#RWA12 Conference Wrap Up

Hi friends! For those of you don’t know, the national RWA conference was in Anaheim last week. (RWA being the Romance Writers of America.) I got to go(ish) last year in NYC, and had wanted to this year, but it didn’t work out. Hopefully next year in Atlanta! Anyway, I’d been emailing back and forth with Valerie Bowman, and here she is sharing a recap of the conference with us! Yay! Hopefully with more recaps to come!

#RWA12 Conference Wrap up
by Valerie Bowman

I’m back from the land of palm trees and Disney. Oh, wait. I live in Florida. Ok, so I flew all the way across the country for essentially the same scenery, but it was fabulous seeing friends, authors, agents, speakers, and various industry muckity mucks at the Romance Writers of America 2012 National Conference in Anaheim, California.

Without further ado, let’s hit the highlights.

I’d say the biggest news of the conference was Carina Press winning its first RITA. As Carina’s blog puts it, “Fiona Lowe and Carina Press became part of publishing history with a win for Boomerang Bride in Single Title Contemporary Romance.” This is BIG news because a strictly e-publisher has not won the prestigious award before. Carina Executive editor, Angela James, gave a terrific acceptance speech saying that two years ago when Carina opened its doors, she was asked where she saw Carina in five years. “Winning a Rita” was her reply. And they did it! In two! Congrats to Fiona, Angela, and the entire Carina staff.

Second biggest pieces o’ news?: The PAN rules have changed ($5000 self-pub earnings will make an author PAN-eligible now). The Golden Heart and Rita categories have been streamlined (goodbye to the Regency category [sob] and the Novel with Strong Romantic Elements category) and the Golden Heart contest will be electronic next year.

Ok, so what else went on? There were tons o’ workshops about social media. We get it, don’t tweet BUY BUY BUY links to our books on Twitter. There was a workshop on the English Country House (which I adored) and one about the History of Contraception (which I missed, dang it!). Workshops on surviving disaster, ER Trauma 101, and how to write emotion and subtext. There were terrific book giveaways and signings. I, myself, got to participate in my very own first signing EVER with St. Martin’s Press where I gave away signed ARCs of my debut Regency romance novel, SECRETS OF A WEDDING NIGHT. And it was every bit as fun as I thought it would be!

Bowker gave a presentation to the Published Authors Network (PAN) and informed us that the average reader thinks $5.31 is a reasonable price for a novel-length ebooks. Food for thought, indeed.

BookEnds Lit Agency had a meet and greet in the conference hotel lobby for anyone interested. You could pitch and meet the agents. I thought it was a great idea. Van Gogh Vodka had an extremely well attended History of the Cocktail session where they were handing out free drinks. Woot!

The Literacy Signing raised $50,963 for ProLiteracy Worldwide . I think about half of that came from me. Avon handed out bags to those who walked in the door. Convenient to store your loot. Uh, it about tripled my purchases!

When the awards came around, Ann Aguirre did a hysterical “interpretive dance” when she won the RITA in Young Adult for her novel, Enclave. In a touching moment, Jo Bourne, Historical RITA Winner, thanked all her teachers.

Stephanie Laurens delivered a keynote speech complete with a slide show about how the big NY publishers need to change with the times, and Robyn Carr’s speech was amazingly sweet and inspirational. “Success is not measured by fame or fortune or power. Success is measured in moments of satisfaction,” Ms. Carr said. The lovely and gracious Barbara Vey was thrilled with her 2012 RWA Vivian Stephens Industry Award for promoting the romance genre. And on Saturday night, Brenda Jackson won the lifetime achievement award to multiple standing ovations.

Also, Leah Nash, a photographer for the NY Times was busily snapping photos of the whole event and I heard an NPR reporter was there too, interviewing authors. She snapped away at the Beau Monde’s Regency soiree where there was dancing, drinking, and whist aplenty.

There was a PubIt Answer bar, which was new this year, where authors could ask their self-publishing questions. A sign o’ the times, no? There were conference CDs being sold, RT magazines subscriptions for sale, and there was even a massage table in the hallway which had a very full sign up roster.

My conference highlight might have been stepping out of my hotel room door and seeing Nora Roberts. I must have looked twice. “Hi Nora Roberts. Good to see you,” I said. Smooth, right? “Hi. How’s it going?” she answered. I think she’s so lovely for attending every year and giving so much back to the industry. She had a party in her room two nights later that I SO wanted to crash but I controlled myself. I could just imagine hotel security being summoned to escort me off the premises.

All in all the conference was fabulous and I can’t wait until I hit the road for 2013 in Atlanta!

Bio: Award-winning author Valerie Bowman writes Regency-set historical romance novels with a focus on sharp dialogue, engaging storylines, and heroines who take matters into their own hands! Valerie’s debut novel, Secrets of a Wedding Night, will be published by St. Martin’s Press on September 25, 2012.
Secrets of A Wedding Night is the most charming and clever debut I’ve read in years! ” –Lisa Kleypas

Guest what else? Ms. Bowman has very generously offered up her conference tote bag as well as a few books to a lucky commenter! So, what’d you think of the post? I especially love the anachronistic one where Valerie is drinking her beer in costume. Have you ever been to a conference? Would you go to the RWA signing? Which author(s) would you most like to see?


0 thoughts on “#RWA12 Conference Wrap Up

  1. Tin

    Great wrap-up! Thank you for sharing this!

    The most interesting bit for me was the reported average price for an e-book $5.31 sounds about right. (I think this is helpful to authors who are trying to decide on the right price point for an e-release. ^_^)

  2. Sheila M

    Yes I also noted the beer bottle and costume- just like they did in Almacks in the old days. ATLANTA next year??!!??!! Yee haw, once I get this condo in Iowa sold I’m on my way back home there, lived there for 30 years and miss it. Can’t wait, How do I get a RWA ticket to meet all of ‘my’ authors????

  3. June M.

    I always enjoy the pictures from these conferences, especially since I have never been to one yet. I would have liked to have attended the History of Contraception workshop too (was Ms. Delilah Marvelle involved in it by any chance?)

    I was interested in the average price that readers think is fair for a full length book. Somewhere about $5 sounds about right to me so $5.31 is ok. I do think that the ones that cost anywhere from $8 and up is crazy. Especially when often you can get the print book for the same or less.

    1. Valerie Bowman

      Book prices are all over the place these days. I continue to watch the marketplace with great interest. I’m not just an author who wants to be paid fairly for my hard work, I’m also a reader who consumes a large quantity of reading material!

  4. Kathryn Jane

    Nice recap! And those of us who couldn’t attend this year REALLY appreciate you sharing… Can’t imagine how you managed to even speak when bumping into the fabulous Nora, chances are I’d have pointed and nodded alot.
    I’m moving heaven and earth to get to Atlanta!

  5. www.ValerieBowmanBooks.com

    The book price thing is interesting, no? And the picture of me and my full-length gloves and beer is one of my all-time favorites. It cracks me up. I even had a very proper member of the Beau Monde inform me that I was NOT being proper. I informed her that I j’adore an anachronism. : )

  6. Jaye Garland

    Nice recap, Valerie! How did I miss the pitch session by Book Ends Lit Agency in the hotel lobby? Darn! Anyway, you looked absolutely adorble in your Regency gown. Lavender is your color…and I so nabbed one of your Racy Regency Romp pens from the Goodie Room and was thrilled to see that it writes in a lovely lavender color. Very nice! I’m planning on going to Atlanta so will see you there. Muah!

  7. Jaye Garland

    Nice recap, Valerie! How did I miss the pitch session by Book Ends Lit Agency in the hotel lobby? Darn! Anyway, you looked absolutely adorable in your Regency gown. Lavender is your color…and I so nabbed one of your Racy Regency Romp pens from the Goodie Room and was thrilled to see that it writes in a lovely lavender color. Very nice! I’m planning on going to Atlanta so will see you there. Muah!

  8. Abigail Sharpe

    I was there and I still loved reading the wrap up. Nicely done, Valerie! Love the pic of you in your dress and beer.

    I have a conference bag and too many books to think of winning more, so please don’t put me in the drawing.

  9. Diane Sallans

    Wow – that’s a lot of info – I read it twice & still haven’t absorbed all the detail. But I’m a reader, not a writer nor in publishing so I’m not familiar with all that was presented.
    I’d love to be able to attend any reader events (& any other events I would be allowed into) at one of these conferences someday – must be a lot of fun for the authors to meet up every year.

  10. Lena Diaz

    Valerie, what a nice post about the conference. I wish I’d seen more of you there but we were both so busy our paths didn’t cross nearly enough. As for that NPR reporter, she snagged an interview with me, which would have been cool except that I was a total goof. She asked me who my protagonist was and, seriously, my mind went blank. I’ve written three more books since that book and couldn’t even remember who the heroine was! Had to grab a copy and look at the back cover to answer her question. Lesson learned. Next time I’ll brush up on the book I’m signing in case someone asks me some questions! Again, thanks for sharing your experiences. Looking forward to seeing you in Atlanta at the next national conference so I can buy your next book in the Brides Trilogy!

  11. Linda Thum

    What fun to be able to attend! I’m intrigued by what is discussed in the social media w/shop; guess with social networking being what it is now this would have been interesting. Being an international reader; it would be most unlikely for me to ever attend one. There are so many authors I’d love to meet! Katharine Ashe, Shana Galen, Tessa Dare; I could go on n on.

  12. Barbara E.

    I live in Florida too, but I timed my vacation to go to California to visit my sister for last week so my sister and I could attend the RWA Literacy signing. We had a blast and one of the highlights was meeting Nora Roberts and getting a picture with her. My favorite moment was meeting Jennifer Estep and getting a pic with her. 😀 I’ve been to the RT author signing and RWA Literacy signing when they were in Orlando, so this was my third time, but I really wanted my sister to experience it. We also attended Sabrina Jeffries Christmas in July party prior to the signing, that was fantastic as well. We met Sabrina, got a signed book and a picture with her and talked to other lovely readers who were as excited as we were. :o)

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  14. countessofmar

    I love the post. I would have gone to the book signing if we were in California still. My goal is to make it to a conference one day. I would see Samantha Grace, Sabrina Jeffries, Heather Snow, and whoever I can see. There would be so many.

    1. Valerie Bowman

      @Countess, if you contact me via my website, I’d be happy to send you an excerpt book that includes my first chapter as well as a sneak peek into Heather Snow’s and Sabrina Jeffries’ new books!

  15. Jane

    Love the pic with Suzanne Enoch. She’s one of my favorite historical romance authors. I have never been to a conference or get together, but would love to someday. I would love to meet Lisa Marie Rice and Shannon McKenna.

  16. Valerie Bowman

    Thanks for the comments, everyone! It was a blast!

    @Sarah It was lovely to meet you, too! Everyone, Sarah took the picture of me and my beer! Ha.

    @bn100 Lisa Kleypas is my idol. She was lovely enough to read SECRETS OF A WEDDING NIGHT and gave me a quote for my cover. I *adore* her. Though I didn’t see her at the conference this year. I have a picture of us together at the 2010 conference in Orlando. I treasure it.

  17. Dawn Hand

    Love the dress, love the look and love that you gave such a wonderful recap. I almost felt as if I was there and wanted to be in costume myself. Lucky girl! Guess we will be seeing you this time next year? 😉

  18. Amanda

    Thanks for the wrap-up! Congrats on saying anything at all to Nora Roberts–I never have the courage to speak when I see the big names!

  19. margaret whelehan

    I went to RWA when it was in NY. I loved meeting a lot of authors. I would love the chance to see the authors i didnt get a chance to meet the first time.

  20. Kim

    Thanks for the wrap-up on RWA12. Was any reason given for eliminating Romantic Suspense with Romance Elements? Won’t this eliminate Linda Howard, Andrea Kane, Deanna Raybourn, etc from any RITA nominations?

    1. Valerie Bowman

      I believe the reason for eliminating certain categories was partially due to lack of volunteer judges from within the published ranks of RWA and capping the entries at 1200.

  21. lsureader

    Sounds like a fun conference. I’ve never been to one, but I’m sure I would enjoy it. I’d love to meet authors Julie James, Lisa Kleypas, Elizabeth Hoyt, Julia Quinn, Julie Anne Long, and so many more!

    1. Valerie Bowman

      Elizabeth Hoyt lives near my home town in Illinois. I once announced that to her in an elevator at a previous conference. Pretty sure she thought I was a stalker, poor woman.

  22. Sheryl Nyary

    Thanks for that great post! I wish I could have gone to the rwa, but couldn’t. This way, I get to find out what happened and different details from there. Thanks for that!

  23. Julie

    Thanks for the recap! I’d love to attend one, but it is financially difficult at this time. The crowd at RWA seems like an excellent bunch I’d love to sit around and chat with.

  24. Monikarw

    I’ve NEVER been to an RWA conference & I’d LOVE to go!!!! 🙂
    as you said, Lime.. Maybe next year.
    I’d like to go a year you go too, it’d be AWESOME to meet you in person, I’m sure. 🙂
    Also, I’d like to meet my FAVORITE AUTHOR EVER: Lisa Kleypas!!! 🙂
    So glad u had a great time, Valerie & thanks for sharing with us 😉
    Can’t wait for ur book!!! 😛

  25. Elisa Beatty

    So fun to see all the pictures! What a wonderful conference!

    I missed out on getting an ARC of Secrets of a Wedding Night (my sister got the last one), but I’m waiting for the publication date with bated breath!!

    Love the Regency dress

  26. Cathy P

    Great post and pictures Valerie! Especially loved the one with your Regency dress, beer in hand, and happy smile!

    I have never been to a conference before, but would love to go. I would love to meet Lisa Kleypas, Nora Roberts, Sabrina Jeffries, Anna Campbell, Nicole Jordan, Nicola Cornick, and too many others to name.

    Thanks so much for the wonderful giveaway!

  27. Rhonda Jones

    I really enjoyes this article it gave me an.insight to what I’m missing at the conference. I.have never been but hopefully will attend one. I would live to.meet Johanna Lindsey, Julia Quinn, Sabrina Jefferies and you. I have you book on my wishlist and can’t wait to read it.

  28. donnas1

    Great post. I love reading recaps. Hoping to make it one day to the signing. As to who I would want to meet I dont think I can come up with a reasonable list.

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  30. librarypat

    Thank you for a nice recap of RWA. I am not a writer, but would love to go just to hang out and absorb everything. I love attending seminars just to learn, even if I never use the information for anything. Inspiration for all. It sounds like you had a great time. I hope the release of SECRETS OF A WEDDING NIGHT does very well for you.


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