The Inside Scoop

On Romance Writers’ Conferences…

Writing romance isn’t just about good sex, hot heroes, and stringing words together like beads. Writing books is a career that includes production schedules, marketing, and craft.

Dani Wade, romance author, sexy contemporary romance

So where do authors learn all that stuff? The information is out there in blog posts, books, and forums, but 1 really fun way to do this is to attend a writers’ conference.

Not to be confused with a readers’ convention like Romantic Times Conventions, which is focused on connecting readers with writers they love. Writers’ conferences are focused on educating writers about craft, publishing, and making connections. Oh, and books and parties and more…

So I thought readers like you would enjoy an inside look at one of the biggest romance writers conferences in the U.S. Romance Writers of America has become the place to be for writers to learn how to hone their abilities and stay abreast of a rapidly changing marketplace.

The largest portion of the RWA conference, in terms of quantity, is by far the workshops. They run the gambit from craft to writer’s life to marketing and promotion. All are presented by industry professionals, authors, and experts.

RWA, National Conference, romance authors

Luncheon with Andrea Laurence, Kimberly Lang, (me), & Marilyn Baxter.


There are also spotlights on various publishers, who talk about what they are publishing, and what they are looking for in submissions. Usually there’s a luncheon with a well-known guest speaker. This year, RWA had guest speakers during the breakfast hours, including the funny and informative Cindy Ratzlaff.

Besides learning, conferences are a great networking opportunity. Besides meeting with the senior editor of my Harlequin line, last year I had dinner with my editor and fellow shelf sisters. I got to meet other Harlequin authors at my publisher events, and other authors in general. My volunteer work on the award ceremony this year allowed me to meet the gracious Brenda Jackson, the divine Catherine Coulter, and sassy Simone Elkeles.

Then there’s the BAR. The hotel bar is a great place to people watch, chat with friends, invite someone to have a drink on you and get to know them. Many a piece of expert advice or publishing secret has been passed along in the bar. Friends filter in and out, and those of us who are true introverts pretend to be extroverts for just a little while. Exhausting, but oh was so fun. And those friendships are nurtured online until the next year comes around.

RWA National conference, San Antonio, TX

The Riverwalk in San Antonio, TX



Conference destinations can also be a source of research and inspiration. This year, national conference was held in San Antonio, Texas, just a short walk from the Alamo and other historical sites. The Riverwalk at night is a very romantic and picturesque setting.





RWA National Conference, RITA Awards, Charles Griemsman, Harlequin Editor, romance author


And then there are the awards ceremonies! Quite a few take place at various times, just as they do at other regional conferences. But the RWA national conference culminates in the annual RITA and Golden Heart awards ceremony, the Oscars of Romancelandia. One night for us to get decked out in glamour and celebrate some outstanding romance books.




So there you have it! The Inside Scoop on Writers’ Conferences. If you could ask writers about anything, what would you want to know?


5 responses to “The Inside Scoop

  1. The workshops are tremendously helpful — all that info under one roof. But the bar? That’s the best place to get the real “inside scoop”! 🙂

    • Thanks for dropping by!!! I’m always happy to talk about something that’s so fun-so much fun that authors will step out of their comfort zones to attend. 🙂

  2. I’m so sad I had to miss the RWA National conference this year! It really is inspiring to get together with so many other people who do this crazy thing we do. It can be a very lonely profession otherwise! (Which is also why blogs like this one are so awesome!)

    • Thanks, Lara! Yes, every year I have to miss nationals I get depressed. 🙂 I try to compensate with more local conferences, but is just not the same.

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