Welcome to Ravenna’s Monday Mumblings!
Today I’d like to talk about joining professional romance writer associations, specifically, the RWA – Romance Writers of America. There are similar organizations in other countries, but I’m not as familiar with them so I don’t feel I can speak intelligently to them.
When I first joined RWA, I wasn’t published. I also didn’t have a clue all the resources available to me in that organization. I joined a local chapter and was met with scorn over what I wrote. Not kidding. Also not knowing any better, I didn’t realize they are most definitely NOT all like that.
The publishing world has changed since then, and sometimes I wonder if the women in that chapter changed with it, or if they still turn up their noses at publishers other than the Big Five, or at any form of erotic romance. For their sake, I certainly hope not.
Now, I belong to the Indiana Romance Writers of America chapter. I’ve belonged to them once before, and had to quit both the chapter and RWA for financial reasons. But I’m back now, and I couldn’t be happier.
I also plan to attend the annual RWA conference in 2017, in hot and humid Orlando, Florida. Coincidentally, the only RWA conference I attended in 2010 was also in Orlando that year, and I nearly didn’t attend. It was supposed to be in Nashville, which at the time was only a half hour away. When Nashville and surrounding areas experienced catastrophic flooding in May of 2010, the conference venue had to be changed because the Opryland Hotel had sustained severe flood damage.
My husband talked me into not cancelling my plans to attend, and I am forever grateful to him for that. Not only did I have an amazing time – even not being published at the time – but it was at that conference I finally understood what RWA was all about.
Sure, there are the two main awards – the Golden Heart and the RITA – but that’s not all they have to offer their members. Each year at the conference there is the literacy signing – an event where you can hob-nob with other authors and readers. All proceeds go to helping others learn to read. What could be better?
The conference itself is jam-packed with workshops geared toward every level of writing and every imaginable interest within the romance genre. You learn from the best of the best. There’s swag to pick up, and you have the chance to give away your own, as well. You can book an appointment with an editor and an agent to pitch a story idea. And the best part is simply BEING THERE to soak up all the energy and creativity of hundreds of other romance authors.
Aside from the conference, local chapters host events and contests, plus there’s the chance each month or more to meet up with local writers doing exactly what you’re doing. The IRWA group is amazing, and I’m thrilled to be counted among them once again!
RWA offers far more than the annual conference. Here is their website link. Take a look around. Members have access to articles and seminars offered online, at your convenience. They have access to the latest news from agents and editors. There are resources offering classes in everything from learning the craft to becoming savvy in the business.
The cost is what puts some off, but I look at it this way. For less than $120 a year, I can belong to both the RWA and IRWA, and take advantage of all they have to offer. That’s $10 a month. Most of us spend almost $10 on our morning coffee order at Starbucks.
So if you live in the USA and are serious about your writing career, consider joining the RWA, plus a local chapter. There are even online chapters you can join! You’ll be surprised at the resources and friendships available to you.
Until next week, Happy Writing!!