Romantic Times 2010

I’ve been meaning to post my impression of the Romantic Times conference that I attended just a couple of weeks ago.

There were some very good things about the conference. There were some things that were concerns, but those concerns were, for the most part, not within the control of the people who planned and administered the conference itself; they were issues with the conference center.

The Good

The truth is that this conference was very well-run, and I met loads of people. Some of the people I spoke with are people I’ve met at other conferences. I did quite a bit of networking and went to some very interesting seminars. I did learn some new things, and have new ideas for the projects I’m working on. I’d go again, hands down.

If you write anything with romantic elements, or write romantic fiction, you should really check out the Romantic Times conference. It will be in LA next year, which sounds like a great time. I don’t know if I will attend, largely because of the amount of travel, travel expenses, and not knowing my own trial schedule that far in advance, but I’d love to go again if I could!

And let’s hear it for Mr. Romance, 2010….a very good-looking Midwestern boy named Jamie Ungaro, from Coshocton OHIO!! Gotta love those Midwestern country boys…I know I like them a lot myself!

The Bad

The air quality inside the conference center and the hotel was abysmal. Yes, the conference was held in Ohio. Yes, I live in Ohio, too. It is definitely Allergy Alley. There’s no question that there was a lot of sniffing and coughing going on as the conference started, but it got worse as the week went on. Despite the early snuffles, we got a heavy rainstorm partway through the week. Rain normally clears a lot of crap out of the air when pollen counts are high, but the allergy suffering kept getting worse. I had trouble sleeping at the hotel all week, and overheard many others complaining about the same problems.

I was amazed at how much better I felt the minute I got in my car to leave and turned on the air conditioner. That’s rather sad.

There’s a lot of joking that goes around at different conferences about the “conference yuck” or the “conference plague”; the unspecified upper respiratory infection that always cuts a large swath through attendees at a large conference of any kind. I didn’t really hear a lot of it this time; most of the people having problems were the ones with allergies. I’m still getting over it, and I’ve been back a week and a half.

Regrets

There were quite a few agents and editors there.

In my opinion, the general rule of thumb for pitching in person at a conference is this; if you can’t have the finished product out the door in 30 days, don’t pitch your project. You can sign up for pitch appointments and network, but if you do this, you should make sure that the person from the conference organizing the pitch appointments is aware of this, so that they can determine if the agents and editors are okay with this. You don’t end up annoying editors and agents who don’t want to hear from people who do not have finished or almost-finished product to market.  Also, it’s just good business networking to make sure that you’re not stepping on any toes. Remember that you can always network at the bar, or at the social events as opposed to at the pitch appointments. I sure did a lot of that.

Because I did not feel like I could have GRIMM out the door in 30 days (It’s slow going right now…I’m in research hell at the moment, and scenes are dragging until I get it done) I did not sign up to pitch. I really wish I’d had a project ready to go.  SHADES OF GRAY isn’t something I’m sending out right now, but I’ve had some ideas for rewrites, and so I’m making another editing pass through it right now. Of course, I have no way of predicting which one could be done in 30 days, so I did not pitch either. I wish I’d felt like I had something to pitch. It would have been a great opportunity to do so!

If you’re starting to plan your writing-related travel for next year, I would strongly recommend the Romantic Times convention. We had a ball, made great connections, got lots of ideas for more writing, and got great career advice. At this point, the link for next year’s conference is not yet up, but you can check out this year’s information here.

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