1. Spread the word. Have plenty of swag–buttons, bookmarks, etc.–on hand. You never know when you’ll need them. Buttons especially–folks can pin them to their conference ID tags.
2. Be a part of it. Take advantage of all the con has to offer–panels, meet-and-greets, and the opportunity to meet random readers and writers in the hotel after hours. (If you’re writing, cautiously set word count goals during the con. You’ll be busy, although you’ll also be energized by your conversations with about writing.)
3. Plan carefully. Arrange your schedule so you can sleep in a bit in the mornings. After late nights spent chatting with new friends and old (see above), you’ll want the rest. Schedule your return home to include plenty of time for laundry, unpacking, etc. before your next deadline/engagement.
4. Munchies. If your form of travel permits it, bring healthy snacks and bottles of water from home–to avoid incurring minibar fees and calories.
5. Don’t be shy, but be polite. This is a corollary of #2. Take advantage of the brain and creative power around you, and seek out others to discuss writing, reading and books. But do be polite and use discretion when seeking out famous attendees or professionals from whom you’re seeking advice–especially if they’re already in the midst of a conversation, traveling between events or panels, or at a meal.
6. Mind your image. RT isn’t just a con about reading and writing–it’s about careers. You may not get the reaction you want from the agent to whom you’ve just pitched an idea, and the author you’ve approached may not give you the attention you want. Don’t let your impatience get the best of you. Be professional, and don’t burn bridges unnecessarily by losing your cool.
7. Stay connected. Lots of RT attendees use social media–Twitter, Facebook, blogging–while at the conference. Having the con in common can be a great way to break the ice, discover cool panels, and find out which authors would love to meet more readers.