Posted On May 19, 2017 by Print This Post

The Romantic Times Booklovers Convention Report by Laura Stapleton

Fresh from the RT Convention Laura Stapleton gives us the low-down on what we missed!

Laura Stapleton

I have been to several different types of conventions, nearly all of them geeky in some form or another. Star Trek, Star Wars, with a few computer programming seminars and events thrown in as well. I did warn geeky, right?

The Romantic Times Booklovers Convention, however? It is its own animal. Thousands of readers, hundreds of authors, classes, parties, workshops, a book signing or several, and a very good time in general. 2017 has been my fourth year in a row of attending, and I think it’s better every year. I get to mix it up with old friends and make new ones.

Speaking of friends… Since several great workshops happened at the same time, I would recommend teaming up with a friend in the business who’s attending. Exchanging notes after the classes or even after the convention means you both benefit from sharing. Considering how many classes overlapped, even assigning classes among a group of pals is a good idea.  There were several hours where I was triple booked on subjects I wanted to attend.

There are so many reasons to go to RT’s convention, especially if you’re a new writer. There are classes on genres, craft, the business, and marketing side of things, as well as the nuts and bolts of self-publishing. There are pitching opportunities with editors and agents. Also, there’s an industry open house where writers can chat with the people who distribute, edit, and promote ebooks.

For the more established writers who could teach the workshops themselves, going to the event for reader interaction is their goal. Most of the bigger names will throw parties that allow attendees to bring books for authors to sign. Others will have small gatherings with refreshments and a chance for readers to chat with their favorite authors.

Where was I in this hierarchy? As a not very new writer, yet not established as a “name,” I attended reader events as an observer and noted what went right and what could be improved upon. I’ll also admit to being a fangirl for some of the authors at the various parties. It’s often very tough to be blasé about meeting a personal hero, but I try and fail anyway.

The lines to events moved noticeably better than in prior years. Gift bags didn’t run out too soon, making every reader happy. Nothing is as disappointing as being the first person who missed out on a free book. I made sure to get swag for gifting my favorite readers, too. Giving care packages of goodies to my most loyal of readers is the best ever.

If I didn’t have gifts to think of, I’d make it a goal to attend an entire RT Conference without gaining any swag. I don’t know if anyone can escape without at least a pen or bookmark. There’s just so much everywhere, and people are so creative with what they bring. Candy, pens, bookmarks, postcards and my favorite of sample booklets were everywhere. Romantic Times provides several promotion opportunities for writers wanting to make a bigger impact. The prices start at free to several thousands of dollars, and they can all be found on Romantic Times convention website right after you register.

So would I recommend the conference to anyone? I mean, it’s pretty steep in price, nearly $500 just to attend, never mind the transportation and lodging. A friend of mine and I stopped at the Dollar Store for snacks and saved, but even then, there are dinners out if you’re in a writers group or two as I am. There are online workshops, and social media puts everyone together. I personally think if someone’s looking at a good return on investment, he or she won’t find it at RT’s convention. What they will find is a lot of potential readers, some terrific networking with friends, and getting the chance to begin new business relationships. For me, that’s more than enough to budget for next year.

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RU Writers – have you gone to RT? What were your impressions?

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Bio: With an overactive imagination and a love for writing, Laura Stapleton decided to type out her daydreams and what-ifs in order to share her lovable characters and their worlds with readers. She currently lives in Kansas City with her husband, daughter, dog, and a few cats. When not at the computer, you’ll find her in the park for a jog or at the yarn store’s clearance section.

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5 Responses to “The Romantic Times Booklovers Convention Report by Laura Stapleton”

  1. Morning Laura!

    Attending a conference would be a dream of mine….it’s still in my wish book however!

    Tell us about the book cover models you got to meet! *swoon* And what were some of the classes you took?

    =)

    carrie

    Posted by Carrie Peters | May 19, 2017, 9:24 am
  2. I attended RT in Columbus, Ohio a few years back and it was both memorable and unique in my experience. I’ve attended all kinds of conferences – I’d heard stories about “wild and crazy” RT, and it certainly lived up to its reputation. I went with friends and connected with other friends while I was there, so for that alone it was worth it. There were lots of interesting workshops, some fun evening events and a huge Saturday book signing. I left with a stack of signed books and lots of memories. For struggling writers looking to submit, I’d recommend the calmer ambience of a smaller event like Lori Foster’s Reader Author Get-Together. If you’re looking for a place to meet authors and generally let loose, you should definitely give RT a shot!

    Posted by Becke Martin Davis | May 20, 2017, 4:37 pm
  3. Laura – Thanks for a great post, by the way!

    Posted by Becke Martin Davis | May 20, 2017, 4:37 pm
  4. Thank you, Beck, and you’re so right. RT is vast and smaller cons are both more fun and gives every one a chance to focus better.

    Carrie, if I were closer to cover model girlfriend age than their moms’ agw, i might know more about how wild things can get at RT. 😉 The guys are charming and really do look that good in real life. Whew!

    Posted by Laura Stapleton | May 25, 2017, 6:04 pm
  5. Oops, disregard typos. I’m on my phone in the park. 😄

    Posted by Laura Stapleton | May 25, 2017, 6:04 pm

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