RWA Virgin

I've been a member of RWA (Romance Writers of America) for about two years. I joined as soon as I decided to try and get my first romance novel published. I had heard wonderful things about the National Conference over the past couple of years. I really wanted to go last year but finances and family obligations put the whammy on that. Truth be told, I hadn't planned on going this year either. However that all changed when my illustrious literary agent Jeanne Dube, of Forte Literary Associates here in NYC, sold my paranormal romance series to Sourcebooks in a 5 book deal! A few days before the conference my new publisher asked if I would be attending...gee...lemme think? YES! It was bit of a scramble but I made it down to Orlando for the last two days of the conference.

This year marks the 30th Anniversary of RWA! The 2010 conference was supposed to be in Nashville but due to the flooding, the event had to be moved. They chose Walt Disney World. I have to say that whoever was in charge of reorganizing this did an incredible job! The events were held in the Dolphin Conference Center. You'd never know that this had all be a last minute shuffle! I must admit that there was some guilt involved when I decided to go. I have four young sons and they were not exactly thrilled to hear I was heading to Disney without them. (They got over it quickly when presented with Disney themed gifts upon my return.)

It was a bit intimidating to charge headlong into this conference all alone. I wasn't exactly sure what to expect. My fears were immediately put to rest the moment I met the gals from Sourcebooks. I sat in on the Sourcebooks Spotlight and heard first hand about their company philosophy, marketing strategies and overall corporate culture. I left that session and immediately called my agent so I could say "THANK YOU"! She hooked me up with a wonderful organization.

After that session I had a cornucopia of workshops to choose from. As I looked over all of the options, I kept thinking that I should have attended this event every year. It's a great networking opportunity for unpublished authors who have the chance to pitch directly to pubs and agents. There were fantastic sessions about the craft of writing and wonderful workshops with some of the best romance authors in the industry. Nora Roberts and Brenda Novak both delivered fabulous presentations about their experiences in the industry.

My new editor invited me to the Sourcebooks author dinner. I was more than happy to attend! Friday night two HUGE stretch limos picked all of us up at the hotel and whisked us away to a very cool tapas restaurant in Orlando. It was my first opportunity to meet and chat with some of the wonderful authors in the Sourcebooks family. What a great group!

Saturday night was the big black tie affair....The RITA & Golden Heart Awards. It was like being at the Oscars for romance writers. This was no small affair! It was thrill to be there and be a part of such an exciting evening for so many authors. I owe a huge Thank You to Sharon Lathan who found me wandering amid the sea of tables! She swooped over, grabbed me by the arm and brought me over to one of the Sourcebooks tables! Sharon Lathan, Judi Fennell, Cheryl Brooks, Joanne Kennedy, Olivia Cunning and Terry Spear were so very welcoming to me. They embraced me into the fold as if I'd been there forever. I will never forget their kindness and warmth.

My only regret is that I was unable to attend the entire conference. I am already excited for RWA 2011 which will be right here in NYC!

If you want to get to know some of these authors I mentioned, you should stop on by their blog and see what they're up to. Trust me....there's always something fun going on with these gals!


  1. Hi Sara! What a great experience you had. I've heard such wonderful things about Sourcebooks - I'm glad your first conference went so well. Good to be part of a such a welcoming community. That's what I'm working towards. ;) Cheers!

  2. Sara - thanks for taking us along to the RWA conference. I've been with RWA for 7 years now and have still never attended one. All that will change next year as long as all is right with the conference gods. Hopefully, all of the Divas who manage to make it to NYC can meet up!

  3. It was great meeting you in Orlando! I'm so glad you decided to go. Don't tell anyone, but I was a RWA virgin, too.


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