My first Romance Writers of America conference is behind me. Truth be told, it was okay, just outrageously crowded. I was astounded by how many attendees were there that hadn’t written anything. I’m not saying they didn’t have a right to be there – no way – I’m just amazed that so many in the ‘idea stage’ made the trek.
A few things to note, for all prospective writers or conference attendees:
When you attend an Open House and have the opportunity to ask questions directly to a Major Publishing House Editor – be prepared. For example, know their submission guidelines and, if possible, their category lines. Do not ask something like, “You’re looking for 50,000 word manuscripts? Mine is 60,000 words. So do I need to cut 10,000 words or will you do that?” of the Editor. And, if you do, be prepared for the collective gasp and stares of incredulity that follow. I’m assuming getting published by Harlequin isn’t something this person wants to do.
If you’re trudging along, at the end of your conference stay, don’t be surprised if a Big Name author person gets their four inch stilettos stuck in the slats between the Boardwalk beams (or that someone is wearing stilettos on the Boardwalk at 2pm in the afternoon – they are a Big Name Author – they can do whatever they want!). Just help them extricate their heel and smile as if it’s no big deal, then call your husband to gush and pray that some of their creative writing genius has transferred from their ankle to your hand… That could so happen!
Go listen to Donald Maass – because, quite simply, he rocks. I have to review my manuscript, with his voice echoing in my head, to make sure it’s stellar. Jennifer Jackson wants 50 pages from me, a dream come true. But I cannot submit anything less than the best 50 pages possible… Cause I really liked her and I want her to want to represent me… and since J.Jackson works with Mr. Maass, chances are she’s going to be looking for hooks and transitions he was talking about.
Take a buddy/roommate. It’ll be a lot more fun to have someone in your corner to gab into the wee hours with. There’s so much to take in you really need to have someone to share it with – and it will make it way more affordable. You’ll both remember more and have a different point of view to see things with. And POV is always critical when you’re writing. And, when you’re a writer, everything is potential writing material… See above.