Important information about the RWA conference
It's my first conference
Registering and paying:
Pitching at conference
Transport, accommodation and venue
Contact and Connect
RWA members (writers and book lovers just like you) work all year to make your conference possible. Using volunteers rather than the services of professional event management helps RWA keep conference prices reasonable. The event allows delegates to share information, network and learn, and is open to non-members of Romance Writers of Australia Inc.
RWA values the participation of members and guests and wants all delegates to have an enjoyable and fulfilling experience. In return, RWA asks that delegates be considerate of other delegates and organisers.
Should you have questions, feedback, concerns or complaints, we ask that you communicate directly with official event organisers (in the pink hats) as the many other volunteer helpers (often husbands, wives, sisters and friends of RWA members) will not understand or be in a position to resolve your issue.
Mobile phones must be set to ‘silent’ during all conference sessions.
Volunteering - Do you want to be a volunteer helper but don't want to miss out on sessions etc?
We welcome volunteers. But we don't want our volunteers missing too much conference, which is why we are planning a roster system to spread the load. If you can spare an hour at any time during the conference weekend, please let us know.
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I'm new to RWA and haven't been to a conference before. What if I don’t know anyone?
There is an orientation program for first-time conference delegates where you'll find out how the conference runs, as well as meet fellow first-timers. Look for details in Hearts Talk and on the conference Extras page (around May).
As a beginner, won't the workshops be over my head?
There will be sessions for delegates at all stages of writing/learning, from beginners through to advanced. Look for the target audience in the description of each breakout session.
Is it okay to approach published authors to sign a book during conference?
Published authors love signing books for their readers. Breaks between sessions are an ideal opportunity (although best not to monopolise an author's entire break). Just remember that authors also need to eat and visit the bathroom. They may even have to prepare for an upcoming presentation.
That said, be aware that most authors attending our conference are delegates just like you. They want to meet fellow writers, to talk writing and books and discuss the sessions they've attended. So if you're standing beside a favourite author in the coffee queue don't be too intimidated to chat.
What are the Breakout Sessions?
On Saturday and Sunday, delegates ‘break out’ to attend their choice from the programmed workshops, talks and panels. Some are craft related, some are about the publishing industry, some are genre-specific, and some tackle the complexities of a writer's life. Take note of the blurbs linked from the conference page program or use the handy printed insert from your March Hearts Talk. When registering you will nominate your first and second choices from each breakout session.
Does that mean I mightn't get my first choice?
There will be a cap on attendance at sessions, dictated by the capacity of the breakout room. In most cases that won't be reached but there is a chance that popular sessions could reach capacity. You'll be allocated your second choice in this case.
What else is on the program for Saturday and Sunday?
As well as the breakouts, there are plenary sessions for everyone at the start and end of each day. These include keynote speeches and panels of industry professionals and authors addressing subjects of broad appeal.
What is the Core conference?
The Core conference refers to the Saturday and Sunday part of the program.
Where do I find my Registration ID number?
What is the D.I.Y Registration Update process and what do I need to know?
- Go to RWA login page http://www.romanceaustralia.com/login.html
- Log in! (If you do not have a login, you will find instructions on the page.)
- Click on the link on the side menu - ‘Update Conference Registration’.
- Make your changes, check carefully, then click ‘SAVE’ when done.
If your change includes adding dinner or cocktail party quests, see instructions above.
Note: access to this service will be removed on June 30. No more changes can be applied to individual registrations after that.
** Service open to RWA members only
Can I register on-line or do I need to fill in the form that came with Hearts Talk?
On-line registration is easier for you and easiest for our registrar. We'd love everyone to use that system. The hard-copy form is provided for those RWA members who don't have internet access or who wish to take up the split payment credit card option. It is possible to use the on-line registration system without using Pay Pal. Just follow the payment prompts towards the end of the on-line registration.
If I register on-line, how will I pay?
At the end of the registration process you choose to either pay immediately with PayPal or you print and complete the Payment Advice Slip to mail with your cheque, money order or credit card details.
Will I get a receipt when I pay?
Yes. Receipts will be issued on payment as follows:
But I need a Tax Invoice as well as a receipt.
And you will get one. Following your registration, you will receive an email confirming your details. You will also received an auto-response re your payment (see above). Tax invoices are a manual process. As mentioned in your confirmation email, our hard-working volunteers will generate Tax Invoices as soon as humanly possible and forward. Your patience and understanding is appreciated.
I'm a conference presenter and have elected to deduct the speaker's fee from my registration. Can I do that on-line?
Yes please. After you've selected all the sessions and events you wish to attend, deduct your speaker's fee, as per your agreement. Direct any questions to the Conference Team.
I can't afford the whole conference registration. Can I attend the Friday workshop only?
Yes. Our registration system is set up so that you can register to attend Thursday only (Published Authors' Day) or Friday only (workshop), or Saturday/Sunday only. Choose which events you wish to attend during the registration process.
I'd like to attend Friday and Saturday. Can I do that instead of Saturday and Sunday?
Sorry, but we don't have single-day registration. Saturday and Sunday are a package deal.
I'm going to register for conference. Is the Awards Dinner included?
No. The awards dinner is not included. You must register separately. Tickets for members are $90 and for non-members and guests $110.
What meals are included in the registration price?
Lunch, morning and afternoon tea each day are included in your registration fee. It also includes the catered cocktail party on Friday evening. Note that this is a cocktail party with finger food, not a meal per se. You may need a snack beforehand or a light meal afterward.
Conference organisers have consulted with the hotel to provide morning/afternoon tea and lunch menus that cater for common food intolerances and allergies. Unfortunately, the costs and operational considerations limit our ability to accommodate all food intolerances and allergies. Nor will they allow us to cater for individual likes and dislikes. Any specific questions or concerns should be directed to the Conference Team prior to registering. You should nominate specific dietary requirements relating to food intolerance/allergy on the registration form when you register.
Can I bring my partner to the Awards Dinner?
Guest tickets for your partner or friend(s) may be purchased for both the Cocktail Party and Awards Dinner – AT THE TIME OF REGISTRATION (using the online or mail registration form.)
What name will be on my name tag?
During the registration process you will have an opportunity to nominate the name you would like to use during the conference. Please think carefully about this. Your preferred badge name will appear in an easy-to-read (large) font size.
What should I put on the second line (small font) of my name tag? Do you have any suggestions?
You might consider adding:
- your pseudonym (e.g. writing as BESS SELLER),
- the name of your RWA writers group (e.g. BREATHLESS IN THE BUSH),
- your publisher (e.g. HARLEQUIN DESIRE AUTHOR),
- your RWA committee or volunteer role (e.g. RWA WEBMISTRESS),
- your RWA team (e.g. TEAM HEARTS TALK) or you may simply leave it blank.
I sold my first book in early 2010 but didn't attend the Melbourne conference. Can I get my First Sale Ribbon this year?
Members are eligible to receive a First Sale Ribbon at the first conference they attend following the sale of their first novel (40,000+ words) to a commercial publisher. Check the box on the Conference Registration Form if you'd like to be presented with your ribbon.
The Thursday Published Authors' Day (A-Day) sounds interesting. How can I find out if I'm eligible?
You're eligible to attend if you are published in novel-length fiction (40,000+ words - not self or assisted published) with a commercial publisher. Any author who is a member of the RWA authors' loop or PAL newsletter list is eligible. If you're unsure about eligibility, please email our Published Author Liaison.
I'm afraid of missing out on a spot. Will registrations close early?
The RWA conference is growing in popularity every year. Our numbers are limited by the capacity of the hotel and thus capped. To avoid disappointment we recommend registering for the conference as soon as possible. We chose the venue this year to ensure we could cater for the number of delegates expected to attend. We have an online Conference Registrations Meter you can follow. Find it on the Conference 2012 website.
So there's no reason to register early?
There's no reason to rush your registration, but we offer a substantial discount for those registering before May 1, 2012. Also there are several sessions with limited spaces available which are likely to sell out quickly. Delegates will be assigned to sessions on a first-in basis.
But I can't afford to pay four months in advance...
RWA offers a delayed payment option (credit card payments only. Members with a total registration fee of $200 or more can register before May 1, 2012 and elect to pay by two instalments. You pay nothing until May 15 when your first instalment (half of the total registration fee) is charged to your credit card. The second instalment will be charged on July 15.
Available only to RWA members and to early bird payments by credit card and if the credit card expires during this time, you must inform us of the correct expiry date.
But I'm not a member.
One year's membership, including your joining fee, costs $92.50 and the benefits extend far beyond the conference. The choice is yours, but consider savings you are entitled to as a member on your registration fee and all the other benefits of membership you will receive throughout the year. So join now.
I've registered but I didn't print the Payment Advice Slip and now I can't find it...
You can download a Payment Advice Slip here.
Cancellation/refund policy - If I have to cancel after registration, will I lose my money?
If you cancel before July 8, you will be refunded all your registration fees less a $40 administration fee. A 50% refund will apply if the cancellation is received before July 31. No refunds will be considered for cancellations received after July 31.
More information will be available closer to conference time, but for those arriving early, there will be Bonus Workshops on Thursday and Friday.
Will there be a booksigning at this year's conference? I'd love to have books autographed by the featured speakers.
We are still finalising details for the booksigning. Check the Extras page for updates closer to the conference.
There is a conference bookstore on-site?
Yes. This year we have Rosemary's Romance Books providing a great supply of fiction from local and featured speakers plus reference and how-to titles.
Is there anything else I need to budget for?
If you're staying in the conference hotel you need to arrange for breakfasts. A full buffet breakfast is served in the Bazaar Restaurant on Level 1 each day. And, depending on when you're arriving, you might need to budget for dinner on Thursday and (possibly) Friday night. We also conduct several raffles with tempting prizes. In the past these have included iPads, Notebook computers and eBook Readers, as well as book packs. Watch also for details on the Sunday charity fundraiser which will include a silent auction with a chance to bid for fabulous goods for readers and writers.
Important information for all members and guests about pitching opportunities:
What is pitching?
RWA arranges appointments for conference delegates with the opportunity to sit face-to-face with an agent or an editor to talk about their completed manuscript, and gives the agent/editor the opportunity to request submission of manuscripts they wish to learn more about.
If you have a completed manuscript and choose to register for an opportunity to pitch, further information will be provided with details of your appointment but the basics are:
• Pitching appointments should be made in the same name as you have on your nametag. If you provide your mobile phone number, the pitch organisers will be able to contact you if it becomes necessary at the last minute. (Note: Mobile phones must be set on ‘silent’ during all conference session times.)
• You will be asked to nominate your pitch preferences, but RWA cannot guarantee that you will receive your first preference. Please register as soon as possible to give organisers the best chance of arranging your pitch to at least one of your choices.
• According to their preference, an agent or editor might wish to receive pitches by groups of delegates rather than one-on-one. They may also request submission of material beforehand and, at their request, may offer some writers a longer appointment.
• Editors and agents time is limited so please make sure you allow plenty of time to find the pitch venue and be ready and waiting for your appointment.
Note: As with previous RWA conferences, the pitch appointments run throughout the day (Friday and Saturday) so expect to miss some of your breakout sessions. This amazing opportunity calls for considerable planning. The volunteers who run this program appreciate your professionalism, cooperation and patience.
What is pitching etiquette?
You will receive this information once accepted into the pitching program.
Should I bring along a copy of the manuscript I want to pitch?
Please leave the manuscript at home. We will post a list of attending editors and agents along with notes on what they're keen to acquire once finalised. Register to pitch as soon as you have selected the agent/editor you think will be most interested in your completed manuscript. We will do our best to ensure that every applicant pitches to one of their choices.
I haven’t written my manuscript yet. Can I pitch?
No, the pitches are designed for completed manuscripts. Editors and agents don’t want to know about a story you will write. A completed manuscript demonstrates your ability to turn an idea into a complete work, which is not an easy thing to do as writers know. Editors and agents are busy people, and it’s best to send requested material to them without too much delay, as you will be fresher in their mind.
When the manuscript is complete, there isn’t the stress (well other than getting the submission material right) of trying to finish the manuscript in a short time frame. Can you imagine trying to write 80k in a month? And then having to polish it to be at a publishable standard. This takes time. So pitching an incomplete manuscript is very stressful indeed.
I've never pitched before; how long are pitch appointments?
If group appointments are requested by an editor or an agent, you will be advised of their preferences. Individual appointments at this conference will be limited to five minutes to allow appointments for as many delegates as possible. More information about the editors and agents attending will be posted in due course on the Pitch page.
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I'm flying. With baggage restrictions, I have no extra space for winnings!
If you're travelling light, you might consider bringing along one (or two) Australia Post pre-paid parcel bags to mail home any books you score through giveaways or raffles, or those you can't resist at the bookstore.
Why the QT?
The Gold Coast is fabulous to visit at any time of year, but the weather is gorgeous in August. Whether you’re travelling alone for conference, or bringing the family for a short break, Surfer’s Paradise has it all.
Of the venues viewed, the QT Hotel best fit our needs and expected capacity. Other large venues were more expensive and/or would have required a GPS to get around. Finding everything we need in a venue was quite a challenge, but the QT Gold Coast ticked all the important boxes. See the RWA blog post for more details.
Trains, planes and automobiles
There are too many travel options to cover in detail here. Help and advice will be on hand from locals online in the lead-up to August. Check ROMAUS (or other e-loops), post a question, and don't forget the RWA Forum is a great place to meet people and chat about conference in general. Highly recommended for first-timers. New to the Forum? Sign into the Member's Section on the RWA website for information.
I'd love to stay at the conference hotel but don't have a room-mate. Do you offer a forum for finding a roomie?
A database for finding a room-mate is available on the Romance Australia e-List (ROMAUS). You can add your name, the nights you're planning to stay, and your email address. Potential roomies will contact you privately to work out the details. If you're not a member of RomAus e-loop, check out the information in the members' section (log-in required).
Other FAQ's about the hotel are answered on the Venue page.
CONNECT – keep up to date on conference news and happenings.
Chat/ask a question: The RWA Forum (Gold Coast 2012)
General enquiries (email@example.com)
CONTACT – 'Team Diamond' - your 2012 Conference Crew – if you need answers and you can't find them here.
Conference Co-ordinator: Fiona Gregory
Conference Registrar: Jenn J McLeod
Pitch Coordinator: Zoe Younger
Communications/Announcements: Helen Katsinis
Media/Sponsorship Coordinator: Jennifer St George
A-Day Coordinator: Alison Ahearn
Workshop Coordinator: Denise Rossetti
Bookshop Liaison: Denise Rossetti
Extras Program: Roseanne Smiles (bonus sessions etc)
Orientation Liaison: Vonnie Hughes (first-timers)
Venue Liaison: Fiona Gregory (disabled access, layout, facilities, etc)
Donations Coordinator:Vonnie Hughes