Thursday, July 22, 2010

Conference Extras

So, we've talked about wardrobe, workshops, shoes (yes, that is a choir of angels you hear singing) and conference preparation. What's left to cover? How about the extras?

Book signings - Not only the Literacy Signing on Wed night, although that's a great place to meet all of your favorite authors in one room - not to mention any purchases you make go to support literacy in Nashville and Orlando. But also the many free book signings that the publishers offer throughout the weekend.

What I've discovered over the years is that if you want to attend a specific publisher's signing you better be in line way ahead of time. While most of the signings are scheduled for an hour and a half towards the back end of that time frame you'll find that the most popular authors will be out of books. There are usually at least 2 house signings scheduled for the same time frame so you might have to choose. In most cases you'll find the signings themselves will straddle workshop times and often knock two possible sessions off of your schedule. Sometimes when I need a break from learning lining up for free books is a great opportunity. Although, these things can often turn into chaos in a very short time. The rooms they're held in can be small with lines for individual authors snaking through the room and making movement difficult. I enjoy the book signings but I often find myself forgetting about them since they aren't in the same schedule as the workshops.

The Goody Room - Don't forget to visit! Several times. There are so many opportunities for fun marketing promo and toys. You'll also often find free books - either leftover from the luncheons or an author offering their own copies. My girls usually love the fun and funky things I bring home from the goody room. I will admit though, that I usually pass over the multitude of paper products that are offered unless something really catches my eye.

Books - Books reign down from the sky at RWA. Be prepared and plan ahead for how you're going to get them home. One price priority boxes from the post office are an excellent idea. Pre-paid postage slapped onto a box that lies flat in your luggage can't be beat. In past years there has been a shipping section set up in the lobby/conference area of the hotel on the last day or two in order to facilitate shipping for those that want to take this route. While this is a good idea, I usually go with another. I pack several non-perishable food items in my luggage (peanut butter, crackers, brownie bites, granola bars, etc.). These things will either be consumed or left and their space in my luggage can be filled with freebies and books.

Spotlights - Not quite a workshop, spotlights offer the publishing houses an opportunity to talk to writers about what they're looking for. You'll often learn information about what specific editors are interested in. This is also when a house might announce some change in their cover art, editorial and/or new avenues they plan to peruse. If you're interested in a specific house or editor spotlights can be an excellent source of information and well worth the time they tend to take up.

Conference offers so many options for writers and readers alike. Sometimes all of the choices can be overwhelming and paralyzing. I hope I've given you a little information on the extras that might help you make informed decisions about how to invest your time.

Are there any other parts of the conference that you're not quite sure about? Any other questions you have about what to expect/what will happen?



Maven Linda said...

I'm ready to go (almost). My clothes are laid out, ready for packing. My shoes have been Chosen (yes, the capitalization is deliberate). My teeth have been Crest White Strips whitened. Today is manicure/pedicure today. Yesterday was hair salon day. Tomorrow is massage.

I'm looking forward to this conference so much, to seeing people and talking the way only 2,000 writers and editors and agents can talk. With that much brain power collected in one venue, the air is electric with energy. We probably rival a conference of scientists for smarts, but we're prettier and have better shoes, and I'm pretty sure scientists don't squeee.

What can I add to all the advice y'all have given over the past week? Have fun. Don't be so serious. This isn't brain surgery. This is make friends/laugh/soak in knowledge and energy/laugh/maybe go to Disney world/laugh time. Oh, did I mention laughing?

Playground Monitor said...

Darn. Didn't think about Crest White Strips. Hair was done last week. Mani/Pedi is Saturday. Massage? Oh I wish.

Maven Linda is right -- have fun. I have blank spots in my schedule where I plan to meet friends for brunch, coffee and drinks. I'm even meeting a woman I met just last week online in a support group. She lives near Disney and sounded so desperate (or as desperate as one can "sound" in an online chat) so I arranged to meet with her one morning. I know from experience how meeting someone face to face can help.

I plan to learn, pitch, have fun, see friends I only see once a year and have fun. Oh, I said that already. ::grin:: And then I'll come home and have foot surgery 4 days later.

What I'm doing to send back books is pack a duffel in the front pocket of my suitcase and pay $25 to send it back as a second suitcase. The last time I sent books back by FedEx, it cost me $35 for a fairly small box. I figure the extra bag route is cheaper.

Can't wait to see everyone!

Maven Linda said...

I always take some Crest White Strips with me, because I DO drink coffee, sometimes tea, and if my arm is twisted I can make myself swallow some red wine (not a fan of wine). It's never too late to start. It's 30 minutes a day. Put the strips on before you get in the shower, and by the time you're ready, it's time to take them off. Simple.

The verification word is "dinesin." Yes, I'm looking forward to dining in. I love when people deliver food to the room :-).

Angel said...

I'm finally starting to get excited, now that all my preparation work is done. :)

Yesterday, after getting all my printouts, schedule, etc., into the notebook I'm taking with me, I wrote out my conference goals. One of them is: refresh my writers spirit and enthusiasm. I'm learning to not take everything so seriously and enjoy the journey, so I wanted to incorporate that into my conference goals.

And Disney! I'm very excited about spending a day at Disney. That's going to be fun. :) (ssshhhh! Dont' tell my children.)


Crystal said...

It all sounds so exciting! I love all the advice/tips. I will miss not being there. Perhaps, one day soon... Have fun for me, too!

Lynn Raye Harris said...

Ha, I love that the shoes are Chosen. Mine are too. Such an important part of the packing process! Everything is ready, but I can't pack until Monday - don't want my dresses to be too creased. I've had the hair appointment. Need to get the mani/pedi done, but I may save that until Sat or Monday.

It's funny, but for an introvert, I look forward to the conference so much that I start dreaming about it long before it's time to go. I too love the energy and enthusiasm of all these writers and industry people in one place. It's just so much fun!

Without that first conference (Dallas 2007), I'm not sure I'd have found the mental energy I needed to get me where I am right now. So thanks to everyone who made it happen and to everyone who took my hand and showed me the ropes. You know who you are. :) Much love to you all.

robertsonreads said...

I didn't realize that non writers, ie, me a reader could attend. How about that?

My question is, are there many men who attend? No I am not looking for one, just asking.

Maven Linda said...

Sure. You'd be surprised at the number of men who are there.

Liza said...

I have a friend helping me narrow down my clothing choices on Saturday. Mani/pedi scheduled for Sunday afternoon. This is my first conference, so I'm getting really excited. Thanks for so many great tips!

Instigator said...

Robertson, the book signing is absolutely open to the public and the proceeds always go to support literacy. I believe that you can purchase a spot for the conference even if you aren't an RWA member but the cost is more than if you're a member.


Kathy said...

Great blog, Instigator. These are subjects we rarely hear about before conference. :)

Lynn, I've heard about those dreams. I've been having a few lately. Last night's was a doozie!

Shoes are indeed Chosen. Well, in my case and SP's case, the shoes choose us. You see we are extraordinary in that we have very big feet. Shoes for us, especially ones with bling, are few and far between. When we see one, it calls our name. ;)

Angel said...

There are men who write romance that attend, definitely. There are also husbands of authors that attend. I think this year we will see lots of spouses and children wondering through the hotel, since we'll be near Disney.