with online. One lady also asked me for spoilers about the Elemental Assassin series, which was really flattering. (And no, I can’t give out any spoilers about the series beyond what’s on the back cover copy of the books.)
Someone told me that people started lining up for the literacy signing at 2:30 p.m. that afternoon (the signing didn’t start until 5:30). Someone else told me they started lining up at 11:30 that morning. The RWA volunteers came around about 7 p.m. and asked if we could stay longer since there were still about 400 people waiting in line (the signing was supposed to end at 7:30). That amazed me. I stayed until about 8 p.m., when it seemed like things were winding down. Anyway, it was great to be around so many folks who love books. Here’s a view of the craziness that was the literacy signing:
This was my busiest day with four events. The first thing that I did was walk over to the Simon & Schuster offices (the Pocket imprint publishes my Elemental Assassin series) to do a taping with three other urban fantasy authors: Jenna Black, Seressia Glass, and Allison Pang. Basically, we smiled into the camera and talked about why we like urban fantasy. It was a little nerve-wracking, but it was great getting to meet and chat with the other authors, who were all super cool. I’m not sure when the video will get posted, but I’ll link to it when it goes up. Here’s a photo of the Simon & Schuster building:
After that, I got to meet some of the Pocket publicity folks, all of whom are really nice, and then I went to lunch with Megan, my editor. We talked about the revisions and cover art for By a Thread. I’ve seen the preliminary cover for the book, and it’s just as awesome as the others in the series. I hope to share it soon, but all I can say at this point is that it’s green and Gin is in the swamp. How’s that for a teaser?
Next up, I met with my YA editor again and another Kensington YA author, the very cool Erica O’Rourke, who’s YA book Torn just came out. We went over to the 96th Street branch of the New York Public Library to do a YA event. I had a lot of fun hanging out with my editor, Erica, the folks from her agency, and the other people who were there.
From the library, Erica, my editor, and I went straight to the Kensington cocktail party. It was interesting to see the offices, and there was a really cool ice sculpture shaped like a giant K for the party (I wish I’d thought to take a photo of it). Anyway, the party was fun, and it was great meeting all the folks at Kensington. And here’s a view of the books in my editor Alicia’s office. Notice the copies of Touch of Frost on the middle shelf:
On Thursday morning, I hit some of the YA panels, where someone said that mermaids seem to be the next big trend in YA books and that dystopian books seem to be reaching the saturation point like vampire books. I’ll be interested to see if there are more mermaid books hitting shelves in the next year or so.
I also attended some of the publisher book signings and got tons of great books (for free!). I think I doubled my TBR pile in about an hour’s time. LOL. I’ll try to do a post when I get the books, which I had to get shipped home.
That afternoon, I did a taping for Romantic Times, talking mostly about the Mythos Academy series and a little about the Elemental Assassin series. It was really fun hanging out with the RT gals and Vida, my publicist at Kensington, especially when we started talking about desserts. Yum. Again, I’m not sure when the video will get posted, but I’ll link to it when it goes up.
After that, I went to the S&S cocktail party at a rooftop garden in Rockfeller Center, which was just gorgeous. Below is a photo of the party. Then, it was off to the Pocket authors dinner at a very nice steakhouse. I have never seen steaks that big before in my life. Seriously, they were like four inches tall. A good time was had by all.
On Friday, I hit some more of the publisher book signings in the morning, then I did the Pocket book signing at noon, where I got to meet and sit next to the very cool YA author Jennifer Echols. I signed something like 50 copies of Tangled Threads in the space of about 30 minutes. Here’s a photo of my corner of the world at the Pocket signing:
That afternoon, I went to the PAN (Published Authors Network) panel about digitizing your backlist books and putting them up on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, etc. That was really informative (it could have easily been two hours long), and it’s something I’m in the process of doing with my three Bigtime books. I’ll be doing a post about that as I get farther along in the process.
Also, I did a workshop that afternoon: Writing Outside the Box — How to Create Unique Paranormal Characters. I think (sincerely hope) the workshop went okay, except for the fact that I only had 20 worksheets and more folks than that attended the event. You just never know how many folks will attend a workshop, and there was only so much I could pack in my suitcase. But the worksheet is also available on the RWA flash drive for those of you who went to the conference, and you can also view the worksheet online here. Basically, I went through my worksheet and let folks ask me questions about whatever they wanted to. We covered everything from world building to cover letters.
One lady came up to me after the workshop was over and said that I had given her the encouragement to write the story that she wanted to, so that was really nice. Anyway, I hope folks got some useful tips out of the workshop.
And finally, that night, it was time for the Golden Heart and Rita awards. I sat at a table with authors Michelle Diener and Liz Kreger that I know through author Edie Ramer (who unfortunately wasn’t at the conference) and Magical Musings. Here’s Michelle on the left and Liz on the right:
Another travel day back home for me and Wheezley. It was good to get home and sleep in my own bed.
Overall, I had a great time at the conference. I met a lot of folks, said hello to people I know online, and got to hang out with people who love books. What can be better than that?