It’s Conference Time! Um…Okay.

Every year around this time, someone will bring up the illusion that you’re not serious about writing unless you go to RWA Nationals.  That jug head usually gets a slew of responses from writers who are happy to e-roast the moron to ashes. 

But this post isn’t about RWA.  It’s about conferences in general.  As Nina Pierce asked in her blog, are they worth it?  Whether it’s RWA, RT, or anyone else for that matter who’s hosting, for me, I can honestly say no. It’s not.

Let’s dig a little deeper, shall we? For the average big conference where there are around 2000 people, you can expect to spend about $2000. Funny how that math works, right?  But think about it.  If you have to fly, pay for hotel costs, food (because they rarely give you anything, assuming you can choke it down), and the registration fees.  For these reason alone, I’ve decided to start investing more in the cons (ConCarolinas and StellarCon for now) that are in my neck of the North Carolina woods.  Not to mention, this is my home.  This is the place where I can make a mark that can stretch elsewhere.  There’s little traveling fees, which leaves me only the hotel and food to worry about.  And if you want to talk registration, paying less than $40 for an entire weekend isn’t bad.  Oh, and did I mention that there are really worthwhile writer’s panels that just get better and better every year?

The main reason why a lot of people go to is to network, meet their favorite authors, and to pitch to an editor or agent.  First, you can network online.  Second, I’d rather spend ~$500 on their books than to spend it shaking their hands.  Third, you can pitch to an editor or agent in a query letter for a lot cheaper…and still get the rejection that’s meant for only you.  A face-to-face meeting isn’t going to change whether they like your book or not.  The story has to stand on its own.  And chances are, most editors and agents have found a huge percentage of their clients via regular, old query anyway.

Now don’t get me wrong.  This isn’t a post to bash anyone in particular.  It’s a post about the honest reality and cost of going to conference.  They’re great!  Seriously.  That’s why I’m getting my one and only “writer” conference on by going to Moonlight & Magnolias in October.  But with the ways things are shaping out, it might be the only “writer” conference I attend annually.  It’s one of the cheaper ones that I can actually drive to in six hours.  RWA Nationals isn’t going to happen for me until possibly–I’m about 50% sure at this point and easily swayed in either direction–is in 2013.  RT might happen for me in 2012, if New Orleans becomes to “official” host city.  As you can see, that’s planned way out.  At the price of these things, it needs to be. 

In the mean time, I’m sticking to my NC conferences.  If anyone knows of any in South Carolina or Virginia, I can be talked into venturing out.  😉

Which conferences do you find worthwhile and why?

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Highlights from RT2010

Thank goodness I took today off to finish recuperating from RT.  Even though I had left on Saturday, I would’ve been a zombie at my desk today.  Plus, I have two manuscripts I want to do a quickie read through to make sure they’re okay before I send them off  their respective agent and editor.  :mrgreen:

So on with my recap…

Most gleeful moment goes to Isabo Kelly and the adorable Jack.  I was so happy to see her there that I could’ve jumped six feet in the air.  Even better, she brought her 21 month ol Jack with her.  Of course, Little Bit, even at 5 months old, seemed to have goo-goo eyes for him.  Given that handsomeness I completely understand why.

Most idiotic moment goes to the weirdo who was using a bible study as a means to pick up women in the hotel.  I kid you not.  A guy comes up to me and my mom and asks us to do a bible study with him.  Now, I’m not the most spiritual person in the world, but I have a Christian background I’m not ashamed to share with people…assuming they ask/care.  But there’s something seriously wrong when you’re trying to hand me your phone number with one hand while you’re holding the bible in the other and outright admitting that you’re trying to pick me up.  That guy got a “You need to move on with that,” from me.

Most fun goes to Dakota Cassidy.  I saw her at a reader’s event with LA Banks and Jackie Kessler where they were doing an American Idol version of dress the hero.  Then, I bumped with her during the fairy ball night (baby got back).  😀  Then, we ran into her again when I had Little Bit and baby girl adored her.  So now I have to ask myself why I’ve never picked up any of her books.  I’ll have to fix that and fast. 

Most jaw-dropping moment goes to too many authors to count.  First, Kelley Armstrong for signing copies of her YA book.  Since it was the first book, which I had already read, I really didn’t want it.  When she found out that some of us were in the same boat, she whipped out copies of the second book (hardcover, baby) and signed those.  I got the last one.  😀  Then, there was Melissa Marr who was also handing out hard copies of the fourth book her YA series–YAYYYYYYYY!  All in all, though I only managed to get half of the books offered at the Avon mixer, I have to give HUGE props to Avon for making that happen.  I got Jocelyn Drake, but missed out on Vicki Pettersen.  I’m not fretting though.  After that event, I would be more than happy to spend the money for a Vicki Pettersen book and more Jocelynn Drake.  Rock on, Avon!

Most drool-worthy moment goes to Barry Eisler.  Okay, so like mom, Little Bit and I were checking out the fitness center.  My mom is a sucker for exercise machines.  LB starting cutting up, so I found a yoga ball to bounce her on at the back of the room.  No mind you, nobody else was in there at the time.  Out of nowhere walks in Barry Eisler.  He started doing push-ups and crunches and all sort of things that would make a girl sweat.  Well, I wasn’t the one leaking fluids.  It was LB.  She stared at him so hard that I thought she’d break her eyes.  Then, the drooling started.  I’d like to think it was because of her teeth coming in, but she like I said, she was staring too hard.  Five months or not, I knew what she was thinking because she was doing enough drooling for the both of us.  Needless to say, I had to leave before he got REALLY hot and sweaty.  😆

Most fun was seeing bunches of urban fantasy authors at the bar or in the lounge areas.  I don’t have it in me approach them, so I left them alone.  I might have lost control of myself and scared them off.  😆  But the League of Reluctant Adults had a fantastic showing as did the Deadline Dames. 

All in all, though I didn’t get to do as much as I had hoped during RT2010, it was still a wildly fun event.  I love meeting aspiring authors, so hats off to Nikki Palun (pal-un), Areana, Roben, Laura (I think it was Laura *sigh*), and anyone else I’m forgetting, including that young lady who pitched to Alicia Condon before me.  🙂  Also, a huge shout out (and you can smack me the next time you see me because I’ve forgotten your name) to the lovely woman with the son who’s half Sicilian and had a fabulous talk with me and my mom.  She runs a modeling agency for some of the models who had attended RT in the past. 

I’ll post pics later.  Right now, I’m just not up to loading them up yet.  Not to mention, they’re really not that interesting because I forgot to whip out the camera on several different occasions.

And before I forget, I hope the unconfirmed 2012 location for RT becomes confirmed.  I’ve always wanted to go to New Orleans.  😀

Knock Knock. Anyone Home?

Tyhitia says that the blogs are pretty much closed down these days because everyone is here at RT.  Yeah, that doesn’t surprise me.  We’re all having a blast here.  😀 

So far, I’ve seen pretty much everyone from the Deadline Dames, League of Reluctant Adults, and a members of Fang, Fur, Fey.  It’s really quite cool.  But needless to say, I haven’t jumped any of them yet.  Yet.  :mrgeen: 

But in all honesty, I probably won’t.  I have a bunch of other stuff going on, like meeting other people and stuff.  So far, I’ve met–damn I can’t recall her name–from Literary Escapism.  She’s helping Jackie out with the book reviews and stuff.  Really nice person.  I’ve also ran into Patricia Sargeant, Isabo Kelly, Liz Kreger, Lydia Dare, Sabrina Jeffries, Colby Hodge, Liz Maverick, Leanna Renee Hieber, wonderful aspiring author Nikki Palun (as in “pal”), my fabulous publisher Christina Brashear, Samhain’s fabu Marketing guru Marty Matthews, Samantha Kane, Mari Freeman, Qwillia Rain, Rosemary Laurey, Jade Lee, Linnea Sinclair, and dozens of other folks I’m forgetting.

Oh, and the biggest excitement for me?  I’ll give you a few words and you put the clues together.  Alicia Condon and YA paranormal.  Okay, you figure out the rest.  A Google search will help.  🙂  And yes, I’m serious.  I sat in on the publisher spotlight and nearly squealed like a baby.  I’m sure Patricia Sargeant and Paige Cuccaro would’ve probably looked at me like I had lost my mind.  😆

On to the Fairy Ball tonight.  Perhaps Baby Girl won’t fall asleep before I can get her there like she did just before for the Elloras Cave party.  *sigh*  And she looked so cute in her red dress.

Wish me luck at my agent and editor pitches tomorrow.  😀