Monday, May 3, 2010

About that conference...

You know how yesterday I was all, "Yay! Going to RWA National!"?

Well, the conference is supposed to be in Nashville. On a hotel on the banks of the Cumberland River.

It now has ten feet of water in the lobby.

The hotel sent out cancellation notices tonight. RWA has not of this writing made an announcement about the fate of the conference...because, I'm certain, they're frantically working the phones to figure out if they can salvage this thing. I doubt there's another single hotel in Nashville big enough for the group, but hotels run in clusters, and if they can book two or three on the same block, it could work. Or, and this is more of a stretch because of the havoc this would wreak on people's travel plans, they might be considering nearby cities like Memphis or Birmingham or Atlanta.

At this point, I'd say there's at least a 50-50 chance the conference will be canceled. Which would suck. On a purely selfish personal level, I was looking forward to swanning around in my First Sale ribbon and being invited to a publisher party. Multiply that by three or four thousand people all hoping to celebrate a publishing milestone or make connections at their first conference or meet that perfect editor or agent, and you've got a lot of angst.

But, you know what? If it's canceled, it's canceled. Who am I supposed to be mad at? Not RWA or the hotel management, who both seem to be doing their best under trying circumstances. If it's canceled, I'll go ahead and register for PNWC or Willamette and make plans to attend ECWC in October. I'll also start saving up for next summer's RWA. It'll be in New York, so I can plan a few extra days to visit my old stomping grounds in Philadelphia...and I'm sure RWA will still let me wear a First Sale ribbon.

Half the reason I'm so philosophical about this, though? I booked my tickets on Southwest. As I know from very recent experience of having to reschedule a flight less than twelve hours before takeoff due to a severe stomach virus, I'll be able to apply the full price toward my next flight, as long as it's within the year. We always fly to see my in-laws at least once a year, so I'm not losing a dime if the conference is canceled. At the risk of sounding like a corporate shill, fly Southwest whenever you possibly can. They're friendly, you don't lose everything if your plans change even if you're cheap like me and buy Wanna Get Away fares, and they even have a couple inches more legroom than other airlines' coach seats.

Oh, one more thing? I keep seeing people say they're going to call RWA first thing in the morning. Speaking as someone who was an event planner in a former life, it's probably best if you don't. They're fully aware of the problem, they're doing everything they can to find a solution, and they'll announce relocation or cancellation as soon as they make their decision.

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