So this week is the National Romance Writers of America conference. This year it’s being held in Orlando (after some major scrambling when Nashville flooded). Romance writers, editors, agents and aspiring writers will converge to meet and mingle and talk about all things romance in the publishing industry.

And I won’t be there. 🙁

In fact, this is such a large conference, I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to manage the crazy running around that authors do at these types of events. My mobility has become problematic. I’m having trouble moving around even small venues these days. I know I’m not the only disabled author. As a matter of fact, I’m surprised at the number of prolific authors with disabilities. Which means, chances are, they’re not attending the conference either.

And let’s not limit this to disabled authors. There are many romance authors who just don’t have the ready cash to shell out for this type of event. TRUST me when I say … these things ain’t cheap!

Does this put us at a disadvantage?

I’m not sure, but part of me worries it does. I belong to several online chapters and they’re all having their general meetings along with the RWA general meeting. There is a PAN tract for published authors that I understand is outstanding. Now, I know, you’re going to tell me I can order the disks and listen to everything on CD. But there are a couple of problems with that, not the least of which I’m not really interested in listening to workshops on tape. What I like is the interaction that happens in the classroom setting. (Yes, that’s totally the teacher in me.) I have no doubt I’d go crazy because I’d like to ask a question but I can’t.

But even IF I did do that, I’m gleaning the wisdom of others, but I sure as heck won’t be sitting at the bar shooting the breeze and rubbing elbows with friends and/or one of my favorite authors. I won’t be bumping into an editor or an agent just “to get to know them”. I won’t be hooking up with like minded authors and get invited to be part of a great new anthology. Nope. Zip. Zero. Zilch. None of that is available to me. Which then makes me ask again, does that put me behind the eight ball? Do I have to work harder because I can’t schmooze with the rest of the romance writing world?

I don’t know the answer to this. I’m wondering what you’re thinking. I’m sure there are LOTS of romance authors out there who aren’t even members of RWA. There’s no law against it. But do you think sometimes you may be missing out? Let me know how you feel.

And if you’re a reader, have you ever attended a reader/writer conference like Ellora Cave’s Romanticon? Did you ever find a new-to-you author because you had a chance to meet them in person and just had to have their books?

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