The obtainment of needed information is always good. There were great speakers and workshop leaders. Members shared information in the goody room or bar, even while waiting to pitch. The general mood was upbeat with few naysayers in the group. Most writers might measure their success on how much fulls were requested, how much swag they distributed or positive networking opportunities.
It is amazing that people who have never met you are willing to share the highs and lows of their publishing career if only to help you miss a few stumbles on your writing path. The majority of information wasn’t in keynote speeches or workshops, but in other members. I found most members were willing to encourage one another, even to suggesting editors, agents and publishers.
At the end of every RWA Conference is a survey asking what went well and areas they could improve.
This is my lists of things that went well.
*The food was excellent. I will admit to be a foodie.
*Workshops were plentiful and informative.
* The main speakers were nothing short of amazing.
*Chapter parties and meetings went well.
*Easy access to the mall and inexpensive food court help to save on daily dining options.
*The Marta was a cheap alternative to get to the airport.
*The elevators worked!
This is my list of things that need tweaking.
*The wait staff at the luncheons often appeared confused and did not communicate with one another. Participants who had pre-ordered vegetarian meals received their entrée after everyone else started dessert. Requests for ice tea and water glasses that needed refilling went unfilled.
*I noticed this year that more people brought husbands and families, but there was not much to entertain them. After visiting the Coca Cola museum & the aquarium, they could hang out at the small pool and the miniscule non-working hot tub.
*Goody Room supervision was non-existent, which resulted in tumbled masses of books marks and cards that serves neither reader nor writer well.
*As a travel writer, I often get information on trips as soon as I sign onto the Internet. I was surprised to see the room I stayed in at the Marquis went for $105 and at the most $145. Trust me; I ended up paying much more. It makes me wonder why the trumped up charge?
*I did talk to other people who were staying in surrounding hotels who received free breakfast and free Internet. This brings me to the Internet, which was nonexistent. You could pay to have it in your room. The promised ability to use Internet in the lobby or conference center proved to be more in theory as opposed to actual use. Instead, I paid .40 a minute to use Kinko’s computers. This should be a no brainer that writers need a good Internet service.
*Most people did have smart phones they could use for simple messages and browsing, but even these were victims of the dampening blockers placed in the rooms to prevent people from having Internet.
*Parking ran between $32-$40 dollars a day. New York City parking was cheaper. I am willing to bet the Motel 6 I could see from my window charged nothing for parking.
*Finally, I would have enjoyed a mildew-free bathroom. The tile in my bathroom had mildew decorating the tub enclosure. We stayed for a week, as did the mildew.
In summary, I would have to say the areas that needed tweaking were mainly the hotel’s responsibility as opposed to RWA.