You Don’t Need a Tiara to Attend a Conference

Doesn't Gayle look great in a tiara? Maybe we should make them mandatory.

To attend a conference, you don't need much more than a bit of stamina and some business cards. Heck, you don't even really need the cards, but they help when you make new friends. Which, to be sure, you will.

In fact, meeting other writers and making connections is my number one reason for attending conferences.

I hear you in the back, moaning about how you're an introvert and the idea of being around so many people scares the crap out of you.

Well, suck it up, cupcake! Want to know a secret?

We're all scared.

Yep, even me, Mrs. Social Butterfly Extraordinaire.

But that doesn't stop me from attending conferences. It just keeps me from wearing my tiara. Believe it or not, I hate to draw attention to myself. Shocking, I know!

Now that I've got you all excited for conferences, let's take a look at a few of my favorites and a few new ones I'll be attending this year. (Here's a huge tip: if you're a tad shy, go with a friend. It's easier to speak to people when you've got a partner in crime.)

SCWC - WriterFirst up, President's weekend (February 15-18) I'll be attending the Southern California Writers' Conference in San Diego. For all the deets, check out the website here.

I've been going to this conference for almost forever. Or, at least seven years. To read a recap of the conference last year click here.

The SCWC is an excellent learning conference. What does that mean? Well, basically you get fabulous speakers giving workshops on not only craft, but the business aspect of writing. It's the ugly truth I'm still in denial about, we've got to be business people now or fall behind. This year I'm noticing more about self-pubbing and ebooks, which is terrific because I'm woefully unlearned in those areas.

There is so much writerly goodness I'm looking forward to this year. Not only seeing my friends, but learning about Amazon from two successful authors, better editing skills, and writing sex scenes that serve the story. Oh, yeah baby!

That, and getting to rub elbows with agents and editors in a casual environment is always a good thing. I've heard some of them like to hang out in the critique sessions, quietly taking note of work they like. Guess I'll have to suck it up and read bits of my work. Talk about scary! But it's all good. When you're at a conference, you're with fellow writers who get it. They're all super supportive and encouraging. It's like one huge warm hug.

Just after I recover from the SCWC, I'll be heading to Anaheim in March for the SoCalRWA Writers' Conference. This is a new conference, not just for me, but for the Southern California chapters of Romance Writers of America.

You do need to be a member of RWA to attend this one, so if you haven't joined yet, do it now. This conference is limited to 200 attendees, which means an intimate environment. Like the SCWC, there will be workshops all weekend. There are also fabulous speakers like Julia Quinn and Sherrilyn Kenyon. Sweet!

This conference also has pitch sessions, a Book Camp, Late Night Salons, and competitions. I'm breaking out of my comfort zone and entering the California Hooker contest. Get your mind out of the gutter, it isn't what you think. It's a contest for the hook of your book. Sheesh.

I get a little break from conferences in April, then head to Dallas in May for the DFW Writers' Conference. This is another new conference for me, but I hear it's great for writers of all genres. Many of my WANA sisters attend and I'll get a chance to meet them, which is a huge bonus. Making friends online has been one of the best benefits to this writing/blogging gig and getting to meet those friends in person is fabulous.

What I do know about the conference is that it has excellent speakers like David Corbett and Michael Capuzzo as well as a ton of agents and editors who are there actively seeking new books. Yes!

Finally, in July I'll fly out to Atlanta for RWA Nationals. Last year was my first time attending this behemoth of a conference. For a fun recap, check out the blog I wrote here.

If you can only attend one conference a year, I have to recommend RWA. It's an intense four days of learning. There are workshops on craft, business, author spotlights, publisher spotlights, and pretty much anything you can imagine. I left there with my brain crammed with way too much information. I know writers get wiggly about the ‘romance' part of RWA, but you don't have to write straight romance to qualify for RWA. This community of writers has helped and encouraged me in so many ways over the past year.

As well as my two local chapters, I joined several online chapters that are more genre specific like. At Nationals, I'll be able to meet online chapter mates at special events planned just for us. I hear the Kiss of Death chapter usually has something totally groovy, like visiting a morgue or FBI agency. Call me crazy, but that sounds like fun!

There you have it, those are the conference's where you'll find me this year, but there are hundreds of others that I wish I had time and money to attend. I've heard the Rocky Mountain Fiction Wrtiers' Conference is great. I'm putting this one on the list for next year.

I hear good things about Thrillerfest, too. My friend Amy Shojai will be attending that conference and a few others, check out her blog post here. There's even a pet centered conference she's attending, how purr-fect would that be?

Are you going to any conferences this year? Do you have a favorite you think everyone should attend? What's your favorite part of the conference experience?

38 thoughts on “You Don’t Need a Tiara to Attend a Conference”

  1. amyshojaiamyshojai

    Thanks for the shout out! These sound like great conferences. I’ve always heard great things about RWA but I don’t write (or read) romance so didn’t think it’d be that good of a fit for me. I just may have to change my mind. *s*

  2. Trish Loye ElliottTrish Loye Elliott

    I think you’ve convinced me to join RWA and head to a conference. I’m think nationals but the SoCal one sounds awesome too. Great post!

  3. Kate MacNicolKate MacNicol

    I love writer’s conferences. I never thought I would because I am an introvert at heart but being around all those creatives, everyone chatting about writing, books, writing, books, how could any writer NOT love it? Plus the knowledge you gain and the friends you make are priceless. Sadly, I won’t be attending any this year but I can live vicariously through you! Can’t wait to hear all about your exploits Tameri. Wear a tiara to the RITA’s ok???? I’ll be on the conference circuit on 2014, I hope our paths cross then.

  4. Julie CatherineJulie Catherine

    Wow, Tameri, you are one busy lady! I don’t know how you have the energy for all that – I was exhausted just reading about all the conferences you have on tap for this year. I wish there were more quality online events for those of us who are disabled and on a small disability income – that’s something I’m going to be checking into more this year. That being said, I have registered for the Indie ReCon Online Writers Conference which runs from February 12-14th; for 8 hours each day there will be online interviews, blog posts, blogs and live online chat with advice from authors, editors, illustrators, bloggers, indie publishers, marketing professionals and apparently lots more – I’m really looking forward to that, and it’s free, which works with my (lack of) budget. Wishing you all the best with your conferences and projects this year! 🙂

  5. sheridegrom - From the literary and legislative trenches.sheridegrom - From the literary and legislative trenches.

    Hi Tameri – This is a great round-up of wonderful conferences. I so-so-so want to go to the San Francisco Conference but it’s not in the cards this year. My personnel shopping husband likes to have a hand in the selection process also. He tells me hanging out at the bar is fun but when the talk turns to semicolons – he knows he should go check out the local theaters!

  6. Karen McFarlandKaren McFarland

    Wow Tameri, you have some kind of schedule girl. Energy is right. I didn’t know that there was a SoCalRWA Writers’ Conference in March. That means you’ll be trekking up our way. That’s cool. This is a busy season coming up. Have lots of fun! 🙂

  7. susielindaususielindau

    Wow! You have got stamina! I can’t wait to join you, but I need a book to promote and hopefully will have one soon! (If I can tear myself away from the internet and finish it! 🙂 )

  8. August McLaughlinAugust McLaughlin

    I wish we were going to cross paths writers’ conference style this year, but man am I happy for you and all you’ve got planned. I’m heading to Love is Murder in Chicago on January 31st—super pumped. ThrilerFest is also on my list, with a few other potentials… Social media ROCKS for writers, but there’s really no substitute for in-person mingling.

  9. Barbara McDowellBarbara McDowell

    Fab post, Tameri! I’m attending a local woman’s retreat in February (including splurging to stay in the bed and breakfast and bond with other attendees), a local one day conference in March, RWA nationals in July and Bouchercon in September. For the past four years, I’ve attended writing workshops focused on working in small groups and craft. This year, I’m pushing out of my comfort zone to attend conferences that offer both craft elements and also a large portion of networking. I’m glad you mentioned RWA can stretch to people who don’t write romance. You and some fellow WANAs convinced me to join RWA and I’m glad I did. What an encompassing amount of material to tap into and so many online genre groups and local chapter activities to become involved in.

  10. Gayle CarlineGayle Carline

    It’s so shiny. Can’t wait to see you in San Diego, Dahling. We shall have some fun, when I’m not teaching. I’m going to Left Coast Crime in March, which should be fun. And cold, in Colorado Springs. Then the LA Times Festival of Books, then who knows what else. My head’s awhirl, what with the Snoopy book, plus the new romance-mystery book I’m working on.

    Think I definitely need to join RWA though. You guys have some kickin’ meetings.

  11. Debra KristiDebra Kristi

    Yay! I’m planning on entering the Hooker contest as well. I need to do something about that. Right now I only have the two on my schedule, plus whatever workshops they have at Comic-Con. But who knows, I could always add one later if the sky falls and drops a ton of money on me. LOL.

  12. Kristy K. James...Living, Loving, LaughingKristy K. James...Living, Loving, Laughing

    Since my hope is to never, ever, EVER fly…unless I sprout wings…I guess I’m not going to any conferences again this year. I did start looking for some that might be fairly local. There aren’t many. One is held at a campground WAY up north (and sounds like it’s put on by…okay, I won’t say Nazi’s, which was my first impression…I’ll say writing police instead.). Another website shows that there is conference in IOWA…but none in Michigan. Yet another will search for conferences in your state, but the only one it found for me was the camp up north that’s run by the writing police.

    I keep saying y’all need to move to Michigan, then maybe things will start happening here. Yes, I said y’all. Apparently I live in the back of the beyond, and everyone who lives there says it. 😉

    (sure would like to be part of the happy hookers though…do you get to wear tiaras?)

  13. Jenny HansenJenny Hansen

    I’m a huge fan of the DFW Writer’s Conference, held yearly in May. Informative, accessible and with great snacks. 🙂

  14. patriciasandspatriciasands

    RWA in Atlanta, July 2013! WOOHOO! SEE YOU THERE! Lucky you to be going to so many other great conferences … can’t wait to read your posts to hear all about them.

  15. Doreen PendgracsDoreen Pendgracs

    I share your enthusiasm for conferences and have blogged about the same subject more than once. For me, attending writer’s conferences serves so many purposes, the main one being with like-minded people for several days to bounce ideas off of, gain encouragement, sharpen focus, raise my profile, etc.

    June is going to be a conference-crazy month for me as I have 3 conferences: TBEX for travel bloggers, PWAC for Professional Writers of Canada, and TMAC for Travel writers. Being in Canada, the one I think most benefits me and any other Canadian freelance writer is the joint PWAC/MagNet conference June 5-7 in Toronto: 3 days of amazing programming for anyone writing for magazines, e-zines and pretty much any freelance type of writing.

  16. Louise BehielLouise Behiel

    Wow you are a busy beaver. I can’t wait to hear about them. I’m considering one this year. I’ll keep your list and maybe we can connect somewhere. that would be so fun.

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