Dear Editor: Should I Attend a Romance Writers Conference?

Dear Editor,

I am almost done writing my first romance. At this point, I don’t know what to do next. I go online to see how I should publish my book, but this doesn’t seem to be enough. Is it worth the time and money for me to attend a conference?

–Solo Samantha

Dear Samantha,

Congratulations on almost finishing your book! That is an accomplishment worth celebrating! Even if you were only on Chapter One, I would recommend that you attend a conference or local romance chapter meeting. You never know what you’ll discover–and it could change your writing life.

Writing is such a solitary art. Writing romance can be solitary as well, but it doesn’t have to be. While you may think of yourself as a loner, this is an instance where you could reach out and reap untold benefits. There are many reasons why conference and local chapter meetings are helpful. These are just a few:

If you attend a conference, you won’t feel alone in your love of writing romance, or just writing period. Everyone around you will know what you’re going through with talk of HEAs, alpha heroes and heroines, and dark moments at the end of a story. You can make friends on the elevator, in a workshop, or passing by on your way to registration. This is a friendly business, for sure!

At a gathering of like-minded souls, you might meet an editor or agent. This can break the ice and we are mostly nice and approachable (especially after coffee). Meeting us can demystify the process of getting a book published. You will understand that for the romance genre to exist, we need writers. And you could be writing for us.

If you’re an indie author, you will get helpful tips and support from others who self-publish. You might want to have complete control over how your book gets published and marketed. This takes a lot of work and having rich resources to turn to will guide you on this path.

Getting out from behind the computer can be invigorating. You might notice how happy people seem at a conference. It’s because engaging with others in real time and face to face is awesome! Even introverts need some time in the wild. I understand perfectly if you suddenly need to go back to your laptop. Many editors are introverts and need precious cave time, too.

Learning. At conferences and meetings, writers/editors/agents will give workshops. Even you’ve been writing for thirty years, there is always something new in these sessions. It’s a great way for writers to pay it forward and build the genre. Plus, these workshops are fun and stimulate the imagination–and laughter.

The partying, the food, and no shortage of chocolate and books. What could be better? Romance writers know the essentials of life: romance, love, and dessert.

Enthusiasm to write romance is contagious! I hate to admit this, but even I want to write a romance when I’m immersed at a conference. Of course, I could never do anything this difficult, but it  makes me doubly happy to read them.

Consider this some encouragement for you to make that reservation and go. At the very least, you can find excellent tips from your local writing chapters or Romance Writers of America. Enjoy the journey!

–The SYTYCW Team