Aspiring Authors, Get Ready: RT Convention Success Stories to Inspire

You’re finally doing it. You’re going to RT, with your polished manuscript ready to go. (You’re polishing now, yes? So it will be ready for May?) We talked with some writers about how they made the most of their first convention as an aspiring author — and how you can, too! 

Jeffe Kennedy is an RT favorite these days, we even awarded her our coveted Seal of Excellence Award last June So when she talks about publishing success, we listen. Here she’s talking about networking the RT way.

Back in 2008, I was a total newbie to fiction writing. I joined RWA to shop my novel (which eventually became Rogue’s Pawn). I had no plans to attend RT, because it was for published authors to meet fans, right? But Linnea Sinclair wrote an impassioned post about how aspiring authors should go for the networking, because RT is so good for that.

She was totally right!

I went to RT in Orlando in 2009. I hung in the bar with editors I admired, pitched an agent in the hallway. Published authors I knew from online groups took the time to introduce me to their editors and agents, too. I loved the informality of the conference, the party atmosphere that made “networking” feel like the fun thing it should be. While I didn’t sell that book at that RT Con, (and didn’t for a couple of years), I made friends with agents, editors and more established authors that have lasted to this day.

Tips and Tricks: Capitalize on friendships with authors. Go to the craft panels, yes, but also spend that time in the bar just talking to people and hearing about their career paths.

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Published author Celeste Easton has high praise for RT Con — and the preconvention workshop. Tell us more, Celeste!

The Romantic Times Booklovers Convention changed my life.

Sounds simple, clichéd, but it’s true.

I attended my first RT Con as an aspiring author in 2010. I had no experience, no writer friends, nothing except for courage and a head full of stories. I heard about the convention, and even though I was terrified, I registered and signed up for the Beginner Writers Pre-Con Workshop.

Everything I believed about being an author was blown to smithereens in that workshop. I can’t even tell you how much I learned. And beyond that, beyond the education and tools I received, I gained connections, mentors, and friends—an entire universe of friends.

I found my people!

And within two years, I had an agent and my first contract.

Tips and Tricks: If you’re an aspiring author thinking about attending for the first time, do it. Talk to people, make friends and share your head full of stories. Your bravery will be rewarded and it might just change your life too.

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Aspiring author Elle Asher attended her first RT when she was seven and-a-half months pregnant, so that obliterates most excuses, huh? She too loved the pre-convention workshop, and more. 

I learned about RT and saw there was a Pre-Conference Beginner’s Bootcamp taught by two amazing authors, Linnea Sinclair and Stacey Kade. I’d started writing my first novel earlier that year and decided that this would be the perfect program to help me moving forward.

Man was I right!

I learned more in those two days than I have at all the other conferences I’ve attended combined. We covered everything from goal, motivation and conflict to how to write a query letter. We even met directly with top romance authors, editors and agents to hear their tips, tricks and best advice.

Tips and Tricks: Come prepared to step outside of your comfort zone a bit. The romance community contains some of the nicest and most fun people in the literary world. They are just as excited to meet you as you are to meet them. Before May, join Twitter and start following fellow readers and writers. [Elle is @ElleAsher] Put your Twitter handle on your nametag, and you’ll be surprised how many people you already “know” come conference time!

Interested in attending the pre-convetion workshops? There are still spots available for both the Beginner Bootcamp and Cherry Adair’s Master Class, to register go here. You do not need to be attending the full convention to participate in these workshops. You can also add both workshops to an existing full registration by emailing Nancy@rtbookreviews.com. Full registration passes are also still available. (Note: You’ll need to create a user account before registering.) For more about the 2015 RT Convention, check out the con site here

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