YARWA is the nationwide online chapter for Young Adult Writers of America. If you are a member of RWA and you write YA, it is an incredible chapter. The 2014 Day of YA was a combination of celebration and conference that preceded the start of the National RWA conference in San Antonio.
The chapter has 200 members and is incredibly vibrant. They fed us breakfast and lunch. James Scott Bell started off with a craft workshop entitled Revision and Self-Editing for Publication. He has just published a small, affordable book on the same subject that is immensely readable: Write Your Novel From The Middle: A New Approach for Plotters, Pantsers and Everyone in Between.
That was followed by an industry panel with Laura Bradford from Bradford Literary, Holly Ingraham from St. Martin's Press, Margo Lipschultz from Harlequin Teen, Kevan Lyon from the Marsal Lyon Literary Agency, Sara Megibow of the Nelson Literary Agency, Liz Pelletier of Entangled Publishing, Whitney Ross of Tor/Macmillan and Suzie Townsend of New Leaf Literary and Media.
After a networking lunch we had Ally Carter as a keynote speaker. Ally Carter also sat at my lunch table which rendered me speechless with star-struckedness as I love the Heist Society series.
Then they gave out the Rosemary Awards. This is the first year for the Rosemary. All the finalists are listed here. The Rosemary filled a real need, the competition was intense, as Ritas for the YA were not offered this year due to an incomplete number of submissions. (However, I've heard that the board has altered the rules so that next year there will be a YA Rita category for sure.)
Many winners were not present. I was ready to accept award for a friend of mine who writes as Connie MacElroy. When they called my name instead if Connie's I couldn't believe it. I went up to accept my certificate and winner ribbon with a large silk camellia which I've been wearing proudly ever since. Attached to the certificate was a page of notes from the judges which included two requests for full manuscripts, one from an editor and one from an agent. Connie was not completely neglected as she got third place. I've read her novel Reverse Cascade and I know it will be a YA bestseller as soon as it find the right home.
Jay Asher (NYT bestselling author of 13 Reasons Why) gave a great talk on how to give talks at schools. The day ended with a panel with four outstanding YA authors: Morgan Rhodes, J. Armentrout, Simone Elkeles and Sophie Jordan.
There was a silent auction where you could bid on critiques and for books and swag and there were door prizes, so I walked out with a few more books.
Kudos to the YARWA board for all of their hard work: Monica Jones, President; Lea Nolan, VP Programs; Sharon Riddle, VP Communications; Micki Gibson, Treasurer; Shawn McGuire, Secretary; Shea Berkley, PAN Liason, and Tracy Jewitt Meyer, PRO Liason.
That night the RWA conference got really rolling, with a huge charity event where hundreds of RWA authors sign books for the public as well as conference attendees and all the proceeds go to charity.
The YARWA writers made themselves easy to find, tying pink balloons to the backs of their chairs. We were given forms to enable a "scavenger hunt," so that we could visit all our favorite authors and participate in a drawing for a Kindle Fire. I ended up with a dozen autographed books.
If you write YA romance or YA with romantic elements, join RWA and then join this chapter!