The annual Romance Writers of America Conference was held in Denver this year, and the energy in the downtown Sheraton hotel was palpable. Romance writers both new and veteran alike came together to learn, find inspiration, and of course, get a plethora of books signed! If you couldn’t make it to Denver or if you simply want to relive the magic of this past week, we’ve got you covered with this RWA 2018 recap.
RWA 2018 Recap
While it’s impossible to recapture every event and memory that took place during RWA, there were some definite highlights that stood out.
Perhaps one of the most memorable speeches to come out of RWA 2018, Suzanne Brockmann rocked the boat in the name of love during her acceptance speech for the RWA Nora Roberts Lifetime Achievement Award. As a mother, author and fierce advocate for the LGBTQIA community, she used this opportunity to draw attention to the need for diversity and inclusion in publishing.
“How are readers ever going to expand their world view if they didn’t get to meet characters like my adorable gay sheriff?” Suzanne Brockmann’s told her first editor when she was pushed to change a secondary character’s sexuality #RWA18 #RITAGH
— RWA (@romancewriters) July 20, 2018
Another memorable talk came from Shelly Laurenston during her keynote speech. Her primary message? It’s okay to be weird. It’s okay to take care of yourself. We don’t need to hold ourselves to other people’s standards of “acceptable” states of mind.
“Some of us need more, need therapy, need medication. There is no shame. And I refuse to feel ashamed for taking care of myself.” Shelly Laurenston #RWA18
— RWA (@romancewriters) July 20, 2018
Other speakers included Sonali Dev, Robin Covington, and more. One thing remained constant throughout all the talks—there’s a unique opportunity in romance for us to alter the landscape of publishing for the better.
In the words of Suzanne Brockmann, “Love is love is love is love.”
It wouldn’t be an official RWA conference without the sessions! There was something for everybody in the sprawling venue. Sessions were open to all attendees, and the topics ranged from drafting tips all the way to advanced marketing and publishing tactics.
While the content and topics of the sessions will likely change in the coming years, you can expect to find courses on subjects like:
- Newsletter advice
- Time management
- Writing sprints
- Writing tools
- Querying and slush pile advice
- Genre structures
- Research tactics
- Social media marketing
- Author platforms
- Other marketing mediums (radio, TV, events, etc.)
Even if you only attend a handful of sessions, you can get a lot from simply networking. The key is to not be afraid of interacting with others. Everyone started somewhere, and romance writers are a unique bunch—we love to help! Plus, you never know when a connection might come in handy.
Books, books, BOOKS! Many attendees—myself included—brought an extra bag with them to ensure they’d have enough space to accommodate all the wonderful books we were offered. Authors from the following publishers set up shop, handed out swag and grabbed a pen to sign copies of their works:
- Gallery and Pocket Book
- Carina Press
- Grand Central
There was also an indie book signing from a variety of participating authors. But perhaps our favorite debut author signing? Our very own Alexa Martin!
That’s a Wrap
There were so many other events—including our very first in-person All The Kissing meetup—that it’d be nearly impossible to touch on them all during this RWA 2018 recap. A lot of publishers host their own events off the RWA agenda, and like I said earlier, one of the biggest benefits of attending the annual RWA conference is networking. Lots of authors got together for coffee breaks, cocktails, dinners, pitching practice sessions, and more. There’s something for everyone at RWA, and we hope to see you in 2019 in New York!