In 2004, I attended RWA in Dallas. I'd recently become a long distance member of the SARAs (San Antonio Romance Authors) and I was eager and nervous to meet my "online only" friends face to face. The connections I formed there and the friendships I made that conference not only have endured to this day but are completely 100% the reason why our company in the very beginning was so well supported. My friends from SARA promoted the heck out of TWRP in the early days and wrote for us so we would have quality inventory. To this day, if I need something I can shoot out an email to those ladies and they will help me.
But friendships aren't the only reason to attend a conference. It's a gift to yourself as a writer. Its time away from home and family that allows you to focus solely on you and your craft. Everyone needs that no matter what you write. No matter how well published you are, there are always tidbits to pick up in workshops or items to learn from keynote speakers. There's also the casual meets with editors and agents that can change your entire career.
Nothing says you have to do the big conferences; there are plenty of smaller chapter conferences across the country and around the world. But do yourself a favor and get to at least one this year. You won't regret it.
Rhonda Penders, Editor-in-Chief