Tuesday 18 July 2017

Go the RNA! #RNAConf17

The gala dinner
I went to the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s (RNA) conference at Harper Adams University at the weekend, and I’m still recovering. It was my favourite RNA conference so far-there’s something about the venue (same for the conference in 2014) which creates a warm family atmosphere. The RNA is a friendly organisation anyway, but there really was a lot of love in the room at this conference.

On Friday morning, I had a meeting which meant I embarked on my journey to Telford later than planned, and unfortunately due to lots of traffic (basically all the way there, apart from on the M6 Toll which was a dream), I missed Chairman, Nicola Cornick’s welcome and the panel which followed on the state of the industry with Nicola, Rosie de Courcy, Isobel Dixon, Broo Doherty, Sam Missingham and Emily Yau. However, I look forward to finding out more in the write-ups which I’m sure will follow on blogs and in the RNA magazine, Romance Matters. Friday night meant catching up with lovely friends, (who I was lucky to share a flat with) at the drinks, dinner and afterwards in our kitchen with lashings of prosecco.

Lizzie Lamb and Adrienne Vaughan peering through my kitchen window
On Saturday, I attended a talk by Nicola Cornick and Sarah Morgan on social media; and then as my alter-ego, neetswriter: Elizabeth Chadwick, Beyond the dressing up box (historical talk); Pia Fenton and Anna Belfrage on Playing with time in romantic fiction (making timeshift work). I attended the RNA Open Discussion: Have Your Say! where lots of exciting plans were discussed, including the 60 year anniversary of the RNA in 2020. Vice-chair, Alison May and a team will be organising a celebration, and I can’t wait to find out more and get the date in my diary. The last talk of the day I attended was These We Have Loved with Ian Skillicorn of Corazon Books and Louise Allen on reviving the backlist. I found this talk really useful as Ian talked about advertising on Facebook and BookBub; and it was interesting to hear about Louise’s experience of publishing her backlist.

Ian Skillicorn, me, Adrienne Vaughan, Jackie Ladbury, Liz Cooper, Jules Wake, Donna Ashcroft
The gala dinner took place on Saturday night, where the room was made to look pretty with pink lights on the columns and the food was delicious-best beef wellington ever. I stayed up quite late on Saturday night with a few bad influences in my flat (!), but had the best time. 

Anna Belfrage at her fab talk
On Sunday morning, after a big fry up, I met up with my lovely client, Anna Belfrage which was great as we usually speak over Skype. Then I went to Fiona Harper’s talk on building characters from the inside out (again as neetswriter), and I look forward to reading through my notes and applying Fiona’s advice when planning new characters, and revisiting those I've made up already.

After a delicious roast lunch of lamb and Yorkshire pudding, I drove home, and stopped at Warwick services for a coffee. When I got out of the car and walked towards the entrance, I had to tell myself I was no longer at a conference and didn’t need to smile and say hello to everyone I saw…then who should I bump into but Catherine Miller! We did laugh. And I must have been looking happy post-conference (despite being exhausted!), as the lovely lady in Starbucks included a huge smiley face on my coffee cup.

Much-needed cappuccino for the drive home
I've done write-ups for talks at RNA conferences in the past (which take ages to put together!), but this year I'm writing this round-up post instead, as I know there will be lots of write-ups elsewhere. 

All in all, I had a fabulous time, and thank you to Jan Jones and all the organisers for such a special weekend. 

I hope to tell you some exciting news (for neetsmarketing) soon re that meeting on Friday morning, but I can't say anything until all is finalised. UPDATE: find out all in my post here!

My Social Media Course for Writers in London on 7 October is now fully booked, but I've just organised my next London course for 19 May 2018. And I'm running the same course on 3 March 2018 in York. There are quotes from former attendees on my website. Book here or by emailing me at anitajchapman at gmail dot com.

Wishing you all a lovely summer. I'm going to take the rest of the summer off as neetsmarketing to spend time with my family and to get some writing done. But I'll be back in September.

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  1. Really sorry I missed it this year, Anita - and catching up with you! Glad you enjoyed it all.

    1. Missed seeing you, Rosemary! Hopefully next year :)

  2. Enjoyed our snatched chat. You really are quite lovely and look forward to catching you at another RNA event soon xxx

  3. Aw, Jenni-loved our chat! (although it was a bit sweaty in that room!)-hope to see you again at the RNA Winter Party, if not before :) Xxxx