Heading to Your First RWA Conference? Meet Maggie!
RWA’s 25th anniversary conference, themed Ain’t Love Grand, is being held in Adelaide from 19 – 21 August – and SA contemporary and paranormal romance author Maggie Mundy is in charge of showing the ropes to all the conference ‘newbies’. We chatted to her.
Maggie, tell us about yourself as a writer and your role helping newbies. I came to writing later in life after doing a degree in drama and creative writing. I found joining RWA was one of the best moves I made in my journey to publication. I write paranormal romance and have been published by Soul Mate Publishing in the US.
My role will be to help the newbies before conference with any questions they have. I will be available on the weekend of the conference as well. Many writers chat on the Facebook group leading up to conference, so this means they’ll already know each other come conference time.
How can newbies connect up pre-conference? We have a closed, newbies-only Facebook group, where you can sign up to meet new people, develop pre-conference friendships, and ask heaps of questions in a safe, private environment. If you have not received an invite, then contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Are there any newbie events held at the actual conference? We will be having a get-together for a pre-cocktail chat with the president, Leisl Leighton, who’ll take the opportunity to welcome people to their first romance conference. I’m sure it will not be their last! I will give details of the time and place nearer to the conference.
In the past, what have been the experiences of newbies getting together? Many of the newbies from last year, when I also helped out, have kept in contact through Facebook. And I am sure many of them will be catching up with each other again this year!
Being a conference ‘virgin’ can feel a little daunting. Your top tips?
- Wear layered clothing. The venue is climate-controlled but we all have different temperature thresholds.
- Be polite and be engaged. When someone takes an interest and opens a conversation, share the talking.
- RWA members are a friendly lot and most of the time they’ll be happy to chat. But if they don’t engage with you, don’t take it personally—it may be they’re talking to their editor about their book, or they’ve just caught up with a friend they haven’t seen in 12 months and in their excitement to see each other, they accidentally leave you out. Just smile and move on to the next person/conversation.
- Drink lots of water.
- If you’re pitching, be professional. Do your homework on the agent/editor you’re pitching to, dress appropriately, have your pitch polished to a gleam, and be on time.
I’m so looking forward to meeting everyone in person at the conference. See you in August!
To book for RWA’s annual conference—which is all set to razzle-dazzle in marking 25 years—or for more information, visit http://www.romanceaustralia.com/p/229/Adelaide-16.