In July 2016, I went to my first ever Romance Writers of America National Conference in beautiful San Diego. To say that I had fun was an understatement.
I loved meeting my favorite authors and people that I have been corresponding with on Twitter.
1. Bring 200 or more business cards, even if you aren’t published. That way you can network. Exchange business cards while in line, in the elevator. Just do it. My goal was to get rid of my 100 cards by the end of the conference. I did it by the 3rd day.
2. Bring a cordless charger. I was friendly with bartenders so that I could use the plug while I networked at the bar.
3. Remember to bring your RWA badge to the RITA Awards ceremony! Get there early. The line was RIDICULOUS. The tables in front are for VIPs. Also, people who get their early will reserve up to a full table for their late friends. So, trust me. Get there early. Think about it. There were 1,900 at RWA this year. Some bring their significant other, parents and children to the ceremony. So, you snooze, you lose.
4. Bring snacks. There are times that you barely have enough time to get from one class to another and the lines for lunch and dinner are so long. Luna bars and almonds seriously saved me. Get to classes early. There were time I was 10 minutes early, and the room was standing room only.
5. Be positive and professional. You have No Idea who may be listening. Agents and editors often will not wear their names badges or will conceal their names to avoid harassment.
6. Take pictures, but a few per author. I have this dorky fan girl face that did when I met Lorde and wish that I had a few to choose from. This helped me look a little less intense when I took pictures.
7. Have downtime and feel free to skip a session to relax. I put my bikini in my bag so I could change and hang by the pool for a bit.
8. If you are live tweeting, sit in the front and tell the presenters that you are doing it before the session. It would be good to ask for their Twitter handle so you can @ them. This also doesn’t look like you are being rude by typing on your phone.
9. Have fun. RWA is pricey and you want to suck the life out of every moment.
If you are on Twitter, check out my live Tweets at #RWA16. You won’t regret it. Also I did my first ever Periscope to give tips and show off my swag, but had a case of the giggles. If you want to see me embarrass myself with the help of my Tweep @pheramuse, my user name is @jennfarrar7. Just remember, it was My First Time.