Lisa Ricard Claro – Author

Romance is good for your heart!

Wondering What to Pack? I’ve Got Your Back! (The Top Five Things to Bring to Conference)

Posted on Jul 16, 2014 by Lisa Ricard Claro   No Comments Yet | Posted in Uncategorized



It’s time to pack for conference!

The RWA national conference is in San Antonio this year, and I’ve had my airline tickets since January. Am I excited? Oh, yeah.

After last year’s conference I talked to you about the pitching process (click HERE to read those posts), detailing how it was organized (think speed dating) and what to expect if and when you sailed the pitching seas and walked the pitch plank for yourself. For many authors, the opportunity to pitch their book is one of the main reasons for conference attendance, and this is true for a lot of writing conferences, not just RWA.

Thanks to my recent contract with Black Opal Books, I don’t have to pitch!   *insert maniacal laughter here*

Even if you aren’t attending the RWA conference, perhaps you will at some future time attend a conference, if not for writing then for something else. Ergo, here are the top five things on my list of important items for a conference and the Naked Truth about each.

1. Sensible shoes—Those high heels, no matter how cute they looked in the store, are not your friend.  Leave them at home. If you have bunions, they’ll be worse after conference. If you don’t have bunions, well, wear heels to a conference and see what happens. You’ll become bunionated (don’t bother looking that up—it’s a Lisa-ism). Don’t want to earn your Bunion Badge? Then again I say: Sensible shoes. You’ll thank me later.

2.  Tote bag—My tote was a gift from my mother forever ago, and at the time I thought she was nuts. Why did I need a tote bag? I was already hauling a diaper bag full of baby stuff all over creation. But, as usual, time proved Mama to be the most brilliant of women. At last year’s conference my tote held bottles of water, protein bars, extra pens, notepads, author cards, the conference agenda folder, workshop handouts, tissues, hand sanitizer, breath freshener (very important) and still had room for my sweater, and even my purse. It also gave me someplace to stow all the freebies that are handed out—bookmarks, pens, key chains, buttons, etc., and best of all, FREE BOOKS! Bring a tote. Pretend you’re Mary Poppins.  Your tote is just like her carpetbag. Minus the lamp and coatrack. And possibly the ficus.

3.  Author cards—Author cards are not mandatory. If you don’t have them and don’t want them, no one will tar and feather you. BUT . . . most folks do have cards to exchange even if they haven’t published a book. Your author card provides your contact info and book info, invaluable if you are set to publish, have already published, or are pitching your book. (Click HERE to read a previous post about author cards if you’re pitching, same link as above.) has reasonable prices, and even free—yes, FREE— made-to-order cards, and you pay only for shipping.

4.  Extra pens and paper—A conference is a cornucopia of information, and you don’t want to miss out because your ink ran dry. Right now you may be thinking, “This is so obvious.” But you’d be surprised how many people I saw scrambling for pens and paper last year because they misjudged what they needed. “Better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it.” That’s what Mama used to say, and she was right. And now I’m saying it, and I’m right, too.

5.  Last and most important: GOOD ATTITUDE!—If you’re armed with a genuine smile and the desire to learn and make new friends, your conference experience can only be positive. The best part about a good attitude is that it doesn’t have to be packed or purchased, so you’ll only be without it if you choose to be. And why would you leave it at home? Like so many other things, you will get out of the conference experience what you bring to it. Carry a good attitude and a ready smile in that Mary Poppins tote. You’ll be so glad you did.

What would you add to this conference list? Is there something else you feel is important that you won’t leave home without? Be creative! I’ve got a week before I board a plane for San Antonio, so if there’s something you think I should be sure to pack, please let me know.  Put yourself in the Buff! Please leave a comment. Extra points if you make me laugh.



You may have noticed the change in my profile pic over there on the sidebar. It was time, Buttercup, as the previous photo was eight years old! My daughter Christina is a junior at SCAD (Savannah College of Art and Design) earning her BA in photography. I’d like to thank her for taking the pics, especially since I’m not the best model in the world. She posed me on our front porch, and honest to God, I thought I was going to tumble off that narrow rail into the English ivy. Between me wobbling, and her screaming and running away every time a bee buzzed around the porch (she’s allergic), it’s a wonder we got the deed done. And look at the blooms on my Dragon Wing begonias! I discovered a plant I can’t kill! Oh, happy day!

Thanks for visiting. I so appreciate your time. Please come back next week for the Naked Truth about . . . Seeking Approval.

See you next Wednesday. Enjoy your week!


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