Nationals in NYC

photo rwa conf logo

I’ve just returned from my very first writing conference – the RWA Nationals in New York City – what a blast! Over 2000 romance authors and industry professionals get together once a year for a week to network, share their craft and marketing strategies, and most of all – make new friends! I’ve been to quite a few medical conferences in my career and I have to say there are some very subtle but noticeable differences.

First off – the prep. There was a lot of prep for a writing conference. We were given a link to a video showing how and what to pack (colour coordination and rolling all your clothes is key), on how to use the elevator at the hotel (no buttons inside the elevator – you had to punch your floor in the box before you got on AND wait for it – remember which elevator you were assigned – because you know, no buttons in the elevator) and were given advice for socializing for introverts (say hi, ask where they’re from and what they write. Yes, we were given icebreaker question suggestions – these are my people). We were told to set goals and plan – but no worries we were also given an app for that! I think if doctors were told they had to plan this much for a conference, they would give up. Writers are a hardy lot.


photo rwa carsSecond off – the parking. Here in Kingston, at the conference centre, we park outdoors on a paved lot. Occasionally if it’s really busy, there might be overflow onto the adjacent grass. THIS is what the parking looked like in NYC. It’s like a vending machine for cars. I’ll take F5 – a new black Porsche. (And maybe if I bang on the machine, 2 cars might fall out?)


Third – the workshops. No signing up, feel free to change your mind, the presenters don’t mind if you walk out, workshops. Golden. This isn’t very common at medical conferences. We tend to stay put – physically anyway. I’ve plotted some very interesting novels at medical conferences 🙂


Fourth – the pitch sessions. What a great idea! At the Nationals, authors have a chance to pitch their ideas to editors and agents to see if they’re interested in publishing the story or representing the author to the publishing houses. I think this could really catch on in the medical world. One big room filled with scientists and those people who have the grant money. It’d be like speed dating. Before the researcher spends countless hours preparing a cumbersome proposal, they could take 10 minutes to pitch their ideas and see if there is any interest. Wouldn’t that be such a time saver? Writers know what they’re doing.


Despite the differences, I did notice one very striking similarity. The coffee consumption! 🙂 Stay tuned – I met some awesome Soul Mate authors and I’ll share the pics!


The best part of the RWA National Conference this year in NYC was meeting people and making new friends! I have to say – Soul Mate authors are a lot of fun!!

Debby and CherylDebby Gilbert, Founder and Senior Editor of Soul Mate Publishing, graciously hosted a dinner of the Soul Mate authors at Ellen’s Stardust Diner.





ellensat ellensObviously, we were very excited to meet each other (omg you were on my blog!) and the volume of our chatter rivalled the entertaining singing of the waiters.





photo RWA Ride 2ride groupA group of us went on The Ride! This is a must for anyone new to NYC. The seats in a giant bus have been converted into 3 rows of stadium seating facing out the windows on one side of the bus. As you tour the city looking at the famous landmarks, there is a lively commentary with lots of singing and waving to the people out on the sidewalk. And no boring idling at the stop signs – there were rappers, ballet dancers, a UPS street dancer – really there is hidden talent everywhere in NYC!



susan and annetteat dinnerDid you know that our very own SMP author, Susan B. James is also an actor?

And Annette Bower has been mentored by Lawrence Hill – yes THE Lawrence Hill? They are amazing woman and a ton of fun to hang out with!!



photo RWA BReakfast 2annette and MEIt was easy to meet people at the breakfast table or strike up a conversation while waiting for a workshop to start. For me this was the best part of the conference – I learned a lot about the business side of writing by talking to people from all over the world. And lo and behold – you don’t really appreciate their accents in an email!





photo rwa annette and me dinner

photo RWA annette and me pole

me at beautiful





Nora Roberts and MEAnd here is reason alone for attending RWA Nationals: I met Nora Roberts!!! I’m still pinching myself 😀

The conference was a lot of fun. I’ll share some of the stuff I learned in later posts, but if you do have the chance to attend the RWA Nationals in the future, I would highly recommend it – at least once!


  1. Ping from C.D. Hersh:

    Love the parking machine. Had never seen it before. Must be fun to watch it sort. What if you forget the number since you can’t walk the floors?

  2. Ping from Larry Miller and Karla Browwn:

    I think the writer’s conference was a helluva lot more fun. Right? Yeah, sure it was. 🙂

  3. Ping from Joanne Guidoccio:

    Excellent post! I’m looking forward to seeing the pictures.

  4. Ping from Iris Rosenfeld:

    Wow! Didn’t know about all that preparation! My goodness! And no buttons in the elevator—that alone is worrisome!
    Sounds wonderful though. Love to attend one, one day. A hotel though that has buttons in the elevator…

  5. Ping from Beth Carter:

    What a fun post and comparison. I have been to several writers’ conferences but never to the big one–RWA. I really want to go next year. I’ve also been to a few medical conferences (I worked in healthcare for about a decade as a marketer, so slightly different but still…) I enjoyed this and can’t wait to see the photos.