It's my first time to attend the RT Booklovers Convention and here are some tips and tricks to those attending for the first time:
PRIOR to CONVENTION TIPS
Tip 1: START EARLY! SAVE MONEY!
There is a $495 convention fee and you have to pay that as early as you can! (Some time September of the year prior to the convention)
People buy early so you have to be an early bird as well.
Tip 2: If you are a writer, take the boot camp. It cost something around $125 on top of the convention fee. It is worth it.
Tip 3: Book your hotel early. If you can afford to be in the same hotel as the convention, then book the hotel. Socials and other events will be very hectic so you need to be close by.
Tip 4: Here's what you need to bring/pack: Versatile clothing (reuse clothes, don't bring so much), comfortable shoes, big sturdy eco bags, emergency slippers, bandages (it's for your feet!), muscle lotion (it's for your shoulders), make-up, gloss/lip balm, water bottle, autograph book for authors, power bank for your phone, note pad for notes. Extra boxes/suitcases for books.
Tip 5: What not to bring: BOOKS. You'll be there to grab free books so don't bother bringing some. Bulky costumes, bulky clothes, anything heavy.
DURING the CONVENTION
Tip 1: Be friendly. People want to know what you like to read and who you are here to meet. They might give you tips as well. Build friendships because people who love books loves other people who love books!
Tip 2: Wear flats. You'll be walking a lot.
Tip 3: You'll be walking a lot! So eat a hearty breakfast, have a water bottle, make sure you have stamina to run around every hour. Especially if there is a pop-up signing.
Tip 4: Be prepared to wait! Most big or popular workshops have long lines so be prepared to stand in line. Socials have a 30 mins to 1 hour waiting before you can enter so make sure you have patience.
Tip 5: Not all events have food so you'll have to forage and quick. Most breakfast socials have a muffin or pie but some doesn't. (Harlequin's event only had free fruit smoothie for breakfast). Some socials have chillis, desserts and finger food but not enough to get you full. Some socials only had chocolates. (I loved Linda Lael Miller's Cowboys and Rhinestone Party. There was mac and cheese, chicken skewers, chilli beans and fruits)
Tip 6: Bring a trolley or wheeled luggage. You'll be getting a lot of books. I got 7 books from a Inspirational Book Signing and 6 books from Harlequin meet and greet. Pop up signing might get you two to three books at a time. Most big events give books but small workshops give small tokens and at times books.
Tip 7: Keep hydrated. You won't be able to notice that you're already dehydrated until it is too late. Why? Because the air-conditioner is cold but you're running around. You are also too excited to realize this.
Tip 8: You won't be able to attend all the workshops and events. Believe me, I tried! I even tried to leave one event early to get tot he next. Some events overlap. It's not the end of the world. Attend what you can and have fun.
Tip 9: Set your goals. Are you there as a reader or writer. Plot your workshops and be prepared to run around. In RT17, the venue for the convention spanned three floors. I had workshops from LL3 to LL1 and I have only 15 mins to get tot he next venue.
Tip 10: Have fun! You will learn but you shouldn't be too serious. Attend the Socials. Hug your favorite authors. Take a lot of pictures!
This is my first time to attend the Romantic Times Book Lovers’
Convention, so I am called an RT Virgin. It is the biggest single genre book convention in the US. Romantic
Times or RT covers Romance Books and it’s sub-genres. It took a year of savings
but I finally get to Atlanta without a hitch. I registered as an author and so
I was issued a green badge.
The events I have signed up for was packed. My
agenda for this convention was to learn, better myself as an author, better my
marketing skills, learn the global trends and network. Given this opportunity,
I was given a free table to do my very first book signing.
The convention or RT17 kicks off with the pre-con. I took up
Cherry Adair’s Master Class. It was the best $125 of my life. Her teaching
style was fast-paced so we could tackle as much as we could. Her insights into
the industry was very informative. The best part of this two-day class was her
one-on-one session on fixing plots.
The next six days of the convention were divided between
seminars and socials. Seminars or workshops were equally as face-paced. Panel
discussions covered a wide range of topics such as BDSM Beyond 50 Shades,
Publishing Beyond Amazon, Marketing on a Budget, Hot New Trends in Publishing
and so much more. The Socials were sponsored parties by authors or publishing
houses. The best part in Socials was getting goody bags filled with free books.
Socials is a time to meet authors. Among those I met were Linda Lael Miller,
Lora Leigh, Sherrilyn Kenyon, B. J. Daniels, Kerrilyn Sparks, Karen Rose,
Beverly Jenkins, Tina de Salvo and more. There were pop-up signing in the
corridors so you could meet new authors and grab books and goodies from them.
The highlight of the RT Conventions was the Giant Book fair
on the Saturday of the event. Over three thousand people came to buy books and
meet authors. Although I was not ready to participate here, I did try to
familiarize myself by being a volunteer. It gave me great discounts when I had
time to do my rounds and grab books.
FAN-Tastic Day was scheduled that night. This Social
activity was sponsored by the LGBT publisher Dreamspinner Press. In this party,
authors and fans could meet. I was given a space with other writers to meet and
greet new fans for forty-five minutes.
To cap off the event, the RT Roundup was scheduled that
Sunday as a send-off. It was a mini book fair for new, self-published and
hybrid authors. I was the only Filipina author for the roundup. I was happy to
meet new people, new authors and potential fans. I was also happy to have my
book Resto-Rescue and Anthology Victorian Steam sold out.
All in all, my RT experience has been an eye-opener. The
socials, book signing and workshops were a whole new level from what we have
here in the Philippines. As a Filipino author, I ask myself if we can compete
globally and the answer is: Yes, we can! We already have an advantage of
speaking and writing in English. We understand and can relate to the Western
Culture. Best of all, we have the creativity and talent to write beautiful
stories. So, will I participate in future RT Conventions? Yes, I definitely