Conference Activities for Non-Joiners, Newbies, and Self-Promoters – Esri Rose
RWA’s annual National Conference is an opportunity to network, learn and promote. But what if you’re brand-new to the conference, don’t belong to any local chapters, or are a disorganized flake who didn’t get her act together beforehand? I’ve been all three and continue to be two (that’s easy to figure out, isn’t it?). Membership in the Wet Noodle Posse usually saves me from having to entertain myself at conferences, but I’m here to tell you that you can be the howlingest of lone wolves and still get your game on in
Become a Member of the Press
All you need to get people to talk to you are a blog or online photo account like Flickr, a notebook and/or digital video camera (best), and bits of paper telling people where they can see their photos and quotes after the conference.
“Hi, I’m Amanda Roofus of MakeMeMewl.com, and today I’m asking, What kind of underwear do your book heroes wear? Boxers, briefs, a hybrid, or commando? Patterned or white? Silk or cotton? Do you have an upcoming book I can tell readers about? Great. Here’s a card with my site’s web address. Make sure to check in after [or during] the conference.”
You also can ask serious questions, like: What’s the best money you’ve spent on promotion? The worst?
Advertise Your Status
There’s still time to order a HELP! I’m Shiny New. Could I maybe sit with you? button from CafePress (I made them just for you, with no mark-up). Romance writers are generally very kind and mentor-oriented, so give them a chance to help you. Even more, they love to be kind to potential readers, so wear something that lets them know whether you’re into fantasy, historical, inspirational, or whatever.
You can use this same technique to hook up with people who share your non-book hobbies. If you’re a knitter, Corgi-breeder, SCA member or whatever, wear a little flair that lets other members of your tribe find you. The more interests you share, the more fun you'll have!
There is a bulletin board at Conference. Before you go, find something fun to do in
Offer to Volunteer
Yes, there are official volunteers, but there is always more work. Find yourself a staff member and say, “This is my very first conference, I’m at kind of a loose end, and I’m wondering if you need any help with anything.” If the first person says, “No” and doesn’t give you someone else to contact, ask someone doing something completely different, or locate a coordinator you can speak to. Make sure you’re dressed nicely when you ask, so if they have a sudden moderator hole they need to fill, they can slot you in. If you have a car, make sure to mention that. You can also try this with chapter people, especially if you find someone in a chapter that’s local to you. It's a good way to find out if you want to join them.
Compliment an Author
Especially a newish author, and especially just before mealtimes. “OMG, you’re Esri Rose! This is my first romance conference, but I read your elf romance and just wanted to tell you how much I adored it. Hey, is there a food court around here? I am so ignorant of how this all works.” (Alternatively: “Are tables reserved, or do I just sit anywhere?) This is guaranteed to get you an invitation to join the author for a meal.
Esri Rose will be signing copies of Bound to Love Her at the RWA Readers for Life literacy signing Wednesday evening. Stop by and get an ElvesAmongUs.com button!