Five Pairs of Shoes and Counting (Tari’s RWA12 Recap)

July 30, 2012

So, I took my comfortable shoes…to the Romance Writers of America 2012 National Conference of course. They are ugly shoes, sandals that look like tennis shoes, grey with purple accents, truly ugly, but oh so comfortable…and I wore them all day Thursday.

Thursday was filled with workshops, beginning with the Pro Retreat where intellectual rights attorney, Jon Tandler, enlightened a room full of hopeful writers on the ins and outs of book contracts, pen names, publishers who file bankruptcy, and much, much more. He was followed by a panel of editors including Michelle Biddlespach of Grand Central, Mary Chen of Avon , Debra Dixon from Belle Books and Lindsey Faber of Samhain. These editors’ inboxes are filled with unsolicited manuscripts every week, but they request more from less than five percent of the writers that they hear from. Why do they reject manuscripts? They were overall in agreement. It wasn’t typos or lack of experience on the part of the writer that made them hit “send” on that rejection letter, it was about the story. The writer couldn’t tell a story from beginning to end, there was no conflict, the writer didn’t have a voice. I scribbled away in my spiral notebook, writing down everything they said…I was there to learn. Oh, and I won lunch with author, Susan Gee Heino in the Pro Retreat drawing. The conference was off to a wonderful start.

The Pro Retreat was followed by the Keynote Luncheon with speaker NYT Bestselling author Stephanie Laurens. After lunch my roommates Joyce, Julia (hi ladies! had so much fun!!) and I returned to our room to gather our things for the afternoon workshops…well, eventually, after we got lost, circled the Starbucks in the hotel looking for the elevator to our room, went back to the lobby, circled Starbucks again, stopped in the Goodie Room for lots of swag, circled Starbucks once more and… Finally found our elevator, we made it to our room, then repeated much the same process after gathering our things and heading to the workshops.

The number of workshops and publisher spotlights was overwhelming. How do you choose between hearing your favorite author speak or going to see a panel of editors from the publisher of your dreams? Session after session we had to make these choices. Do I see my favorite regency author speak or my favorite contemporary author? Do I go to a publisher spotlight or a book signing? How do I pick? Sometimes I picked just because I was swept up in the flow of ladies and ended up in the room with “this” speaker. Truly it didn’t matter, they were all amazing.

And did I mention the books? The books were EVERYWHERE!! Free books in the hallways, on your seat at lunch, in the Goodie Room and in the giant tote bag they gave you when you first registered for the conference. It was the fulfillment of a million childhood fantasies and many adult reveries where I met face-to-face with my favorite authors, learned how they wrote the stories I loved and was surrounded by books with beautiful covers that enticed you to read the beautiful stories within…only in my fantasies, I’m wearing a long flowing gown and gorgeous shoes that somehow manage to be comfortable…oh well, the most important parts of my fantasy were true…and real. Maybe next year I’ll wear the flowing dress and gorgeous shoes as well.

There is so much more to tell you, and I promise I will. Some of you were there and already know! I was lucky enough to get to meet Janet Nye *waves dramatically,* and Libby Mercer *waving more.* So if you were there, please share your stories. I’ll continue to share mine…it will take me weeks to tell you all that happened.

And by the way, according to my fabulous friend, author Louisa Bacio, in an informal survey she performed the average number of pairs of shoes attendees brought was five. Five pairs of shoes…some with pointy toes, some with stiletto heels…and always one pair of comfortable shoes no matter how ugly they are.



8 Responses to “Five Pairs of Shoes and Counting (Tari’s RWA12 Recap)”

  1. Louisa Bacio Says:

    You forget the flip-flops to wear when you lounge by the pool in all of your “free” time. Yay — I didn’t get any! How did Hunky Hubby like that awards ceremony? Was he inspired, too?

  2. JanetLeeNye Says:

    Waves back! Hey, y’all! Nice to meet all of you. I’m so jazzed with new insights that I hardly know where to begin. I think the agent request should be number one.

  3. taristhread Says:

    Hunky Hubby was awed by the awards ceremony!! I’m so glad he went. I don’t think he could possibly have understood how important those awards are without being there!!

    I had no time for lounging pool side either, and although I have this big stack of books that are luring me to grab those flip flops a book and head to the beach….I’m going to write! Don’t want to lose this motivation and inspiration!!

  4. It was overwhelming, it was amazing, it was indeed a fantasy come true! I’m already planning my trip to Atlanta for next year. This is one conference I don’t ever want to miss. I saw Louisa in a few workshops (we were always on opposite sides of the room, but I sent silent waves to you!), and it was so much fun to see you, Tari. Did Joyce tell you she thought I was stalking her? I kept seeing her everywhere. Great fun, great people, awesome time!

    • taristhread Says:

      Tameri- It really was wasn’t it?? Amazing I mean. And I too am planning for next year, and starving myself as of today so that I can fit into a sexy dress for the awards ceremony!! I saw your friend Rick and messed with him a little the next day. He seems like a good sport. See you at the meeting.

  5. Libby Says:

    Waving dramatically back! Fabulous post, Tari! What an amazing conference. I so hope that I’ll be able to manage Atlanta 2013… And for the record, 4 pairs of shoes but 6 if you count the sneakers and flip flops. 🙂

    • taristhread Says:

      Woo Hoo! I’m trying for Atlanta too, and I say that counts as 6 pairs of shoes!! I’m going to have to keep track and do my own survey. I’d like to find out if shoe sales peak during the month of RWA Nationals….what do you think?

  6. […] Tari Lynn at From Fact to Fiction took five pairs of shoes to RWA. Find out why here. […]

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