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Wet Noodle Posse | Blog

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Conference Activities for Non-Joiners, Newbies, and Self-Promoters – Esri Rose

RWA’s annual National Conference is an opportunity to network, learn and promote. But what if you’re brand-new to the conference, don’t belong to any local chapters, or are a disorganized flake who didn’t get her act together beforehand? I’ve been all three and continue to be two (that’s easy to figure out, isn’t it?). Membership in the Wet Noodle Posse usually saves me from having to entertain myself at conferences, but I’m here to tell you that you can be the howlingest of lone wolves and still get your game on in San Francisco. Here’s how.

Become a Member of the Press

All you need to get people to talk to you are a blog or online photo account like Flickr, a notebook and/or digital video camera (best), and bits of paper telling people where they can see their photos and quotes after the conference.

“Hi, I’m Amanda Roofus of, and today I’m asking, What kind of underwear do your book heroes wear? Boxers, briefs, a hybrid, or commando? Patterned or white? Silk or cotton? Do you have an upcoming book I can tell readers about? Great. Here’s a card with my site’s web address. Make sure to check in after [or during] the conference.”

You also can ask serious questions, like: What’s the best money you’ve spent on promotion? The worst?

Advertise Your Status

There’s still time to order a HELP! I’m Shiny New. Could I maybe sit with you? button from CafePress (I made them just for you, with no mark-up). Romance writers are generally very kind and mentor-oriented, so give them a chance to help you. Even more, they love to be kind to potential readers, so wear something that lets them know whether you’re into fantasy, historical, inspirational, or whatever.

You can use this same technique to hook up with people who share your non-book hobbies. If you’re a knitter, Corgi-breeder, SCA member or whatever, wear a little flair that lets other members of your tribe find you. The more interests you share, the more fun you'll have!

Organize Something

There is a bulletin board at Conference. Before you go, find something fun to do in San Francisco, whether it’s karaoke, a meal at a quirky restaurant, some kind of tour, or a drag show. Make sure it has a reasonable price point, doesn’t need reservations, is in a safe area, doesn’t conflict with some huge Conference event, and is easy to get to. Now put up an eye-catching sign on that bulletin board. Free Friday Afternoon? Call Amanda Roofus at Room 123 if you want to have High Tea at Blah-Blah historic house. If you get a mob, close registration after the first 20 people and take down the sign. If no one calls, no one but you will know. If only one person comes, you’ll have made a really close friend. And it doesn’t matter if some chapter is doing the same thing. You might get even more people for something like that, because they missed out on a known quantity. Take pictures and blog about it afterwards. Hand out paper bits with your URL.

Offer to Volunteer

Yes, there are official volunteers, but there is always more work. Find yourself a staff member and say, “This is my very first conference, I’m at kind of a loose end, and I’m wondering if you need any help with anything.” If the first person says, “No” and doesn’t give you someone else to contact, ask someone doing something completely different, or locate a coordinator you can speak to. Make sure you’re dressed nicely when you ask, so if they have a sudden moderator hole they need to fill, they can slot you in. If you have a car, make sure to mention that. You can also try this with chapter people, especially if you find someone in a chapter that’s local to you. It's a good way to find out if you want to join them.

Compliment an Author

Especially a newish author, and especially just before mealtimes. “OMG, you’re Esri Rose! This is my first romance conference, but I read your elf romance and just wanted to tell you how much I adored it. Hey, is there a food court around here? I am so ignorant of how this all works.” (Alternatively: “Are tables reserved, or do I just sit anywhere?) This is guaranteed to get you an invitation to join the author for a meal.

Esri Rose will be signing copies of Bound to Love Her at the RWA Readers for Life literacy signing Wednesday evening. Stop by and get an button!

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At 11:59 AM, Blogger Mo H said...

I love the pin. Your suggestions are great! I bet more than a few readers will use your advice and walk up to you in SF, tell you they loved your elf book, and ask about the foodcourt!

At 12:03 PM, Blogger Esri Rose said...

That would make me so happy, I'd squeal. Now I just have to be prepared for the underwear question. As an elf, Galan doesn't wear any. ;o

At 2:26 PM, Blogger Diane Gaston said...

I just found Bound to Love Her in my grocery store! To me, having a book sold in one's grocery store is the very height of success.

Luckily it was at the check out aisle and two teenage girls were manning the cash register and bagging. So I said, "Do you like to read Romance because my friend's book is here." (picture me showing book) "It's about elves. Not little elves. Hunky elves."
Cashier squeals. "You know the author?" (I didn't tell her I also knew Nora Roberts, Gaelen Foley, and Julia Quinn whose books were also at checkout)"I'll have to buy that one."

At 2:31 PM, Blogger Esri Rose said...

Eee! Was it King Soopers? Joe found it at King Soopers here. And this weekend, I found it in our library on the new-fiction shelf and stuck a bookmark in it.

At 2:40 PM, Blogger Prisakiss said...

Esri, super idea with the pin. I love it!!!

Okay, I've tried volunteering and you're right, great way to get involved and meet folks. But your first idea, gosh, do I have the panache to pull it off? I don't know, but it would be fun to try.

Posting a sign on the bulletin board is great! I hope some folks give these a try and get back to us to let us know how it goes.

And please, folks, if you see someone with a Posse shirt or with Wet Noodle Posse indicated on their name badge (I put it on mine anyway), stop and say hello.

I'm looking forward to meeting some on-line buddies "live".

Thanks for the tips, Esri. Can't wait to see ya in SF!

At 2:42 PM, Blogger Prisakiss said...

I neglected to mention, I'm the blogger dork who didn't make it back to the internet after work yesterday, so I didn't post my blog.

It's written, and will be posted at the same time as the question and answer session on Friday.

Now you can live in anticipation for the rest of the week, waiting for my wardrobe pointers (if you saw my regular, "mom" attire, you'd be laughing now). :-)

At 7:16 PM, Blogger Louisa Cornell said...

Can't wait Priss!! I need all the wardrobe help I can get!

Great tips, Esri, and I LOVE the pin. I can't wait to see you at the book signing. Save me a button please!!! I have held off buying your book because I wanted to get it at the Literacy Signing so you can sign it. Do you have any idea how hard it is to get me to hold off buying a book I REALLY want to read?????

At 9:36 AM, Blogger Esri Rose said...

Louisa: You're so sweet! Soon...soon we will be together. (laughs maniacally)

I should do that thing where I send a signed bookplate in an SASE. Make up something arty.

At 11:47 AM, Blogger Theresa Ragan said...

Wonderful advice and PIN, Esri! Sorry I didn't make here yesterday. What fun! I can't wait to read your book. I plan to get to it before S.F.!

At 2:45 PM, Blogger janegeorge said...

Hope you're bringing quite a few books because I, too, am coming elf hunting at the Literacy signing. :-)

A good thing to invite others to do would be to take a cable car up to The Top of the Mark lounge in the Mark Hopkins Hotel atop Nob Hill, for a nightcap. It's a lovely spot with nightly jazz and an incredible view. I think cable cars stop running at midnight, so cab it back.

At 9:02 AM, Blogger Esri Rose said...

Ooh, Jane, I'm up for the cable car thingie. That sounds really wonderful!

I have 20 rather nice ElvesAmongUs buttons for my first 20 gals at the signing. Of course, if people just wander by and take one, I'm not going to smack their hands.


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