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 will.