Going to Conference on a budget

In ConferenceEventsGuest Articles by Online ManagerJuly 11, 20172 Comments

If you haven’t already organised your Love Gone Wild experience, don’t despair! Time is still on your side, and with some careful planning and these nifty ideas, you can come and kick it at Conference in Brisbane this August.

Registering

The first thing you will need to do if you’re intending to come along to Conference is buy a ticket. A core program ticket will cost $550 (members) and $580 (non-members). Included is the ticket to the ‘Bring Out the Animal in You’ Harlequin costume cocktail party on Friday night, the core conference program, and access to our exclusive pitching and manuscript assessments. Depending on your professional development needs, you may also wish to purchase add-on access to workshops, or other networking opportunities.

See the full list of ticketing information here

Getting there

Depending on where you live, there are multiple options available for getting two and from Conference. Interstate attendees may wish to check budget airline websites and sign up for alerts to get the best deals on flights, or alternatively contact our travel partner at Flight Centre to get their fare. If you’re living in Queensland then buses and trains to the city might be viable options, or carpooling with friends to and from the Conference venue could help save on petrol and parking costs. RWA has also negotiated a deal with AirTrain, for discounted rail transfers for attendees coming from Brisbane Airport into the city.

Read more about our great travel deals here

Accommodation

Conference is taking place at the Pullman King George Square Hotel in Brisbane. The hotel is connected to the Mecure Brisbane Hotel, so as part of our partnership with them, we are able to offer close proximity to all Conference happenings. In addition, we have a great Conference accommodation rate available at the Ibis Brisbane Hotel. If you’re looking for something more modest, consider looking for accommodation with AirBnB, or using a site like Expedia to find deals in a price range and location that will suit your needs. If you’re looking for a roomie, why not post in the RWA Community Group on Facebook?

Check out the details of our accommodation offers here

Food and drinks

Once you’ve arrived, there are ways to further cut down on costs you might incur as part of your stay. Most hotel rooms will have bar fridges and tea and coffee making facilities. You can avoid caving into those midnight cravings and ordering expensive room service by stocking up on snacks and drinks for the fridge at a convenience store, including cuppa-soup or noodles for warm and tasty treats. Bring a keep-cup and make yourself a coffee in the hotel room each morning, so you’re prepped and ready to go without needing to spend money at high-priced city cafes – paired with a store-bought breakfast bar (or those mini packets of cereal you remember from your childhood – they still exist!) and a piece of fruit, you’ve got breakfast sorted without needing to build it into your accommodation costs.

Around town

Cabs and Uber are available to get you from A to B, but will obviously incur costs. Brisbane has a pretty comprehensive public transport system, and even offers free buses within the CBD. To make things easier ahead of time, download their app so you have public transport schedules on the go.

Bookmark the Brisbane Translink website here.

Check out the What’s on in Brisbane page for RWA’17 to discover some sight seeing ideas.

Next year

Are you planning on attending next year’s Conference? Work out a budget early and put aside some money each week. That way you’ll be prepared for earlybird Conference registration, and even spur-of-the-moment discounted flight deals!

Do you have a few favourite conference tips? Please share and comment below.


About the Author

Louisa likes Pina Coladas and gettin’ caught in the rain. She lives in Mandurah, Western Australia, works in communications and PR by daylight, and drinks more coffee than is good for her. When she’s not writing or researching projects, Louisa enjoys spending time with her family, friends, and her Great Dane, Harriet. Hobbies include playing video games, watching copious amounts of tv, and various craft-related initiatives.

She strongly believes that the truth is still out there.

Check out her website, or follow her on FacebookTwitter, or Instagram.

Conference News | Secrets of a Successful Pitch

Registration for Fremantle 2020 is coming up, and choosing a pitch appointment will be part of the registration process. Things will be a little different now we’ve gone virtual due to Covid-19.

Pitching is obviously going to look different at this year’s conference, because we won’t be able to have the traditional face to face meetings.

However, as pitch coordinator, I’ve been in touch with the wonderful pitch takers we had lined up for Fremantle, and most of them are happy to go ahead with pitching in a different form.

I don’t have full details from everyone yet –  as you can imagine things are not business as usual at the moment – but most of the editors and agents are willing to either set up Zoom meetings with members or offer advice on a blurb and first chapter in a phone call.

The process of registering your interest and allocating pitches will stay much the same from previous conferences and the conference team will give further details about the process closer to the date.

Pitch takers are working with the team and have indicated that allocated pitch sessions will  be conducted in the work week and during office hours, depending on the time zones the editors and agents are in.

Pitch appointments may be scheduled before or after the actual online conference, depending on the availability of the parties involved. Also, most editors and agents will create and manage the Zoom meetings and phone calls themselves, and will invite the pitchee to join, with a volunteer from the conference team available in case of technical failure.

We are still busy gathering all the pitch takers preferred means of taking pitches, and will let you know what the situation is as soon as possible. Please be aware that where editors and agents have indicated they want a blurb and first chapter (of around 2500 words in total) before the pitch appointment, they would need to receive them a month in advance.

This means those members who are interested in a pitch session and who are successful in getting a slot will most likely need to have their blurb and chapter ready to send in to the conference team around 1 July.

As per the original conference rules, only those registered for conference will be eligible to apply for a pitch session.

Pitching

For those who want to pitch, remember that a short, simple, but most of all interesting description of the essence of your book isn’t enough. You need to be able to follow through, with a book ready to send out if the editor or agent requests the full.

In creating your pitch, think about the premise of your story, the themes and the hook. Write them down, and play with them until you feel you have a handle on them. Also, if you have critique partners or beta readers, ask them what they think the premise and hook of your story is. Quite often you may be too close to easily see it, and someone else with more distance can help narrow things down.

A good way to approach things when you start to work with the rough notes you’ve got on premise, hook and theme is to look at the back page blurb of books that are similar to yours, or books whose blurb really jumped out at you. Study how they are put together, what you like, what you don’t like, and start to put something unique together for your story.

Be able to succinctly describe who your characters are and have a short punchy explanation of their goals, motivations and conflicts (internal and external).Try to include the emotional highs, lows and major plot points. It might look like this:

“When (hero/heroine), a (role) who (empathy/setup) is (opportunity), she/he decides to (new situation/preliminary goal). But when (change of plans)she/he now must (outer motivation/primary goal) by (hero’s plan/deadline) as well as (secondary goal) in spite of the fact that (outer conflict).”

Don’t forget: You are the expert on your story. If you love it, go in confident that you will get your goal, a request for submission of part of your story.

The Pitch Process

RWA’s mission is to promote excellence in romantic fiction, to help aspiring writers become published and published authors to maintain and establish their careers, and to provide continuing support for romance writers – whatever their genre – within the romance publishing industry.

One of the ways it achieves this mission is through the annual conference and the opportunity for its delegates to pitch to an editor or agent.

Before the Conference

You need to be registered for the core conference to be eligible for the opportunity to pitch your story, face to face with one of the business representatives, editors, and agents attending.

Make sure you understand the language of publishers/editors/agents before you begin. Knowing where your story belongs is crucial when you start looking at who to target. Is it a romance or is it a story with romantic elements? Stories suitable for one of Harlequin Mills & Boon’s category lines is unlikely to be of interest to someone looking for commercial women’s fiction. Don’t waste your time or theirs pitching to the wrong publishing house representative.

You will be asked to nominate your preferred option when pitching opens. To help you make this decision, read all the information on the agents / editors / publishers attending the conference included in this month’s Heart’s Talk.

Before you Register to Pitch

Read all of the information about pitch takers very carefully. You may want to supplement this with further research. We are giving you the opportunity to do your research by releasing the information on agents / editors / publishers taking pitches.

After the Conference

Make good on your promises. Get that submission in as soon as you go home. RWA is ready to encourage you, waiting to hear your call story, for your dream to come true.

Good Luck!

Michelle Diener

Pitch Coordinator

RWA Conference Team Fremantle 2020