Last month, five of the Gem State Writers joined over 2,000 writers and publishing professionals at the 31st annual Romance Writers of America® National Conference in New York City.
If you’re not an RWA member, you might be surprised to learn that only two of those GSW members who attended write straight romance. The others write mysteries, thrillers, and mainstream fiction. So why fly across the continent to attend a romance writers’ conference?
Here are just a few of the reasons writers of all genres join RWA:
There’s Power in Numbers. With 10,000 active members worldwide, RWA is large enough to effectively advocate with publishers and booksellers on behalf of all authors. RWA has the resources to keep track of industry trends and announcements, and advise its members of the implications for authors.
A Career Plan. RWA offers a clear career path for aspiring authors. Members are encouraged to meet certain goals, which will lead them toward a successful career as a published author. Whether you’re striving to finish that first manuscript or to sell that first novel, each step along the way is supported and applauded by fellow members.
Quality Educational Opportunities. Over one hundred workshops were presented at this year’s RWA National Conference. Many covered topics of interest to all writers such as visual brainstorming, writing dialogue, body language, social media, understanding contracts, and marketing tips.
But RWA does not limit itself to workshops at conference once a year. Many local chapters offer a free workshop to members each month, periodic online classes, regional conferences, and writers’ retreats.
Local Chapters and Special Interest Chapters: RWA has more than 145 chapters world-wide. If you are not in a major metropolitan area, RWA may be the only national writers group with a chapter near you. Even in a truly remote location, you can always benefit from one of RWA’s online-only or special interest chapters.
The RWA special interest chapters focus on certain sub-genres such as mystery suspense, inspirational, paranormal, historical, or Young Adult or Women’s Fiction. These chapters are particularly popular with writers who don’t write romance.
Networking: RWA provides opportunities for writers to get out of the slush pile and meet legitimate editors and agents in person. But perhaps the single most important service RWA provides for its members is the opportunity to meet other writers who are working toward the same goal. Writing is often a solitary endeavor and no resource is more valuable than the support system that forms when writers come together.
I would love to hear your opinions on this topic. Are you a member of RWA? Why or why not?