In this, our fourth day of RT prep week, I’ve asked some friends and colleagues to share their RT experiences, tips and tricks. 🙂
I love RT! New Orleans will be my seventh time and over the years I’ve gleaned a few tips to make the trip even better. Here are two of my favorites:
1. I buy the postage for (buy the stamps otherwise they have to date the postage which isn’t useful for you a week or two later) and grab the still-flat priority mail boxes which fit in the bottom or even the front zipper pocket of most suitcases to make sending books back home easy.
2. I grab snack packs of nuts and crackers to carry with me in case I’m so busy I can’t stop to eat lunch but need the energy.
The Romantic Times Convention can be pretty overwhelming for a first-timer, with so much on offer at any given time. It’s also one of my favorite conferences. Because it’s less formal than many national conferences, I find that the opportunities for coincidental meetings and networking-as opposed to entirely scheduled meetings to discuss predetermined business-are greater. The possibilities are what makes the convention shine for me.
If this is your first RT Convention, you may want to check out the happenings in advance and map out what you’ll want to do, keeping in mind that you won’t do it all. Chances are you’ll need some downtime to process what you’ve learned, and being “on” all day every day can be exhausting. That’s not just for us pros! But truly, do as much as you can. Conventions aren’t inexpensive to attend and all that amazing talent, experience and information all in one place…well, don’t let it go to waste!
I’ve been to several previous RT conventions, and they are always a fun time. Today, I thought I would share some of my tips for the convention.
Wear comfortable shoes: I know, I know, everyone wants to look good and break out their cool shoes. But you will do a ton of walking, even just around the hotel, going from one panel and one event to the other. Plus, you’ll have to stand in line for some of the events, and you don’t really want to do that in high heels, do you? Trust me, pack some comfortable shoes to wear during the day and save the heels for the parties. Actually, I’ll probably wear my sneakers to the parties too. LOL.
Plan your schedule: Go through the conference schedule and make a note of the events that you really, really want to attend. If there’s an author that you’d like to meet, use the conference agenda to see what events she’ll be at. Doing a little planning will help you make sure that you get the most out of the convention.
Make time for friends: One of the best parts about RT is catching up with friends that you’ve met at previous conferences or online (as well as making new ones). So be sure to schedule time to have coffee or a meal with friends that are also attending the convention.
Get outside: One of the things I like most about RT is that it’s in a different city every year. So make some time during the convention to get out and explore New Orleans, which is full of great restaurants, museums, and more.
Take a break: There is something to do every hour of the day during RT, and the convention can quickly get overwhelming. So schedule some breaks during your day to relax, rest, and recharge.
Have fun and don’t be shy: Everyone at RT loves books and reading, and we’re all here to have a good time talking about books and reading. So just relax and enjoy yourself, and don’t be afraid to strike up a conversation with your neighbors while you’re standing in the event lines. You just might make some new friends for next year’s convention.
And those are some of my RT tips. What tips would you like to share? What are some of the events you’re looking forward to at this year’s convention? Hope to see you there!
It’s been a long time since Columbus, Ohio, my last RT Booklover’s Convention. Years, in fact. I watched, embittered and sour as the Los Angeles, Chicago and Kansas City versions of the gettogether passed me by. When I heard the convention would be held in New Orleans, though. Wild horses couldn’t hold me back. So, I’ll be there, reconnecting with friends (both new and old), my street team and my sweet sweet sazeracs (Hurricaines are for the amateurs on Bourbon Street).
You can catch me being terribly snarky, oversharing like a motha, and possibly reading the most heinous erotica aloud in dimly lit corners of the con hotel. And that’s just DURING the panels…wait until the drinking starts. Here’s my top five awesome Mark Henry moments I can’t wait to share with you.
5. The GINORMOUS-est RT Book Fair! They are literally unloading us off the back of semi-trucks this year and you don’t want to miss the chance to get all your stuff signed (books, ass cleavage, whatevs). One year I signed adult diapers!
4. The SWAGGIEST SWAG EVAH. This year, I’ve got TRADING CARDS and they’re awesome cuz I made ’em myself in crafts class! Plus, secret grab bags at the book fair for only the bravest of Mark Henry fans (ps. be prepared to buy an ebook to get one)! What’s inside? Could be something awesome, could be something horrifying. Either way, you’ll walk away with a treasure that you can take a pic of and plaster all over the internet!
3. BUTTONS OF AWESOME Scavenger Hunt!!! In ever RT Con bag you’ll find a card featuring twelve authors whose buttons you’ll be wrestling out of our cold dead hands (or, you know, we’ll give them to you if you ask). Collect them all and you could win a Kindle HD-something or other. It’s like the top of the line or something. Here’s my button…you want it. You know you want it.
2. Events! Three of ’em! See Mark’s entire schedule here.
1. UTTER (or udder) DEBAUCHERY (see items 1 through 4)
This will be my sixth RT and it will be in NOLA, which is my favorite city. I’ve come up with a list of advice to help make your experience fun and stress-free.
1. Pack a little emergency kit. Include pain reliever, Band-Aids (for blisters from all the walking in the uncomfortable but cut shoes you bought for the occasion), Emergen-C (travel+crowds=germs. Also a great hangover remedy), and antacids (NOLA’s food is unapologetically rich). I also always travel with coffee because hotels are notorious for bad brew and the nearest Starbucks will be packed with lines of zombie-esque convention goers every morning.
2. Carry a pair of flip-flops or comfy flats in your purse. This way when you’re feet are about to riot because of the torture devices you’ve strapped on to them you can easily trade them out for a comfy option without hiking back to your hotel room.
3. Schedule free time. Two reasons: First, you’ll be in New Orleans. It’s a city that begs to be explored and you’ll kick yourself if you don’t make time to see some sights while you’re there. Definitely go to Jackson Square to see the cathedral and Moon Walk and grab a beignet at Café du Monde, and try to get to the Garden District on the St. Charles Streetcar, if you have time. The locals in NOLA are incredibly friendly and it’s one of the best walking cities in the world. Grab a couple of your new friends and go explore. Second, being around thousands of people can take a toll on you. Give yourself a couple of sanity breaks to ensure you don’t get cranky or overwhelmed.
4. Be brave. RT is packed with interesting people. Whether it’s saying hi to your favorite authors or meeting other readers, making connections is half the fun at RT. Believe it or not, authors really do love meeting their readers. Come say hi if you see us in the bar or after panels or during the big book signing. Just try to remember that we’re working at the convention. Meals are often used for meetings with editors and colleagues so it’s best to not interrupt, and if you see an author rushing somewhere they’re probably late for a panel or a meeting.
5. Have fun! Go to the balls and parties. Grab swag and free books. Go to the panels to find out what your favorite authors are working on. Hang out in the hotel bar at night for gossip and meeting cool people.
Be sure to drop by tomorrow to get your first look at this year’s limited edition RT swag!