I had a great time at the RWA conference in Reno. I belong to a cyber chapter so it was an opportunity to see my fellow members face to face for the first time. It’s weird when you meet people you talk to almost everyday-you feel like you already know them really well.
So what did I learn?
First off-that writing is a business. I already know this but usually try and pretend that I don’t as writers tend not to be the most practical of people. Seeing a bunch of editors and agents on the panels continually reinforcing the point made it sink home again. Like most writers I don’t want to know that all my book amounts to is a number in a sales column. I write to inspire and I write because I have to. it’s hard to remember that there is a commercial implication to everything. On the other hand, it was also great to see the enthusiasm editors had for their authors.
I treat my writing like a business in some ways. I have clear goals, I remain focused and I try and act like a professional. But I also struggle with the desire to hand over the manuscript and hide under the bed.
You can’t do that now-you have to promote, have a high concept pitch for your book and sell yourself. As I mentioned before, I’m still working on that!
Other conference highs? Walking around the literacy signing and gawping at all the big name authors like a twelve year old at a rock contest. Getting inspired by some of my favorite authors and the wonderful keynote speakers.
One last thing-don’t gossip or complain about anybody-especially agents, editors and big name authors until you can do it in the privacy of your hotel room. I saw a little gaggle of attendee’s bad mouthing someone in the elevator, not realizing that the author’s editor was in the same elevator. I watched her write down their names. I wonder whether they’ll ever get to pitch to that particular editor again?