How to Jinx a Writers’ Conference

I am really looking forward to the Romance Writers of America conference in Anaheim. I mean, I am REALLY looking forward to it. Is that a Bad Sign? Should I temper my excitement by reminding myself of, say, that Mexican Riviera cruise — which I was confident would be a dream vacation … until Day Two, when the Norovirus hit?

Maybe there’s no such thing as a jinx, but I am typing this with my fingers crossed. Just in case. Because if I manage not to jinx it, this RWA conference is going to be fantastic. FANTASTIC! There; I’ve said it.

I’ve attended quite a few, over the years, and they have all been great. But I’ve never been in quite this position before: making money from my books without being beholden to a publisher. I have no editor. I have no agent. I am not up for any awards. In other words, I am feeling no performance anxiety of any kind. I have no meetings set up. No conversations to anticipate, fret about, and mentally rehearse. No acceptance speech to write. No “graceful loser” smile to practice. No tricky etiquette questions to mull (“Which of us is supposed to pay for this lunch? After all, she invited me – but I chose the restaurant. And she’s my editor/agent/reviewer/chapter president …so does that tip the balance? And if so, in which direction?”). For the first time in my career, I will be free as the proverbial bird.

And, as if my enviable position above the fray weren’t blissful enough, I also have a book contract with NAL (or Signet, or Intermix, or whatever it is calling itself these days) — a bona fide subsidiary of Penguin Putnam. An actual “Big Six” New York publisher. Ha! Yes, I am hugging myself. Forgive me. It’s just too, too perfect. Because the contract is just for an e-release of one of my old titles — so it’s really no big deal, right? But a contract is a contract is a contract — so I am officially a Contracted Author. With a book coming out in August. Which means that, unlike most of the other self-pubbing authors, I get to attend the Signet/Berkley/NAL party on Friday night.

If you’ve never been to an RWA conference, you are going to have to trust me on this. Friday night is the night when all the publishing houses host parties for their authors. And you do not want to be left in the lobby with the wannabes, pressing your nose against the glass and watching as all the published authors are swept off in limos to glamorous destinations that you can only dream of. (Okay, there aren’t always limos and it’s not usually that thrilling of a destination — in fact, often the parties are just receptions held on the conference hotel premises — but that doesn’t matter; being in with the in crowd feels great, and being left out hurts. That’s just human.)

So. I go to the conference needing nothing from anyone, expecting nothing, able to enjoy every minute to the full without the usual high-adrenaline plague of nerves. And yet I get to attend the party. How perfect is this?!

Too perfect. Excuse me while I go throw some salt over my left shoulder.

4 thoughts on “How to Jinx a Writers’ Conference

  1. Aw, July? I can think of one way the conference won’t be perfect…if it were a couple months later, in September, I would be living in San Diego and could drive up to Anaheim to meet you in person!

    Just kidding. It sounds like you will have a no-pressure (Congrats on the contract; great timing that you get to do to the party!) great time. And if you ever do get down to SoCal after this coming September, and you’re up for one of your readers buying you dinner at the restaurant of your choice,😉 let me know!

    • Ha! I would love to meet you, that’s for sure! Thanks for the good wishes. And yes, the party is definitely the main reason to go. LOL! – just kidding; the whole conference is awesome. I’m delighted to hear that you’ll be moving to San Diego (again, right? didn’t you live there before?) and will let you know if I head your way. So look out.

      • Yep, we’ve lived there before—twice! This will be our third time, and we’re pretty excited about it. We love San Diego, and we have lots of friends and family in SoCal. You hereby have an invitation to come visit anytime you’re there!

  2. I’ve had my best conferences in the same situation you’re in–no pressure whatsoever! Have a great time!

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