RWA 2012 Conference Highlights

The Romance Writers of America 2012 conference took place in Anaheim, California this year, right down the street from Disneyland, which I swore I wouldn’t visit but did anyway for my birthday (and had a ridiculously good time). I had no expectations for this conference, which is perhaps why it is one of the best I’ve attended. I was sort of sad to miss the always-fabulous Harlequin party Friday night (because said visit to Disneyland with the family turned into a late-night event), but then I avoided wearing high heels that night, so it’s kind of a wash.

Highlights of the conference included (in no particular order!):

1. The Stephanie Laurens speech I posted a few days ago

2. Another touching and funny keynote speech given by Robyn Carr on the subject of longevity in the business

3. The general air of excitement and possibility regarding the digital publishing revolution

4. Carina Press (Harlequin’s digital publishing venture) author Fiona Lowe winning a Rita Award (the romance industry’s highest honor) for Boomerang Bride, marking the first time a digital-first published book has won a Rita

5. The trend in most of the publisher spotlight sessions toward convincing authors that traditional publishers have something valuable to offer–this is a huge change of tone since my last conference (insert many exclamation marks here) and real evidence that publishers are feeling the pressure of competing with self-published authors

6. The lack of humidity in Anaheim (my hair would like all conferences to take place in low-humidity locales, but no one asks my hair)

7. The conference hotel itself, which managed to be laid out in such a way that nearly all the workshops were located within short distance of each other (I’m pretty sure I’ve put in a good 5 miles a day walking to and fro at a few previous conferences…in high heels)

8. Seeing old friends and colleagues and meeting new ones…if you ever wonder about the point of attending a writers conference, I have to say this is the most consistently valuable part of any conference

9. A hilarious workshop given by Simone Elkeles, that had me in tears laughing at one point–if you ever get a chance to hear her speak, take it, but for now go to her website and see how she has taken book trailers to a whole new level

10. Rooming with the always-wacky Cindy Procter-King, who is such a good networker that I don’t even have to know people–I just get to ride her coattails

11. Seeing my funny and brilliant agent and hearing that she doesn’t hate my latest book (insert tears of joy here)

There were more highlights, but this is getting really long and my daughter is hovering nearby desperate to be entertained. Did you attend the conference? What were your favorite moments?


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