Sunday, July 28, 2013

The Road to Success from Atlanta RWA 2013

It’s taken me almost a week to recover from the RWA national conference in Atlanta. The conference was amazing. The speakers were awesome. And the opportunities for networking were astounding. I had a great time and I learned a lot. While I came away exhausted--because the days were long and the nights were short--I also came away recharged and encouraged about the book industry and my place in it. Maybe it’s because I went into this year’s conference with a different energy and expectation that I got more out of it. But I think it was more than that, too.
R8 Members: Evie, Me, Lisa, and Keely

The landscape is entirely different than it was even a year ago. The most popular workshops seemed to be those directed at learning about indie publishing. There were still our old favorites: regular spotlights on traditional publishing, craft-oriented workshops for beginner to pro, an arena sized book signing for traditionally published authors, PAN workshops, pitch sessions, and networking parties. But this year RWA shifted the focus slightly and allowed indie publishing to take a place at the table. Successful indie authors shared their secrets about their success and RWA sponsored a book signing & giveaway for indie authors. The energy was high, and the mood was collaborative and positive.

The clear message? This is the best time to be a writer because of all the options available to us. We can traditionally publish, we can publish with a small press, we can publish with an e-publisher, we can indie publish, we can hold our digital rights and sell our print rights, and so on and so on. Or, we can be a hybrid author who does all of the above. If we want. We have choices. Writers hold the power card.

The trick is knowing what you want. What brings you the validation that you require to continue writing what you want to write? Is it seeing your book in print? Knowing that readers are reading it? The distribution? Is it being able to make a living from your book sales? There’s a lot of self-discovery necessary these days to make your way in the book industry. You need to know what you want and why you want it. But if you’re honest with yourself and willing to work hard and write, write, write, there are no limits, and there’s no single pathway to success.

 Have you thought about what success looks like for you? When will you know you've arrived?

If you attended RWA Nationals in Atlanta this year, what was your favorite part?


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. What an encouraging blog. I love the sentence about how now is a great time to be a writer because of the plethora of publishing options. That is truely a 180 in perspective. In 2011 when I went RWA, there was a sense of overwhelmedness and still the idea that legitament publishing only occurred in NYC w/ the big boys.

    Your blog is refreshing and affirming. Thank you!

  3. Yes, Shellie, I agree. It is a 180-degree change. I came away feeling hopeful and encouraged, which was a change even from last year's conference. If you get any of the recordings, make sure you get Cathy Maxwell's keynote speech. It was mega-motivating. Not to be missed! One of my favorite moments. But, damn, if she didn't have me crying!

  4. I recently read two articles back-to-back. One, in the Huff Po, was about how this is the age of digital self-publishing and as such, having your plan involve some part of it is the best option for writers. The other was an NPR story asserting this is a new Golden Age for traditional publishing and that traditional is striving for great things because of the effect e-publishing is having.

    I rather liked the advice both articles gave. It's all about how to make the most of what's out there. It's like you say, my friend, what does success look like? To me, it looks like making the most of your opportunities. Congrats on doing that.

  5. It is a new day, isn't it? I'm encouraged in a way that I never have been before. I was also exhausted yet energized by the conference. The exchange of ideas and the things that I learned really helped my writing mojo.

    Cathy had me crying as well. I don't think there was a dry eye in the house when she was done.