Registration is a favorite volunteer assignment. Early morning, 8 or 10 of us manned the registration desk, along with behind-the-scenes RWA Staff members who efficiently ran the show. As writers, editors, agents, and librarians arrived we pulled envelopes with registration materials and handed each a tote bag filled with books, a name badge holder, flash drive, book light, and even a collapsible water bottle. Roughly 2,100 attending this year but the space was well-organized so not much waiting.
After my two-hour stint at Registration, I raced upstairs to help stuff tote bags. The fourteen bags we assembled to raffle on Wednesday night at the KOD “Death by Chocolate” awards ceremony and party. Five of us worked; coordinators had matters well in hand. Books and other goodies were generously donated by KOD authors.
Chocolate doesn’t travel well and we needed more for the raffle bags. I made what should have been a quick dash down Broadway toward Walgreens. In Times Square a huge crowd gathered, along with police and their flashing vehicles. I followed the direction of the cameras and spotted a young man in a red t-shirt who alternately sat, stood, and danced atop a light post (click for news article). Patient NYPD officers on ladders worked to talk him down. He seemed in no hurry to comply. But I was on a mission. Must have chocolate for the raffle bags! So I pushed through the multitude. Got to Walgreens, grabbed the chocolate, and left. Now sawhorses and police on horseback blocked off the Square. A large blow-up trampoline arrived. The guy was still on the post. Head down, I (and others) worked our way north through the crowds. This is New York City.
In the afternoon I attended RWA-Women’s Fiction mini-conference. Michael Hauge started the program with a two-hour presentation on Six Stage Plot Structure. Using selected scenes from the movie My Best Friend’s Wedding he explained how to use screenplay structure to enrich our novels. Outstanding, invaluable info!
Next up on the RWA-WF schedule was an agent/editor panel, followed by an author panel, all talking about the market for Women’s Fiction. It is a currently in high demand among editors, if it is well done. I heard the term “cougar club” – women in their 40’s going through an identity crisis. The books need emotional complexity and depth. Hardcovers are usually more literary. Trade paperbacks feature a more intimate setting. Three critical factors are emotional drive, connection to the characters, and to make the reader care.
A Librarian’s Day Luncheon was held in the Westside Ballroom and best-selling author Julia Quinn spoke. There was also a Librarian and Bookseller Networking Event where PAN eligible authors could mix with romance-friendly librarians and booksellers.
I made a quick trip to the “Goody Room” – an area where authors set out promo items including chocolates, pens, and ever popular emery boards. No “paper only” allowed this year.
RWA’s Literacy Signing was held from 5:30 to 7:30. Over 500 authors signed their books for readers. Profits from the event go to RWA’s charity. (Update: Over $47,000 was raised!) The room was packed, more so than I remember from past years. Not sure if it was the room size, or social media to blame. Drawings were held for chapter donated raffle baskets. Three or four contained Kindles or other e-readers. Lots of fun to meet with old friends and new.
At a First Timers’ Orientation, first time attendees learned the ropes. Many online chapters also met Tuesday evening. I attended From the Heart RW’s “Meet and Greet” and met Nikki Enlow, one of 2011’s recipients of the RWA Service Award and President of FTHRW. Also Denise Pattison (we’ve been trying to meet for years), and others. Those attending were given “conference survival kits” – a fun collection of necessities for surviving conference. An evening highlight was a talk by a Samhain editor who spoke on the state of e-publishing.
Tuesday evening allowed many online friends to socialize. Authors from The Goddess Blogs held a party in their suite, providing food, fun, drinks, and tiaras.
More fun to follow tomorrow as the Conference officially opens. ∞
I’m exhausted already and I’m not even there. Thanks for the great updates.
Yes. I’m exhausted too! 🙂
The “Goody Room” sounds like a place where I want to be 😛 Do you have pictures 😀
Totally forgot about taking a photo of the goody room. Will try to get one today. But the publishers’ signings are phenomenal. All those free books signed by favorite authors. Will try to capture that, too.
Registration has always been the most interesting part of RWA, i loved the way RWA Staff members work and how smoothly they handle a crowd of 2000 plus!
Amazing, isn’t it? Yeah, the staff members are a great, incredible group of organizers. 🙂
Great fun to see the picture of Marilyn and her son! I didn’t think I’d mind not being at National, but I miss seeing my friends! And hearing you talk about the Michael Hauge presentation makes me sorry I wasn’t there. Sniff.
I’m glad you’re enjoying yourself!
I’m really sorry you weren’t there, Edie. At dinner last night we all agreed that Michael Hauge was a major highlight of an already great conference. Last night I ran into him outside the elevator bank and we chatted for a few minutes while we waited for the elevator. He’s a very gracious man. You also would have loved “the buzz” this year about e-publishing!
*Waving to Edie* You were very much missed, girlfriend.
Deb, thank you so much for your wonderful posts from the conference (and for including me and my son in this one, too!!) — I didn’t have Internet access for the whole week, so your recaps were terrific! It was lovely getting to meet you and the RWA-WF members there on Tuesday, btw ;). And I absolutely agree about Michael Hauge as a highlight. I first heard him speak at the RWA conference in Atlanta in 2006 and really found his insights about novel structure so helpful. His work and that of Blake Snyder have both been incredible. Glad you found some valuable techniques from it as well!
Marilyn, I was so impressed by how your son was helping promote your work – good business manager, and a fine young man. Glad you liked the photo and the posts. Still have Friday to write, but first I have a chapter to finish. Looking forward to reading your book.
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