We authors, for the most part, are introverts. In social media, where we’re protected from actually seeing another person, we discuss this tendency incessantly. But several times a year, we go against type and get together in large groups, make eye contact, smile at another person, and even…gasp!…hug.
Why? Because conferences do three things for us:
1. Conferences recharge our creative batteries with expert workshops, seminars, and speakers. These educational opportunities are the main attraction for many attendees. And any of the speakers might be the muse who sparks a killer idea leading to a bestselling book.
2. Conferences provide professional opportunities. Besides pre-scheduled pitch appointments with agents and editors, casual interactions are fertile ground for getting someone interested in your work — even in a less-than-thirty-second elevator pitch. Where? In elevators, of course, hence the name elevator pitch. Hallways, the bar, even the ladies room. Or men’s room, for you guys out there. All it takes is for some well-meaning stranger to ask, “What do you write?” for you to have the opportunity of your career. That stranger might be an acquisitions editor for a major NY house, or the owner of a small publishing company, or someone who can lead you along the path to self-publishing. Word to the wise: always have your business cards with you!
3. Conferences are the best place to network with the only other people on the planet who really understand you. You’re surrounded by fellow-travelers who also live with the obsessions, the ups and downs, and the crazy hours. Life-long friendships have begun at conferences, but even if you don’t leave with a new BFF, chances are you will make new friends, expand your social media circle, and possibly find writing, critique or even cross-promotion partners. Oh, and you’ll have a great time doing it, whether you go to every workshop you can possibly squeeze into your schedule or spend the entire conference hanging out in the bar. Alchohol not required.
The Romance Writers of America’s national conference starts tomorrow in San Antonio, TX. The four-day event offers lots of opportunities to interact with other authors, other industry professionals (agents, editors, publishers, librarians, etc.), and with readers at the huge Literacy book signing. I hope to see you there. If you’re not going this year, plan ahead for next year, or for one of many smaller regional or chapter conferences and retreats. Consider it an investment in your career — and your sanity. Once in a while, it’s good to get out of the writing cave!
Coira MacDugall paid with her life for her attack on the Highland Healer. But her victim did more than heal Coira’s fatal wound that awful night. Now drowning in the unwelcome emotions of others, Coira wonders if her new empathic ability was meant as a gift or a curse.
Logen MacDugall must discover who killed three previous lairds if he hopes to survive for long in the position. He believes Coira’s new sense can help him root out the conspirators, but after her disastrous time in the Highlands, the last thing she wants is to get involved with another laird. Logen must help Coira gain control of her talent in time to save him and their clan from those intent on destroying MacDugall.
Can Coira believe this laird truly loves her? Or will her memories lead her to madness again?
Willa Blair’s Bio:
Willa Blair is the award-wining author of Amazon and Barnes & Noble bestselling Scottish historical paranormal romance and a contributor to USAToday’s Happy Ever After romance blog.
Her popular Highland Talents series, set in a pivotal point in Scottish history, is filled with men in kilts, psi talents, and plenty of spice. Available in ebook, print, and audiobook formats, the first three titles will soon be joined by more novels of adventure and romance.
Latest Release: The Healer’s Gift (A Highland Talents Novella, Book 1.5)