Welcome guest Cathy Shouse today with a new and more affordable look at conferences--and weddings!
There’s been some buzz about the Romance Writers of America national conference that happened in California a few weeks ago. Frankly, attending that event wasn’t in my budget this year. So I’ve tried to pull up my big girl panties, smile, and pretend I’m not green with envy.
Friday’s USA Today report that the average couple spends $26,989 on their wedding jolted me out of my funk. I was reminded of my own modest nuptials that proved wedded bliss can be achieved in a million different ways. And, likewise, so can a writing education.
My husband and I were married in a cute little, unheated wooden chapel in a suburb of Indianapolis on a mild Indiana day in April. Our parents were in attendance, as well as my best friend, a photographer. His brother, a preacher, performed the ceremony. Our largest expense was our rings for several hundred dollars, and the bouquet, which came from one of the top florists in the city. But what was most unusual of all? I borrowed a wedding dress.
Before you think I’m totally unsentimental and cheap, hear me out. I had planned to buy a dress (although I wasn’t going to spend the average price, which today is $1,300). Then a close friend offered me her tea-length wedding dress, kind of as a joke. The idea grew on us. And when I tried on the lacey, white, garment trimmed in ribbon, with its sexy, jagged hemline, we both knew it was perfect.
My parents threw a party for us at their home a few days after the wedding. Today’s average reception is a whopping $11,599! We loved all of the decisions we made.
Getting back to writing, it’s never been easier to replicate the advantages of a writing conference. And you can avoid the Dirty Little Secret some people have, whether getting married or going to a conference: credit card debt.
Let me say that I totally get that sometimes, “you just have to be there,” and I hope to go to RWA conference in Georgia in 2013. However, if I’m not able to, I have a strategy.
1. Get to a regional RWA conference in my area at least every two years. (Waving to my friends at the Spring Fling by RWA Chicago North)
2. Have an Online presence and learn from writers in my genre and agents I’m targeting by following their blogs and tweets
3. Follow publishers on their Websites, listen to podcasts by agents, and enter their contests
4. Listen to conference tapes, either purchased, or borrowed from my RWA chapter
5. Attend as many book signings in my region as possible and pick the authors’ brains to learn more about the industry
In fact, you can get started today, with a free Online conference called
Cathy Shouse is a journalist who writes heart-warming romances and lives in the Midwest with her husband and two teens. Her Website is www.cathyshouse.com