This year the RNA conference was in Sheffield. Six and a half hours and four separate train journeys from my home. We are not going to discuss the three cancelled trains at Edinburgh on the way home, the fact I lost my train ticket, or the final train journey home with drunk, grimy teenagers who’d all been at T in the Park.
No, we’re going to discuss sharing a weekend with people who are happy to talk about books, reading and writing nonstop for three days. Bliss.
The accommodation at Sheffield University was the nicest I’ve stayed in at a conference. I was lucky enough to share with five other authors that I knew and there was chocolate, wine spritzers, crisps and champagne for three days.
For the first time ever at a conference I paced myself. I didn’t go to a talk every session. I actually bunked off two – unheard of! One to go for some tea and biscuits with some other authors I hadn’t managed to catch up with yet, and the other to go and lie down for half an hour after lunch!
The goody bags were spectacular this year with chocolate, lots of books, and lots of unique ways other authors had found to publicise themselves – me included. I printed A7 cards this year with a calendar on one side and a picture of my latest book on the other and OBVIOUSLY I attached chocolate. Do I really think that any of these items make people buy books? No, I don’t. But it’s nice to contribute to the goody bag for your colleagues.
So what did I learn? Lots. There was a large amount of publishers delivering presentations encouraging authors to submit to them. I attended presentations from Mills and Boon, MIRA, Carina Press, Piatkus and Harper Impulse. All of them were excellent.
There were also presentations on using theme in your story, managing your time, changing writing genre and writing YA.
All in all, it was a fabulous conference with the best part obviously being the people there. Can’t wait for next year!
PS The incoming conference was……The World Congress on Parasitic Plants!