SCBWI vs. RWA Cage Match

What are the similarities and differences between these two writers’ organizations’ big national conferences?

I discuss today over at my group blog Drunk Writer Talk.

(Aside) The first manuscript I ever wrote was a romance, as was the second, which I abandoned before revising, having decided that romance wasn’t my genre. And while I made that decision back in 2003, I’ve remained a member of RWA because I love the organization and the friends I’ve made there.

Now I have a new love… SCBWI. (end of aside)

In my post, I compare the two conferences.

Another difference I thought of after I posted is: free books.

At RWA’s National conference you end up with at least 10 free books without even trying (you get them when you register and at each keynote) and by trying you can end up with boxes and boxes and boxes of free books. The big six (and smaller) publishers all host free book signings for their authors. Also the publishers give away at least one title (usually more than one book) for each all of the keynote speakers. (The books are on your chair when you go into the room.)

RWA also has a HUGE author signing open to the general public, where the books are donated by the publishers, and any published member attending the conference can sign. It’s HUGE. Hundreds and hundreds of authors signing. And last summer, when it was held at the Marriott in Times Square, the line started hours in advance, trailed through the entire hotel, snaked around the driveway and down the street. It was my first time signing, with Cinderella: Ninja Warrior and Sleeping Beauty: Vampire Slayer, and I have to say it was quite a thrill. Quite a few of the younger teens who came up to ask me to sign books had clearly been given lists of authors they were allowed to talk to/buy from by their mothers. :) Not surprising given the range of authors signing, from well, me (with a young-skewing YA) to full-on erotica novels.

If my comparison had been scoring based on getting books, or opportunities for published authors to get their books into the hands of readers, RWA would win hands down. But from my perspective as an author and conference attendee, I’m not sure I could pick a clear winner.

While I love the free books I get at RWA… I often end up donating them to a library or hospital, or giving them away to friends, and I kind of liked not needing another suitcase to go home. :)

RWA Home Page

SCBWI Home Page

  2 comments for “SCBWI vs. RWA Cage Match

  1. February 1, 2012 at 7:26 pm

    Great post! I’ve been to two RWA Nationals and a regional SCBWI, and they are definitely different. I loved the presence of illustrators at SCBWI. Why can’t we have illustrations in all books?
    Can you do an RT / RWA smackdown next? I’m going to try RT this year for the first time due to their huge teen day, and I’m not sure what to expect. : )

  2. February 1, 2012 at 7:49 pm

    Karen, I’d like to know more about the RT Teen day, too! I’ve never been to RT, but I think both Eileen and Molly over at Drunk Writer Talk, have done both.

    Which regional SCBWI did you go to?

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