I’m probably not being very original with how the next few blog posts will follow for the next week or so, but the RWA 2009 National Conference this year was one of many firsts for me! My first national conference workshop panel, my first time speaking at the Sourcebooks Spotlight, and our first Sourcebooks sponsored signing! I apologize for my lack of photos, but I’m not sure I have the brain power to maneuver them around in the blogger set up!
My Workshop Panel
I like to think I’m an OK public speaker—I’ve never been one that hated speaking in front of others, but I’ve never really been that person to volunteer either!! But I have to say, RWA was the perfect place to start out, mainly because everyone is so nice, but I was extremely lucky to not only be on a fabulous panel, but I had many of the lovely Sourcebooks Casababes there for support. Judi took pictures (and Mama J says thanks!), and many more sat in places I could easily see—and it was nice to see smiling faces. And I was incredibly humbled to have our dear editor, Deb, and our CEO and publisher, Dominique, in attendance as well. I sat next to Lori Foster (and had an OMG moment), Jenna Peterson was incredibly funny, and Michelle Buonfiglio (the mastermind behind this workshop) was awesome. I think we all had a lot to offer about online promotion, and I hope people took something useful away from it!
I must interject (to keep things chronological) that the author dinner that took place on Friday was superb—it’s nights like that that really put things into perspective. How wonderful to have one of our very first Casa authors (Michele Ann Young) mingling with our current authors, and many of our Spring 2010 authors, too! The restaurant was lovely, drinks were had, stories were told, and, of course, we traveled in style in stretch limos!
The Sourcebooks Spotlight
I want to tell you a story—Tuesday, July 14th, I was in Dom’s office with Deb on the phone, having a final meeting about the conference, when Deb says “Dom, did you tell Danielle about the Spotlight?” Dom looks over—“No! I didn’t!” Deb: “Danielle, after Dom discusses the Author toolkit, you’re going to speak about Marketing and PR.” And I said, “Ok,” but I meant “AH the day BEFORE we leave!” But, by the time Saturday rolled around, I was still on my high of doing well on the workshop panel, and the Spotlight was a piece of cake. The room was filled, the crowd engaged after hear Dom’s enthusiastic overview, and I think I carried it over well, so Deb could talk about her editorial process and submissions guidelines. After the spotlight, Deb and I were in that room for about 15 minutes after it was over, talking to anyone who came up to the front. It was great—people were getting it: Sourcebooks Casablanca is very different, innovative, and fully established as a romance publisher on the rise.
The Sourcebooks Signing
I must must must say that I know I underestimated the amount of books to send to Nationals… I follow the rules, and the rules suggested sending a box of each book…. Well, I should have known, 2500 avid romance readers would want more books. But I am happy to say that every single book sent was signed and given to a fan—and they were eagerly given. I do have pictures from the signing, and I will send them out soon! Every time I passed by one of the authors, they weren’t just signing, they were engaging the person waiting and talking. I took pictures of fans and authors, I met some of the bloggers who have been supporters. I watched what I consider so successful in this line. It was so amazing to see all of the work we’ve been doing over the past year or so really come together in a moment—10 Casa authors were present, and I think they did so wonderfully at their first RWA signing!
This year’s conference will be special to me, because it was the one I had the most handle on. I know there were things I could have done differently (and I have a long list of ideas and thoughts to implement next year). I LOVED being able to meet my authors face to face, talk about their books and promotional plans, and really, just chat. You’ve all become friends through our emails. I enjoyed hearing about what you want to see happen with your books, but also about your families and your travels, and all that we discussed.
And finally, as a truly serendipitous moment—Saturday, my little brother (who goes to the Naval Academy, and is much much bigger than me now) came to have dinner and go to a movie (Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, natch). We had to go to a later show, and around 10:00pm we headed out. Guess who got off the elevator as we got on? None other than LA NORA herself, fresh from winning the RITA for Tribute. All I could do was stare… and my brother looked at me like I was insane.
When the elevator door closed I started shrieking: “DO YOU KNOW WHO THAT WAS? NORA ROBERTS!”
Alex replied “You mean that’s the author mom’s obsessed with and has a million books by?”
“Seriously? She was hot!”
So Nora, if you’re reading, there’s a midshipman at the US Naval Academy who finds you very attractive.
Back to work on Monday, telling everyone how much of a success the conference was, and even thinking about the plans for next year in Nashville. I can’t wait to hear about everyone else’s stories!
Did anything truly serendipitous happen to you at this year’s conference? OR do you have a story from a year passed?