Glass Slippers Waiting for RWA Conference

Thousands of writers, editors, agents, wanna be authors, and throngs more are headed to NYC today for the SuperBowl of the romance writing world: RWA Conference. (Romance Writers of America). And I’m turning an unusual shade of green that I don’t see on my own skin very often. When I’d rather be wearing a pair of glass slippers to such an important event in living the dream.

I’m a member of RWA. A newbie. First year. And I desperately wanted to go to this conference. Not just because I had a completed manuscript that I wanted to pitch, but these conferences are crown jewels for insights into the publishing world. Awards for the best published and unpublished works, workshops on improving your craft, Q&A sessions with editors and agents who provide invaluable tidbits into what they’re looking for/things they hate/quirks, and the main chance of the year to pow wow with the industry’s most successful and experienced gurus. Particularly since the publishing industry is changing so much with the increasing popularity of e-books, self-publishing, and all the controversy along with it. And I’d desperately want  a chance to wear my glass slippers (they’re blue, just for me!)

But as a fairly new writer living on one income, the expense was too much for my tightened financial belt. With the registration fees, flight, hotel, food, cabs, and inevitable souvenirs and gifts for my friends and families back home, I knew I couldn’t afford it. Cinderella must wait… again.

So now, as I anxiously twiddle my toes waiting for the 2012 conference in California, I’m watching the Twitter feed of everyone in NYC so I can live vicariously through the little blue bird on Twitter. The conference moves from city to city every year, and I’ll have to wait until 2014 until it comes even remotely close to home (2014 will be in San Antonio, TX). Waiting for the dream is so hard.

All I can do is keep dreaming, writing, researching, learning, hoarding self-help books, and reading other authors I admire. And keep my glass slippers ready.

How about you? Are you going to RWA Conference this year, or are you like me and waiting for the next one? Or are you rolling at your eyes at my envious Cinderella blog post?

Gearing Up for Writer’s Conference

I AM a Writer

Image by hopeleslie via Flickr

I have the exciting and nerve-wracking joy of gearing up for my very first writer’s conference at the end of February.  The DFW Writer’s Conference, hosted by the DFW Writer’s Workshop, has dozens of agents and publishers scheduled to attend, and I have anxiously submitted my request for which agents I would like to spend my 5-minute pitch session with (I get 1 session).  And the keynote speaker is *drumroll* Sandra Brown!  That’s right, people.  THE Sandra Brown!!!

I have a lot of the big stuff already taken care of.  I’ve registered, paid, have a finished manuscript (woohoo!), and perused the list of workshop titles I’d love to sit in on.  But I begin the strenuous task of creating my ‘pitch.’  I have 5 minutes with an agent/editor.  They suggest you make your pitch no more than 1-2 minutes, leaving the rest of the session for questions and/or feedback.  Essentially, I need to create an elevator pitch.  All sales folks know what an elevator pitch is.  But for you non-sales-oriented-folk, an elevator pitch is simply this:  if you’re in an elevator with the 1 decision maker on something you need, you normally only have about 4-5 floors of their undivided attention.  So you have 20 seconds (or however long it takes to go up 4-5 floors) to make your point.  Summarize your story in a gut-capturing way that makes it impossible for them to turn away. (Meaning, you make your pitch irresistible, not physically hold them hostage in the elevator- that just makes you creepy.)

So I need to shove my 71,000 word novel into a 2-minute teaser.  Sound easy?  It’s not.  At least not for me.  One of my biggest attributes is using 40 words to say something that should only take 10.  So that’s what I will work on over the next few weeks- my pitch.  And try to keep my skin from itching all over the place with anticipation for my first conference.

Writers conferences are a priceless wealth of information for all aspiring authors (and current authors).  The advice and real-life stories we get from others who have broken into the cutthroat publishing industry is more valuable than any self-help book sitting on my shelf today (according to those who have been to a conference).  I’d really love to go to the Romance Writers of America conference in New York in late Spring, but there’s no way I can afford that.  But can you imagine all of the visibility available at that conference?  Where most of the publishing industry is headquartered???  Oh that would be so wonderful!

But alas, *sigh* my dreams are big and will take time.  Small steps… and keep writing.