Conferences are supposed to get you all motivated and excited to work on a new project. While I enjoyed some of the workshops I attended (Sex Scene Viagra and Sex Throughout History especially), had a blast at the Passionate Ink party, and loved the city of Washington, D.C., I just didn't come back motivated to write which really disappointed me.
Two years ago when I attended the RWA National conference, I went to every workshop I could find. I pitched to Raelene Gorlinsky of Ellora's Cave and basically came home with a fire in my belly for writing and for the organization. Maybe it's me but I felt apart from it all this year. Like I was watching things from the outside. And unfortunately, being on the outside isn't really a fun place to be.
It wasn't all bad. I was pleased at some changes the RWA BOD made with regard to the RITA award, but I was still frustrated at the fact that e-pubbed authors who are RWA members are expected to wait three weeks before entering the contest. Authors who are NOT members, but are published with "RWA eligible publishers" (aka large print publishers) can enter the RITA before I can, should I choose to enter. And if those non-members fill up the slots - well sorry Francesca. Better luck next year.
How about members enter first - THEN non-members - IF we must have a tiered system, which I would dispute. The explanation for this delay seems valid. The BOD wishes to make sure that there are enough PAN and PAN-eligible judges to cover the number of entrants. However, if they allow NON-members to enter the RITA, we can pretty well assume those individuals won't be judging the contest because they aren't in PAN. An individual has to be a member of RWA to be in PAN. So I was left scratching my head over this rule. Scratching my head and swearing under my breath, actually.
Ultimately, it was an overall negative attitude toward electronic publishing I found disheartening. Having my book accepted by Ellora's Cave was NOT an easy in to publishing nor was it a "stepping stone." Even though I'm pubbed with EC I'm still a "career focused" author. I actively promote my books and look for readers. The last argument I heard from some individuals was that if you make a $500 or $1000 advance at least you're guaranteed something for your trouble. First off, there are no guarantees in life - you just have to get out there and start pitching if you want to make it. Second, I did quite well with EC, thanks. But you know what - if I didn't - that's MY business.
Anyway, in spite of the conference I found my inspiration. I found it in individuals I met while there. I had a first sale ribbon on and many people asked me what I'd sold and were genuinely happy for me. I was excited to tell them I'd sold to EC and had in fact sold a second book to EC too. It was exciting to attend the lit signing and be all gushy with Angela Knight, Sylvia Day and Shelley Bradley who were some of the founding members of the Passionate Ink Chapter. It was fun to attend our chapter party even though I had to speak in public (and made an ass out of myself because I hadn't printed out bios of our speakers). But I survived and I met friends and handed out copies of the Pocket Kama Sutra as party favors (hey, it's a research book...really).
It was super to meet Monica Burns. She was so easy to talk to, supportive, and introduced me to Lebanese cuisine. Thanks girlfriend! I had fun doing the road trip thing with Robin Rotham, too. She rocks by the way. Not only does she write stellar books, but she is a true Road Warrior. Go Robin!
So am I writing? Yup. No shapeshifters in this one, but it's a new story and it's smokin' hot!