RWA 2016: First Day of a First Timer by Christy Carlyle

400ONE-DANGEROUS-DESIREThe Romance Writers of America, the largest professional writers’ organization for romance authors in the U.S., is hosting their annual conference in San Diego, California this week. Since first joining RWA decade ago, I’ve dreamed of attending the conference. I learned from fellow authors that it was the place to meet, learn from, and connect from fabulous writers in our genre.

After receiving my first publishing contract last year, I decided this had to be the year to make my dream come true.

I’ve heard from dozens of fellow authors about what to expect, what to wear, what to bring to the conference and what to leave at home. Likewise, I’ve thought for months about who I hoped to meet, what events I didn’t want to miss, and which workshops I wanted to attend. Now I’m here, and I’ve survived my first day at my first conference. I’m exhausted, exhilarated, and these are a few of my takeaways.


The whole “bring comfortable shoes” admonition is the most important piece of advice I was given before the conference. The hotel where the conferences is being hosted is massive. Let’s just say my Fitbit was shocked when I logged 14,000 steps today.


We all have authors we look up to or who have inspired us on our journey. I have found, without exception, that romance writers are friendly, generous with their time, and eager to discuss a subject near and dear to all our hearts—writing and reading romance novels. The most exciting part of this conference is that we are all both writer and reader.

“Readers for Life” Literacy Autographing

gywsfhrgNothing has been more fun and exciting than signing at the Literacy Autographing event this evening. Readers and unpublished RWA members flooded into one of the conference hotel’s huge ballroom spaces to pick up books signed by published members. Signing authors included icons like Nora Roberts and Julia Quinn, 2016 RITA finalists, and relatively new “kids on the block” like me. There is nothing as exciting as getting to talk to readers about books, except perhaps walking into a room full of authors with piles of books in front of them waiting to be purchased and signed. The best part was knowing that every single book eagerly added to a bag would lead to increased charitable donations. I was thrilled to sign lots of copies of my new release, One Dangerous Desire.

I head into my second day tomorrow and am looking forward to a roster full of workshops to help me hone my craft as a writer. If you’ve attended an RWA conference, what was your one big takeaway? If you haven’t attended but would like to, tell me what you’d love to get out of the experience. Just remember, bring comfy shoes! 🙂

7 Responses

  1. Teri

    Enjoy! I wish I could join you. It would be wonderfu to see all my favorite authors, one of which is you!

    • Christy Carlyle

      Aww, thank you, Teri! The best part is definitely the possibility of meeting favorite authors. I tried to meet Sarah MacLean at the Literacy autographing last night. She’s one of my favorites, and she was swamped with fans. 🙂 Which is a good thing!