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!