Finance Your Fun!
Posted by Guest Apr 24 2008, 10:52 am
by KJ Howe
American Title finalists from several years in Pittsburgh: (left to right) Janice Lynn, Lindsey Brookes, Michele Ann Young, Jenny Gardiner, Judi Fennel, Raz Steel, Trish Milburn, KJ Howe
The theme on the Bandits this week seems to be conferences. While many professional organizations have conventions where attendees fall asleep in industry-related panels, romance writers are guaranteed a good time when they meet up with fellow fans, writers, and publishing professionals. RT is the perfect example. Unless you’ve experienced one of these extravaganzas, it’s hard to describe. Picture cover models sweet-talking soccer moms, Fabio strutting through the lobby sans goose, costumes from another century, vampires looking for blood, wearing pajamas to a slumber party, psychic readings. The list goes on, but the bottom line is that RT is wild!
From the small local ones to the large National ones, conventions have their own flavor. Finding the right one for you is half the fun. For example, because I write romantic thrillers, I enjoy conferences where there is a spotlight on romantic suspense, thrillers, and any other adrenaline-flowing activities. Next up for me is Thrillerfest in July, where ATF agents will show writers how to blow things up and share information about the latest weapons. It should be a spine-tingling week!
But, alas, these opportunities mean a solid investment of funds. Many readers and writers would love to attend conferences, but find it difficult financially. So, today is devoted to spreading the word about ways you can attend conferences no matter what your fiscal situation. Everyone should be able to experience this wonderful opportunity to meet with fellow fans of fiction!
I’ve listed several opportunities below, but please feel free to share other ones in the comments section.
RWA National: New this year! RWA will raffle off one free conference registration (for 2009) every day to one lucky volunteer. So, it could really pay to help out in San Francisco—next year’s conference could be paid for in full! Visit http://www.rwanationalconference.org/Get_Involved/GetInvolved_volunteer.html for information on how to volunteer.
RWA National: The Valley Forge Romance Writers offers the Writer’s Rafflemania. This year they raffled off $1500 toward the cost of Nationals and they will be doing it again next year. For more info, visit http://vfrw.com/raffle.htm Tickets will be available starting in June.
Thrillerfest: Mingle with bestselling thriller authors and join over 35 top literary agents at Agentfest (sort of like speed dating with agents!). Tfest organizers are running a contest where the prize is a free ticket to attend Thrillerfest in NY this July. For more information, visit http://www.thrillerwriters.org/subscribe.php or go to http://www.thrillerfest.org/
Some conferences, like RT, offer a small discount if you are doing a workshop. I know of at least one RWA chapter that pays for the chapter president’s conference fee. After all, this volunteer promises to attend the President’s Retreat and the Annual General Meeting, then reports to the membership about both meetings.
Several generous authors, like Lora Leigh, Jill Barnett and our Anna Campbell, offer to sponsor people at conferences. And there is always the Jeannie Gray Golden Friendship Award which pays the conference registration fee to the winner of the essay contest each year. Our Jeanne won it last year!
Another idea is to volunteer for the RWA board—executive members have their conference fee paid. You could contribute to a wonderful organization while saving a few dollars, a win-win situation all around.
If you really want to attend a conference, there are ways to do it. Let’s hear some of your ideas for cutting costs and making sure that you don’t miss out this year.
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