Introverts and Conferences by Philippa Lodge


Introverts and Conferences by Philippa Lodge

Please welcome author PHILIPPA LODGE in her debut visit to RU. I think her topic will resonate with a lot of people, whether you’ve been to conferences or are still debating whether to attend.

This year, I attended my second RWA national conference—the big one with a couple thousand authors, agents, and editors, in a weekend packed full of classes and activities.

As an introvert with a touch of social anxiety, let me tell you: it was sweet, sweet torture.

I don’t want anyone to think that the big, huge conference is a negative experience, because it isn’t. There are industry professionals, women (and a few men) at every level of their careers, committing not only time and money to coming to this big thing, but many commit to giving presentations on any and every aspect of writing craft, marketing, the industry overall, everything. They’re not only going there to learn and schmooze, they’re giving back. If you had a time turner and infinite energy, you would be able to do everything. Luckily, most sessions are recorded, which can give you that time turner edge.

And people are nice. Sure, maybe some people are buttering others up trying to advance their own career, but really, we’re happy to be there. I’m amazed almost to tears at the incredible people who run this huge sector of the publishing world and how they are there, ready to help others.

And speaking of schmoozing, there are people who practically live in the bar(s), people who seem to have spent more time sight-seeing and dining out than in classes, people who are wearing their best clothes, hair, and makeup.

We look GREAT, we are ON FIRE, we are AMAZING.

It is an amazing, educational, fun-filled event. It is exhausting.

When a local RWA chapter meeting which lasts three hours totally wipes me out, you might think that three days would half kill me. (Spoiler alert: you might be right)

It’s not the best fit for me.

I learned so much and met so many people – and I forgot it all because it takes very little for me to get overwhelmed. I came home and dropped into bed, then dropped into a bit of a depression. Exhausted doesn’t even cover it.


A group of authors has a tendency to include more introverts than extroverts, we all know this, so there are lots of coping mechanisms: a friend of mine set up one-on-one meetings with people she wanted to/had to see and spent a lot of time alone, I scheduled in (and jumped to grab onto) down time, some people don’t stay in the conference hotel, etc. On the other hand, my more social roommate dragged me out of the room a few times and pulled me into groups of people, which was exactly what I needed so I didn’t just sit and feel left out.

I might go again in two years when it’s in Colorado. Maybe I’ll wait for it to be in San Francisco in 2020. Unless I suddenly become a major bestselling author, in which case all bets are off (and I’ll up my coping strategy game).

For the next couple of years, I’m going to prioritize smaller retreats and conferences. I keep meaning to go to the Emerald City RWA conference in Seattle so I have that on my online calendar for next year. I’m on the west coast and I’ll know some people from my local chapter who will be there. It’s still busy and exciting, apparently, but on a smaller scale.

I’m also considering RomCon in Colorado, but don’t know much about it. (Fill me in!)


There was a historical romance reader retreat a few weeks ago with a full slate of authors plus 300 readers, so I’m going to see if they’re doing that again, since my published books are historical. It looks like a lot of Regency authors, some Victorian era, so I’d have to make myself a lovely 17th century gown, wouldn’t I? Versailles, represent!

I thought about the Romantic Times conference, which sounds like a big party, but…well, I prefer small parties. Someday I’ll go because it sounds like a lot of fun, but I’ll schedule my time carefully.

Now my local RWA chapter is planning a writing retreat for 2017, which is sounding more and more like a mini-conference. We’d like to get one big speaker for a session/workshop, but then we’re talking about having chapter members give other sessions. The precise logistics are still being decided and location debated, but we want to do this in a scenic location, someplace with trees or ocean, with time to work together or to stare at nature. One place we’re considering is a place in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada where they have a labyrinth you can walk. Another is on a small lake in the Tahoe basin. Another is close to the Pacific.

To be honest, this is MUCH more my speed: people I know in a quiet space, time to work, time to think, and a whole weekend without other obligations. I’ll probably come home tired, ready for a vacation to recover from my vacation, but with any luck it will also fill the well (as they say) and not drain me dry.

But yes, I will go back to RWA Nationals. Because all the positive stuff I mentioned? It ROCKS.


So what do you think?

As an author, what sort of conferences, meetings, and retreats do you like?

As a reader, do you go to signings and conferences?


How do you like conferences and trade shows, signings and meet-and-greets? How do you cope with them as introvert/extravert/shy/bold/etc.?

BARBARA WALLACE joins us on Monday, November 14.



Philippa Lodge has a hundred stories in her head and a social media addiction.

She writes historical romance set in Louis XIV’s France; New Adult romantic women’s fiction set in small-town, small-college America; and contemporary romance with nerdy beta heroes and cranky heroines whose pasts can be healed with the love of a good man.

She lives with one husband, two cats, and three kids in the inland valley of California.


Facebook: Author Philippa Lodge

Twitter ID: @plaatsch





The Chevalier, Book 3, Châteaux and Shadows

Historical Romance in 17th Century France


Emmanuel, Chevalier de Cantière, youngest son of a baron, is happiest raising horses far from his complicated family. When news comes his mother is deathly ill, he races to her side only to find she has apparently recovered and moved on, leaving behind her companion, Catherine.

Catherine de Fouet blends into the background, saving up so she’ll never have to wait on waspish, scheming old ladies like the baronesse again. She has no interest in a resentful gentleman, estranged from his mother, no matter how broad his shoulders or intriguing the wounded soul behind his handsome face. She just needs someone to escort her back to Versailles.

But Catherine is suspected of poisoning the baronesse. She rebuffs a pushy courtier who tries to use blackmail to make her his mistress, and her reputation hangs by a thread.

The chevalier wants more than anything to protect this woman whose prickly exterior hides sweetness and passion. They need his family to help him through court intrigues—almost as much as they need each other.


Amazon Kindle:

Also available at most other ebook retailers and in paperback from Amazon or Wild Rose Press.


Others in the Châteaux and Shadows series:

The Indispensable Wife

The Honorable Officer


And coming in 2017 from the Wild Rose Press, Henri et Marcel, a novella to make sure the last sibling gets his HEA.

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15 Responses to “Introverts and Conferences by Philippa Lodge”

  1. Thank you for hosting me! It’s easier to meet people through a screen 😉

  2. I’m an extrovert for the most part, but even I am sometimes overwhelmed by conferences. I loved going to RWA National in Washington, DC in 2009, but it was VERY exhausting. If I ever manage to go to National again (it’s beyond my budget right now), I’ll remind myself to get LOTS of sleep before I go.

    I went to Bouchercon, the big mystery conference, only once – when it was in Indianapolis. I knew a lot of the authors featured there, at least I knew them online, but I still found it very daunting. I was tempted to stay in my hotel room the first day, but luckily I’d arranged to meet a couple of author friends for lunch. It was so great to get to know them in person!

    And I also made a new friend – another newbie to the conference. Once we realized we were both new and nervous, we sat together at all the presentations.

    Overall, I’m really glad I attended those conferences. If they come back to the Midwest and if I can squeeze the cost into my budget, I would definitely go again. One more thing – it’s a lot more fun if you have a roommate, someone you can relax with and just be yourself.

    I know some of the friends I met up with at these conferences were uncomfortable with meeting so many new people. I think a lot of writers will relate to this topic!

    • Yes absolutely to all that. Lots of sleep before and after. Sticking together with people you know or other newbies (Like the first week or so of college, when you and your roommate are partners in fear). And yes, a roommate you already know you like. My first conference, I signed up late and didn’t know anyone who was still looking for a roommate, so I got a room alone, which was both fabulous for escape, but also isolating.

  3. I should amend the above suggestion. A friend in my local RWA chapter mentioned a friend of hers was looking for a roommate for one night at RWA National. I had two roommates, but I was arriving a day earlier than they were, so my very first night I had a roommate I’d never met before. I was very nervous about it, but we had a lot of fun and I got to meet a lot of her friends when we hung out that first night. So while it’s more relaxing to share with old friends, it’s also fun (at least for extroverts or semi-extroverts) to try sharing a room with someone you don’t know. Those rooms are expensive, so there are multiple benefits.

  4. Hi Philippa!
    As you know, I’m pretty extraverted, but I still find events like conferences to be overwhelming. I did attend the Emerald City conference this year and it was a bit overwhelming at times (mostly first thing in the morning), but overall it was great fun and very informative. I met a lot of friendly people and came away inspired, so I definitely recommend attending.

  5. I highly recommended Lori Foster’s Reader Author Get Together, which is held in Cincinnati every June. When I lived there, I rarely missed this conference. It’s harder now that I’m living in Chicago. The conference started out very small but the last few years the hotel (Marriott North in Westchester) has been selling out. It’s a great venue for pitching to agents and editors, for meeting all kinds of authors, and for just having fun. Bring money, if at all possible. They have AWESOME raffles and auctions, always benefiting a really good cause. I was able to meet Lori Foster (of course!), Jill Shalvis, Nalini Singh, Lori Wilde, Kate Douglas, Donna MacMeans and a lot of other fabulous authors at this get-together (which also includes workshops). It used to be mostly all romance authors, lately there have been authors of mystery and paranormals, too. Even though it’s not as small as it used to be, it’s still pretty low-key.

  6. I had to miss RAGT before – once when it overlapped with my niece’s wedding, and once when it was the same weekend as my daughter’s graduation. June can be tricky!

  7. To help avoid that post conference fatigue, take lots of notes, and after the conference decide on three things you’ll do to follow up. Only 3, so it’s not overwhelming. When you’ve done those, you can move on to another group of follow-up ideas.

    POSTED BY KRIS BOCK | NOVEMBER 12, 2016, 12:33 AM
  8. Good point, Kris. With RWA National, there is so much going on, it takes a lot of pressure off if you decide ahead of time where you want to put your efforts – into meeting authors and getting autographed books, for example, or going to workshops. If it’s workshops you want, RWA offers tapes, which have the added benefit of being available when you can relax and absorb the information provided.

  9. Any other introverts out there? I won’t “tag” my introvert friends, but I’m curious if any of you have suggestions to add.

    Philippa – Thanks for tackling this subject. I’m sure there are many people who are curious about conferences but don’t want to put themselves in a situation they’re likely to find stressful.



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