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RWA Conference — Romance Writers of America® Annual Conference

Romance book writers build skills and network at this popular annual event


Romance author Sharon Lathan autographs for a reader at RWA

Regency romance author Sharon Lathan autographs The Trouble with Mr. Darcy for a reader at RWA

photograph by Valerie Peterson
The Romance Writers of America® Conference is held by the RWA each year. It is an opportunity for RWA members and aspiring romance authors to network with their fellow romance writers; to meet (and pitch their romance novels to) romance editors, agents and publishers; to mingle with librarians and booksellers; and to participate in educational workshops to enhance romance novel writing, book marketing, and writer's career skills. RWA membership is not required to attend the conference, however RWA members do receive a discounted price for the event.

The Romance Writers of America® Annual General Meeting (AGM) is also held during the conference. During that meeting, the RWA membership votes on bylaws and other matters regarding the government of the organization. Other traditional RWA Conference components include a "Readers for Life" charity book signing; a Midnight Madness Bazaar; and the presentation of various awards, including the RITA® and Golden Heart awards, which are among those presented at a gala ceremony on the closing night of the RWA.

Romance writers meetings, workshops and panel discussions
RWA publishing meetings, workshops and panel discussions bring together romance writers, editors of romance books and agents for romance writers.

The RWA conference facilitates meetings between romance authors with completed manuscripts and agents and editors. First-time authors wear a "First Sale" ribbon.

A cross section of the many RWA workshops generally includes topics such as romance writing how-tos (for example, "Building the Perfect Hero"); general novel writing skills (like "Uniting Plot Structure and Character Arc"); book market information (such as "The Romantic Suspense Market: Advice from the Pros" and "How to Thrive in a Changing Market"); and general book marketing and publicity information (like "Developing Brand You!")

There are also single publisher "Spotlight" panels which delve into what various romance publishers are currently looking to buy.

Romantic retail — to raise funds
The RWA Conference has a popular "Readers for Life" Literacy Autographing. Romance fans can get signed books from their favorite authors and the proceeds from the book sales benefit literacy charities. There are usually about 500 authors participating in the two-hour autographing event, including stars of the romance world like Sherrilyn Kenyon, Meg Cabot, Jayne Ann Krentz, and Julia Quinn. The thousands of books available for the authors to sign for the public are donated each year by major romance publishers, including Avon, Ballantine, Bantam, Berkley, Dell, Dorchester, Harlequin, HarperCollins, Kensington, Leisure, Penguin Putnam, Pocket Books, Silhouette, St. Martin's Press, and Warner Books.

The Midnight Madness Bazaar is a retail event during which the individual RWA chapters raise funds for their treasuries, to keep themselves running.

Presenting Romance Writers of America® Awards
During the conference, the RWA also presents a number of awards, including non-writer awards for support of the RWA community. Those include: Bookseller of the Year: Librarian of the Year; the RWA Emma Merritt Service Award (honoring volunteer service to the organization); an Industry Award; and a Media Award.

The RWA recognizes excellence in romance writing with a number of awards, including the RITA® Awards, the Golden Heart Awards, and the Nora Roberts Lifetime Achievement Award, which are presented at a gala awards ceremony on the final night of the RWA Conference. Read more about the RWA awards.

Location of the RWA Conferences
RWA takes place in a different city each year. The locations of recent and future Romance Writers of America conferences are:

2010 - Orlando, FL

2011 - New York, NY

2012 - Anaheim, CA

2013 - Atlanta, GA

2014 - San Antonio, TX

2015 - New York, NY

2016 - San Diego, CA

Learn more about the RWA.

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