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Frequently Asked Questions

Conference Attendance

Who can attend the RWA conference?

Is there a partial fee if I want to attend only part of the conference? Or is there a special guest fee if I want to bring my spouse or a friend who’s coming just to keep me company?

Should I attend the conference if I am unpublished?

Is this conference geared towards readers as well as writers?

What if at the last minute I find I can’t make the conference? Can I get a refund of my registration fee?

 

Registration

When does registration for conference open?

Can I make installment payments on my registration?

Can I purchase a day pass to the conference?

When will the pricing for conference be posted?

 

Hotel/Travel

How can I find a roommate?

How do I reserve a suite/room at the conference hotel?

If I’m going to be sharing a room, how can we split the bill?

How will I know that my reservation is all set?

If there is a problem with my hotel accommodation when I arrive, will RWA help me?

My roommate got sick/canceled at the last minute! What do I do? 

 

Meals/Food

I have a food allergy.  What do I need to do?

 

Goody Room

When is the Goody Room open?

What is allowed in the Goody Room?

Who can place items in the Goody Room?

What happens to items that are left in the Goody Room at the end of conference? 

 

Literacy Autographing

Is there a fee to attend the Literacy Autographing?

Can I bring books from home to get signed by my favorite authors?

How early should I arrive?

Will there be long lines at the author tables?

What type of payment do you accept?

How will I know what books my favorite author will be signing? What if I already own a copy of the book? 

 

Editors & Agents

How many appointments are available? Will I be certain to meet with my first choice?

Can I request an appointment for a book I am just starting/still working on, so I can get an idea if this is a project that would sell before I finish it?

What do I do if I have requested an appointment, and then decide that I don’t want it?

Will I be able to sign up for any appointments when I arrive at the conference?

Can I talk to an editor or agent, even if I don’t have any appointment, maybe if I see them at a meal or pass them in the hall?

Should I bring my manuscript, in case an editor or agent wants to see it?

How do I prepare for an appointment?

 

Workshops—Attending

How will I know what workshops apply to me and which I should attend?

What do I do if there are two workshops at the same time that I want to attend?

What if I go to a workshop that I think is less than helpful or downright bad?

Can you give me a list of speakers who applied to give workshops, so that I can contact them for my chapter conference? 

 

Workshops—Presenting

If I speak on a panel, do I get fully comped on the registration fee?

Why do the applications have to be in so early?

Can unpublished authors give workshops?

Will I be overlooked to present a workshop if a Board member (who attends RWA conferences fully comped) submits one on the same subject? 

 

Miscellaneous

What should I wear to the conference?

I’ve heard a lot of people talking about volunteering at the conference, but I’ve never done anything like that before. What can I do?

How do I sign up to volunteer?

What if I sign up to volunteer, and I find out I have a schedule conflict, like an editor/agent appointment at the same time I’m supposed to help out somewhere?

Will I get a reduced conference fee if I volunteer?

I hear it’s quiet on Friday night. What’s happening then?

Why should I give up a day of sight-seeing to attend the Annual General Meeting?

Do I need business cards, even if I’m not published?

What are some other things that I should think about bringing with me?  

 

Location-Specific Questions

What amenities are available at the Conference hotel?

What airport is closest to the Conference site?

Is there a shuttle service available between the airport and the hotel?

I'm driving to the Conference. Does the hotel have parking and how much does it cost?

 

 

Conference Attendance

Who can attend the RWA conference?

Anyone can attend the RWA national conference, though RWA members pay a reduced registration fee.

Is there a partial fee if I want to attend only part of the conference? Or is there a special guest fee if I want to bring my spouse or a friend who’s coming just to keep me company?

There are no "partial" conference fees. RWA members must pay the full conference fee in order to attend any part of the conference. There are guest packages available for meals only and for attendance to the awards ceremony only. These are available to non-RWA member guests.

Should I attend the conference if I am unpublished?

Of course! While there are special workshops that only members of the Published Authors Network (PAN) may attend, most workshops are geared to authors at every stage of their writing careers. It is also a wonderful opportunity to "network" with other writers — chat about writing, share writing woes, exchange good information. If you have never attended a conference, be warned that the RWA Conference is very big and overwhelming. You might want to spend some time on your first day at conference making a schedule of events you don’t want to miss, such as special workshops and your agent/editor appointments.

Is this conference geared towards readers as well as writers?

RWA’s primary goal is to advance the professional interests of career-focused romance writers through networking and advocacy, and the conference is developed with that in mind. If meeting your favorite authors is your biggest interest, you are most welcome to attend the "Readers for Life" Literacy Autographing on Wednesday night, which features hundreds of authors and is open to the public. You will not have to pay the conference fee to attend the book signing (though conference registration is required for a signing author).

What if at the last minute I find I can’t make the conference? Can I get a refund of my registration fee?

Requests for refunds made by the dates on the registration forms will be granted, minus a cancellation fee.

 

Registration

 When does registration open?

Registration will open in February 7, 2017.

Can I make installment payments on my registration?

No, payment in full must be made to confirm your conference registration.

Can I purchase a day pass to the conference?

No, RWA does not offer day passes.

When will the pricing for the conference be posted?

The pricing for the conference is voted on by the Board at the November board meeting. Pricing information is available at https://www.rwa.org/page/registration.

 

Hotel/Travel

How can I find a roommate?

RWA provides a roommate forum so you can connect with other attendees who are in need of a roommate.  Click this link to take you to our roommate forum:  2017 Roommate Forum

How do I reserve a suite/room at the conference hotel?

To reserve a room in the conference hotel at the special conference price, you must first be registered for the conference. The conference registration confirmation e-mail will contain a link that you will use to make your hotel reservation. You will not be able to make a reservation without first registering for the conference.  The conference hotel will only accept reservations made online.

If you would like to reserve a suite, please email rwa@experient-inc.com.

If I’m going to be sharing a room, how can we split the bill?

One of you will need to make the reservation, and roommates must be listed. When you check in, you can each give a credit card to the reception desk, and they will be able to split the bill accordingly.

How will I know that my reservation is all set?

You should receive a confirmation e-mail directly from the hotel to let you know that your reservation is made and ready, all your roommates are listed, etc. If you don’t get it quickly or if you have any questions, please e-mail rwa@experient-inc.com or call 800-967-8852 (US Only). Your hotel reservation is not confirmed if you do not receive a confirmation e-mail.

If there is a problem with my hotel accommodation when I arrive, will RWA help me?

All accommodation issues are handled directly by the hotel staff. Aside from reserving a block of rooms big enough for the projected number of attendees, unfortunately RWA does not have the authority to do anything about correcting errors made in the type, size, or location of your room. If the desk clerk is unable to help you, ask to speak to a manager. With so many people arriving at the same time, there may be an occasional mix-up, but the staff at the hotel is there to serve its customers.

My roommate got sick/canceled at the last minute! What do I do?

If you get into this unfortunate situation, your best options are to find some friends who might be able to squeeze you into their room, thus reducing their per-night hotel cost. Or check out the Roommate Forum to see if there is anyone else who might have had the same problem, or who decided to go at the last minute, who will share the room with you.

 

Meals/Food

I have a food allergy.  What do I need to do?

The only food allergies that can be catered to are the ones that you can select during the registration process (vegetarian, vegan, or diabetic).  All meals will have gluten-free options.

 

Goody Room

When is the Goody Room open?

Please check the schedule for Goody Room times.

What is allowed in the Goody Room?

RWA allows publishers and attendees to provide promotional items and/or books for conference attendees in the Goody Room. The rules for the Goody Room have been updated as follows:

  • Books must have a 2016 or 2017 copyright date and be romance novels.
  • All items must be in a container no larger than 8.5” w x 12” l x 6” h.
  • Excess items are not allowed to be stored in the Goody Room.
  • Any items not in a container will be discarded.
  • Signs or displays that do not fit within the container will not be allowed.
  • Items left over at the end of conference will be discarded.

If you have questions regarding the Goody Room, please e-mail megan.sloan@rwa.org.

Who can place items in the Goody Room?

Any registered attendee can place promotional items in the Goody Room.

What happens to items that are left in the Goody Room at the end of conference?

Items that are leftover at the end of conference are disposed of.  Please pick up your remaining items at the end of conference to keep them from being disposed of.

 

Literacy Autographing

Is there a fee to attend the Literacy Autographing?

No, there is not a fee to attend the Literacy Autographing.

Can I bring books from home to get signed by my favorite authors?

No, books from home are not allowed into the event as the autographing is to raise money for charity.

How early should I arrive?

The doors open at 3:00 p.m., and we suggest arriving ahead of that time if you are planning to see several high-demand authors.

Will there be long lines at the author tables?

Yes, there will be long lines for high-demand authors. 

What type of payment do you accept?

We accept credit/debit cards, cash and checks.

How will I know what books my favorite author will be signing? 

A list of signing authors is posted on our website a month in advance of the signing.

 

Editors & Agents

How many appointments are available?

Editor and agent appointments are very limited. Individual appointments are reserved first for current year Golden Heart and RITA finalists.

Can I request an appointment for a book I am just starting/still working on, so I can get an idea if this is a project that would sell before I finish it?

You must have a completed manuscript in order to request an editor/agent appointment. Due to the limited slots available, not to mention the limits on their time, it is important that the editors and agents connect with writers with a project that is ready for them to review.

What do I do if I have requested an appointment, and then decide that I don’t want it?

Appointments can be canceled up to 48 hours before, and the appointment will be reassigned to someone else. If you change your mind prior to the conference, contact the RWA office. If you find you have an appointment you don’t want once you have arrived at the conference, visit the event area the morning of the appointments.

Will I be able to sign up for any appointments when I arrive at the conference?

There will be a limited number of appointments available on-site, mainly those who were assigned to someone who decided afterwards they did not wish to take it. Appointments will be offered on a first come, first served basis the morning of the appointments.

Can I talk to an editor or agent, even if I don’t have any appointment, maybe if I see them at a meal or pass them in the hall?

Editors and agents attend the RWA Conference for several reasons, though mainly to do business! They want to meet with each other, meet with their clients who are otherwise spread all over the country — or the world — and look for new authors/clients. It’s okay to speak to them at workshops and meals, but you should never intrude if an editor or agent is clearly having a private conversation with someone. Passing in the hall or sharing a line is probably not an appropriate time to pitch a book.

Should I bring my manuscript, in case an editor or agent wants to see it?

You should not bring a manuscript with you in the hopes of passing it on to an editor or agent. They will not want to take it from you at that time. If they picked up full manuscripts from authors at conference, they would need a second or third suitcase just to get them all home. If an editor or agent wishes to see your book, they will most likely give you a business card and direct you to send it to them at their office, after the conference.

How do I prepare for an appointment?

First of all, do it well ahead of time. Jot down the highlights of your characters, plot, conflict, and resolution. Then practice so you’re well-versed in your pitch by the time you sit down in front of the agent or editor. You might also prepare a few notes about other projects you’ve done or you’re planning, and why you want to work with this agency or publisher.

 

Workshops—Attending

How will I know what workshops apply to me and which I should attend?

A listing of workshops will be posted on the RWA site several months prior to the conference. When you pick up your registration materials at the conference, you will receive a tote bag full of information, including a complete conference and workshop schedule.

What do I do if there are two workshops at the same time that I want to attend?

This happens to everyone. The good news is that there are recordings of many of the workshops available, in case there was one you just loved, or there are two that you’d like to attend being given at the same time. If you have to make a choice, you might want to examine the descriptions to see if one sounds as though it might be more "hands-on," in which case you could attend that one and buy the tape of the other. Or, you can attend one and ask a friend to attend the other, and exchange notes. Or, you can ask to see if anyone has ever attended a workshop by either of those speakers and can help you decide which would be more valuable to you.

What if I go to a workshop that I think is less than helpful or downright bad?

Contact workshops@rwa.org and give them that information. They always want to know what topics and speakers are effective and which are not, for future planning.

Can you give me a list of speakers who applied to give workshops, so that I can contact them for my chapter conference?

The best way to get this kind of information would be to put out a call on the RWA links for speaker volunteers or to reach out to the speaker through their website.

 

Workshops—Presenting

If I speak on a panel, do I get fully comped on the registration fee?

The speakers do not get a completely comped registration. They receive a waiver, which covers registration fees other than food costs. If you share speaking duties with others, you will get a percentage of the full waiver given all speakers. The number of panelists is divided into the waiver and that’s what each panelist will receive. Only as a solo workshop presenter do you receive the full waiver.

Why do the applications have to be in so early?

Because there are many steps to be completed so the Workshop Committee can put together a well-rounded schedule for the conference.

Can unpublished authors give workshops?

Absolutely.

Will I be overlooked to present a workshop if a board member (who attends RWA conferences fully comped) submits one on the same subject?

No. Just because the submitting person is a board member does not automatically guarantee them a workshop slot. Partisanship is not a part of this process. The committee wants to present the best speakers and offer the most informative workshops possible. Who the speaker is, how many books they’ve sold, or if they sit on the RWA Board does not play into the selection process. The ability to give a workshop that will benefit the attendees is considered first and foremost.

 

Miscellaneous

What should I wear to the conference?

The first thing to think about is being comfortable. Comfortable shoes are a must; the hotel is big and the function space is spread out over a rather large area to provide enough room for upwards of 2,000 people.

During conference hours, the common phrase for attire is "business casual." Nice slacks or skirts, sweaters or blouses, something a little dressier like a suit for an editor/agent appointment. The summer air conditioning can seem a little cool to some people, so layering with a sweater or jacket might be a good idea. You will also have time after hours for leisure or sight-seeing, so you might want to bring jeans, tees, and sneakers or sandals, etc., for fun time.

I’ve heard a lot of people talking about volunteering at the conference, but I’ve never done anything like that before. What can I do?

Running a conference like this is an enormous task, and involves a lot of work by a lot of people. Even if you’ve never volunteered for anything, your help is requested and welcomed. There are many, many jobs where a willingness to help is all that is required. Complete the volunteer opportunities section of the conference registration form; volunteers will be contacted before the conference with their duties.

How do I sign up to volunteer?

You can sign up to volunteer online when you register for conference.

What if I sign up to volunteer, and I find out I have a schedule conflict?

If this happens, you should check in with the staff member in charge of the area you were assigned as soon as possible, so they can reschedule or replace you.

Will I get a reduced conference fee if I volunteer?

Only workshop presenters and the RWA Board of Directors are given reduced or waived conference fees. Volunteers are given the opportunity to be entered into daily drawings for free conference registrations.

I hear it’s quiet on Friday night. What’s happening then?

This is a night when many of the publishers and agencies hold big parties for their authors, as it’s one of the few occasions when they’re all together at the same time. This is a great time to plan some sight-seeing or a big night out at a local hot-spot. Or, if you’d rather not leave the hotel, RWA offers a great line-up of Friday night workshops.

Why should I give up a day of sight-seeing to attend the Annual General Meeting? 

The Annual General Meeting (AGM) is the one time each year when the General membership to hear from their Board of Directors and learn about the state of the association. It is important and necessary that every member be a part of this process and takes an active interest in the association. The AGM is your opportunity to make your voice heard.

Do I need business cards, even if I’m not published?

Of course you don’t need them, but you will find a business card is a handy way to exchange information with people. They’re not very expensive to buy; even cheaper to make.

Another great idea if you’re making your own is to print a 25-words-or-less blurb about your book on the back, in the event you're asked by an editor/agent/new friend in the elevator/restroom line what you're writing.

If you exchange business cards with someone else, jot a few notes on the back of theirs to remind you of meeting them. Two weeks after the conference, it might be hard to remember the specifics on the thirty cards in your purse or wallet.

What are some other things that I should think about bringing with me? 

  • A sweater or jacket, as the hotel and function rooms can be a little cool for some people
  • Safety pins, needle and thread for clothing emergencies
  • Comfortable shoes. You’ll be walking a lot; don’t let vanity overrule good sense.
  • Lambs wool pads and bandages for blisters (if you ignore the above)
  • Business cards
  • Work-out gear or swim-suits, if you want to take advantage of the hotel gym or pool
  • Extra pantyhose
  • Aspirin/Tylenol
  • Casual clothes for hanging around the room chatting after activities are over or sightseeing
  • Clothes with pockets for easy access to business cards, room key, and pens
  • A soft-sided/fold-up suit-case for all the souvenirs, goodies, giveaways, and books you bought that will not fit in the suitcase that was already packed to the rim when you left home. (The hotel may also have a shipping office or know of one near-by, in case you don’t want to lug all that stuff onto a plane.)

 

Location-Specific Questions

What amenities are available at the Conference hotel?

Visit the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort to see what's available.

What airport is closest to the Conference site?

The Orlando International Airport.

Is there a shuttle service available between the airport and the hotel?

No. You will need to arrange your own transportation to/from the airport/hotel. More information is available on the hotel's website.

I'm driving to the conference. Does the hotel have parking and how much does it cost?

Self-parking is $20.00 plus tax daily and valet is $28.00 plus tax daily.  For more information, please visit the hotel's website.