I missed out on America, but I'll be going to the Australian RWA conference on the Gold Coast in a couple of weeks.
This will be my third RWAus conference, and I'm so excited I could burst. I love conferences for so many reasons.
1 - I find my tribe. Writing is a solitary business but at conference I'm with 300 likeminded writers - so we're all in it together.
2 - I get to meet my favourite authors and catch up with fabulous friends. (some are one and the same. That's how lucky I am!)
3 - I virtually kill myself before hand getting the latest manuscript finished ahead of conference.
4 - I learn so much my brain is practically leaking out my ear by the end of it, but every workshop and panel session helps me improve, and that is priceless.
5 - writers of all levels learn about the industry, first hand.
6 - I'm joining 61 other authors in a huge book-signing event.
7 - they are so much fun!
It's point 3 that has me in a tizz this year, and I brought it all on myself. I began my latest manuscript in February and have pushed myself get it done by conference. Six months. I know loads of writers who get a 50,000 word manuscript done in 2 months. I'm not like that. I'm slow. Hideously, horribly slow. The upshot is I *think* I'm getting better so that the first draft is in really good shape.
OK, maybe I'm in denial.
Anyway, I am on target to finish this manuscript and I'm ready to pitch to a visiting agent from the USA. I previously landed an agent in the UK the old fashioned way - contacting them via email through the slush pile. This time, it will be face-to-face. I'm excited and daunted.
I'm also practicing my pitch - every time someone asks me 'what's the book about' I get to tell them in a couple of sentences. The responses have been happy positive, not glazed-eyed neutral. That's got to be a good thing?
So, if you get the chance to attend a writers conference in your home country (or travel overseas, that would be awesome!) then grab that chance with both hands and make the most of it. You'll have fun, you'll learn so much, you'll make wonderful friends and you'll have some exciting opportunities other people won't get.
Writing can be an isolating experience, but when you're at a conference you're not alone.
Am I sounding too preachy? Good. Get thee to a conference!
More information about this year's Australian conference http://romanceaustralia.com/
The 2013 conference will be in Perth :-D
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Ebony is the author of the fabulously funny, romantic, and exciting Ondine series that is published with Egmont Press. Think Princess Bride meets Ella Enchanted.