• Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest
  • Instagram
  • GoodReads
  • BookBub
 Newsletter Sign-Up

Tried and True Conference Advice

Over the years I’ve gone to a number of RWA conferences. I’ve pitched. I’ve gone to workshops. I’ve sat in my room and wondered what I was doing there. I’ve signed books. I’ve collected books. I’ve met agents, editors, publicists, professionals that I now call friends. I love conference. I loathe conference. All for the same reasons. So here are the quick links to the blogs I’ve written over the years with advice about going to conference:

1) My GLEE Inspired Conference Tips. Even if you have never watched Glee, there is advice here to that should be taken to heart. Believe me, conference can crush you like Vocal Adrenaline if you aren’t careful.

2) The Sure Thing. If you going to pitch anything at Nationals, please, do yourself a favor and read this.

3) How to Pack. This is crucial. Packing properly for RWA can save you a lot of heartache.

4) Most Important Advice Ever. Actually it should be first. I answer the most important question of all: Why go to conference. My answer will surprise you. Or hopefully it won’t.

5. What to Wear. Two words: Business Casual–as long as you feel comfortable in that. And by the way, the best dress I ever wore for the RITAs, which got nothing but compliments and “where did you get it?”, I got at the Goodwill for $9.95. The requisite dry cleaning was more expensive.

There’s my advice. If I left anything out and you have more conference questions, please post them in the comments and I will be happy to answer them.


29 comments to “Tried and True Conference Advice”

  1. Dottie Legatos
    June 20th, 2011 at 9:02 am · Link

    Elizabeth, I am so excited! My sister & I will be at the signing on the 28th. Can’t wait to meet you!!! Since I’ve never been there before, is it really crowded? And will you be easy to find? They only allocate 2 hours for this event. See you there!!!

    • Elizabeth
      June 20th, 2011 at 3:10 pm · Link

      It will be packed–at least at first and then it sort of thins a bit. But all the authors are in alpha order, so we are pretty easy to locate! Can’t wait to see you and your sister.

  2. susan knight
    June 20th, 2011 at 9:22 am · Link

    I’m a reader. I got your autograph at RT. I barely got to say hello. I can’t afford to go to New York after I just went from Houston to L.A. Maybe nexy year.

    • Elizabeth
      June 20th, 2011 at 3:11 pm · Link

      It will be in Anaheim next year so make sure you find me and we take the time to chat!!

  3. Candy Newby
    June 20th, 2011 at 10:01 am · Link

    Hello! I had you sign Lord Langley’s chest at the book signing in Beaverton, Oregon. =)

    Is it possible to write large blocks of chapters out of sequence and then join them successfully before fine-tuning the finished product?

    • Elizabeth
      June 20th, 2011 at 3:12 pm · Link

      I remember you–you were one of the naughty wild ones there that night. πŸ™‚ And yes, it can be done, I know lots of writers who do this. I’ve done it once on an anthology and it just takes knowing the scenes and their purpose and then threading them together with a good rewrite.

      • Candy Newby
        June 21st, 2011 at 9:30 pm · Link

        Naughty? Wild? Well…just a little. You and Julia were so much fun, too!

  4. Marquita Valentine
    June 20th, 2011 at 3:22 pm · Link

    I’m a first timer and I’ll be ushering at the Literacy Signing this year. Partly because I wanted to see my idols and because I was told it was a great way to meet other writers.

    What would you suggest that I and other writers (we of the prepubbed set) not miss out on?


    • Elizabeth
      June 21st, 2011 at 4:17 pm · Link

      I think the best thing to do prior to conference is to look at what you see as your strengths and weaknesses as a writer and then concentrate on getting to workshops that address both areas. YOur weakeness are obvious, but sometimes it is your strengths that can make you shine as a writer and sharpening those is just as advantageous. Take full advantage of the chance to hone your craft.

  5. Beth Yarnall
    June 20th, 2011 at 3:24 pm · Link

    I try to sit next to strangers, then introduce myself. Last year at the GH & Rita awards dinner I met Rita Clay Estrada (the 1st prez of RWA & who The Rita is named after) & Paris Afton Bonds (the first VP of RWA)! It was so fun sitting next to them while the slide show for the 30th anniversary played. Their comments & memories were priceless!

    • Elizabeth
      June 21st, 2011 at 4:18 pm · Link

      I am always amazed at how people travel in packs and never branch out. I met some of my best buds in writing by just reaching out a hand and introducing myself. Sometimes you click and find a new friend and other times not so much. But you never know until you try.

  6. Tawand
    June 20th, 2011 at 4:40 pm · Link

    Is there any chance I might bump into you in the lobby. I will be there the 27-29.

    • Elizabeth
      June 21st, 2011 at 4:19 pm · Link

      There might be! I’ll be the one with the 12 year old boy in tow!

  7. Sue Schmitz
    June 20th, 2011 at 6:36 pm · Link

    I wish I could go to the RWA conference, it sounds like fun!

    • Elizabeth
      June 21st, 2011 at 4:19 pm · Link

      It is! Watch for it to come to an area near you as it moves each year.

  8. Adelaide Hsu
    June 20th, 2011 at 7:46 pm · Link

    Anaheim next year?! Woohoo! Please let us know when and where it is, I’d love to go! I live pretty close to Anaheim…and have some great restaurant recommendations…yum.
    Freebies! Love it!
    Also, I want to see a picture of the awesome dress!

    • Elizabeth
      June 21st, 2011 at 4:20 pm · Link

      Yes, Anaheim! Will be on the lookout for you.

  9. Sue P.
    June 20th, 2011 at 8:36 pm · Link

    Would so love to attend a conference and meet you and all my other favs, too! Maybe see you one of these years!

    • Elizabeth
      June 21st, 2011 at 4:20 pm · Link

      Ditto! I don’t go every year, but when I do–look out!

  10. Cynthia
    June 20th, 2011 at 10:37 pm · Link

    I was wondering how you keep track of all the details in the books you write with characters that are related when you have overlapping timelines?

    I would love to attend a writer’s conference sometime. It would be so much fun!

    • Elizabeth
      June 21st, 2011 at 4:22 pm · Link

      I have a master timeline that I keep for each series so I can use that as sort of a touchstone.

      And yes, conferences are fun. Look for a local one to give it a try if only to dip your toes in.

  11. Jenni Grubb
    June 21st, 2011 at 7:27 am · Link

    Oooh… excellent advice in this blog post! I’m planning to attend next year and I am so excited because it will be my first RWA event. I will have a manuscript in hand and I can’t wait to meet all my favorite authors! πŸ™‚

    • Elizabeth
      June 21st, 2011 at 4:23 pm · Link

      Okay, first rule of thumb–never bring a book to conference. πŸ™‚ Just bring a big smile and lots of enthusiasm for your completed project that is waiting at home for the go ahead.

  12. Linda McDonald
    June 21st, 2011 at 12:22 pm · Link

    Have a wonderful time at the conference! I will be at the one in Anaheim next year. Yay! I can’t wait to meet you along with all the other fabulous authors I love. I’m also working hard on my own writing so that maybe I’ll have something ready for a meet with agents next year. I have not yet atttended the National Conference, but I have gone to several local conferences and I love them. I love learning everything about the writing process.

    • Elizabeth
      June 21st, 2011 at 4:24 pm · Link

      I love learning about the process as well. This is a craft that constantly needs to be honed. Hope to see you in Anaheim.

  13. Jane
    June 21st, 2011 at 1:44 pm · Link

    I’m going to try to go to the literacy signing. I know it’s free to the public, but I heard it’s usually packed.

    • Elizabeth
      June 21st, 2011 at 4:24 pm · Link

      It is packed–at first. But then after the first hour, the crowds sort of pan out. The only thing then is some writers might be out of books, but you’ll have more time to meet one on one with your favorite authors. And the crowds do make it fun.

  14. Cynthia
    June 21st, 2011 at 1:55 pm · Link

    Which conference event do you enjoy most?

    • Elizabeth
      June 21st, 2011 at 4:31 pm · Link

      Going home. πŸ™‚ Really. I love it when I get to come home.

      But I also love hanging with my friends and getting a little silly. I don’t see them very often and though we chat all the time via email, on the phone and over Twitter, when we get together I truly remember how dear they are to me.


  1. Getting ready for Nationals | Love & Laughter
  2. Living Vicariously for RWA11 (Blog Post One) | AmyBeth Inverness

Facebook Twitter Pinterest Instagram GoodReads BookBub

Search Site

Where to now?

Privacy Policy Cookie Policy

Elizabeth Boyle is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com. Amazon and the Amazon logo are trademarks of Amazon.com.
If you purchase a book listed on the site from Amazon.com, she’ll earn a small commission. Thank you!