First Time Conferencees

Congratulations of taking the big step...

Attending any conference for the first time is a bit scary and overwhelming, but RWNZ hopes we can make you feel right at home.

There will be a meet and greet for FIRST TIME ATTENDEES (Details to be confirmed).  You can ask any questions you might have. Those going to the cocktail party can go together as a group, and the others can stay drinking and chatting or pop out for dinner.

When attending RWNZ conference, some planning and research can go a long way in easing those butterflies, especially for those who have never attended a romance writing conference. Take a deep breath and read on to find out what to expect!


RWNZ offers a competitive room rate, at the Chateau On The Park (where the conference is actually being held) at $180 per night per room.  Remember, to go to the RWNZ Members Only Facebook page if you want to find someone to share your room with. Just ask, it’s a great way of meeting and making friends too.

At conference RWNZ supplies morning and afternoon tea, and lunch on Friday to Sunday, but you’ll need to budget for dinners (except if you are attending the Awards Dinner).

As far as airfares go, compare flying vs. driving expenses and advantages/disadvantages. Share a cab or car service to reduce that expense. Again ask on the Facebook page.


You will need to bring pen and paper to write on, as you’ll learn a lot. Some of us bring along a hardcover A4 book so that we keep each years conference material in one place, even cello-taping in handouts etc. Some people record the sessions but please check whether the speaker is happy for you to do so.

If you have a writing business card bring those. They are great to give out to other authors as you make connections but also to editors and agents. It looks professional when you’re pitching.

Speaking of pitching, RWNZ hopes you take the opportunity to pitch. Even if you’re not quite ready it’s great practice for the day when you are really ready to pitch. Pop online and visit the How to Pitch page and get comfortable with giving a brief minute summary of your story. Make sure you know the story inside out so that you can talk about it with knowledge of conflict, characters growth, story premise, black moment and resolution.

Plus, ensure the person you wish to pitch too is looking for your type of story.


The RWNZ Conference is a professional event but we also want attendees to feel comfortable. Attendees should dress smart casual to business professional. Although our conference is held during winter, all rooms will be air-conditioned and sometimes they can get too hot or too cold so we suggest layers!


You do a lot of sitting during conference so we encourage you to either go to the hotel gym or bring your walking shoes.


If you want to be viewed as a professional, present yourself as one. Be ready with a smile and a hello even if you don’t know anyone or you don’t get a smile back. At my first conference I made life time friends of those that did return my smile. Wait times at the elevators may be long, so be polite and patient, and take the opportunity to strike up a conversation with those also waiting—it might be an editor or agent.


Speaking of editors and agents, some editors and agents are receptive to pitches outside the scheduled pitch appointments, but interrupting conversations or cornering someone in the restroom is rude and can leave a lasting (negative) impression. If asked what you write, you can safely assume you’ve been invited to pitch. Otherwise, ask first to be on the safe side.


After a day of workshops, many attendees congregate in the bar area to socialise and us kiwi’s love those who join in. If you notice an attendee who seems to be alone, introduce yourself. Conferences can be overwhelming to first-timers and those who are by themselves. This event is a great way to make new friends and connections. Make sure you take the opportunity to network. It’s easy, just ask what they write and how long they have been writing.


The programme is loaded on the website and it pays to take a few minutes to go over the programme and the breakout workshops to ensure you’re selecting those you need the most. This is a great opportunity to learn.

If you have any other questions, please email the membership secretary.