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: https://www.amazon.com/Chevalier-Ch%C3%A2teaux-Shadows-Philippa-Lodge-ebook/dp/B01IU86MF0/#navbar
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 http://www.amazon.com/Indispensable-Wife-Ch%C3%A2teaux-Shadows-ebook/dp/B014T3V7D2/
The Honorable Officer https://www.amazon.com/Honorable-Officer-Philippa-Lodge-ebook/dp/B01CAYGV1U
And coming in 2017 from the Wild Rose Press, Henri et Marcel, a novella to make sure the last sibling gets his HEA.