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RT Convention

image courtesy of RT convention web site

This week is the RT Booklover’s Convention. For those of you who are unaware, it’s a huge conference and convention geared toward bringing readers and authors together. I’ve never gone before, but since it’s practically in my backyard this year, I thought I should go. The convention itself runs nearly the whole week, straight into the weekend. There are themed parties every night and from what I understand, much craziness.

This is what makes conferences hard for me.

I am a true introvert. This doesn’t just mean that I tend to be shy or quiet, although that is often true. It means that I need space and alone time to recharge. Surrounding myself with hundreds of people, even though I’m having a great time, takes its toll on me.

I attended Wednesday, the first official day of the convention. I waited until a little after noon to arrive because I didn’t plan on participating in the welcome parties. I managed to attend 2-1/2 sessions and by the time they were done, I felt a headache coming on. This is the kind of atmosphere where my husband, the ultimate extrovert, shines. He feeds off the energy and busy-ness of having other people around. (Like I said before – total opposites)

There is a lot of energy and an overload of information during the convention. The workshops I attended on Wednesday were mostly on promotion and marketing. I hope to get some craft/writing workshops in when I go back on Friday.

I find for me, that this is kind of an awkward convention. I wanted to go to check it out, but it’s awkward because I’m kind of stuck in limbo in my publishing career. The aspiring authors are crammed into a lot of the craft workshops and they want to grab the eye of editors and agents.

The published authors are all over. They interact with readers and play games and have parties and still (amazingly) attend and give some workshops.

I’m in limbo because I do have an agent and editor, but I don’t have a book. Right now, I don’t even have an official title or release date, so while I can tell people about my book, I can’t give them a card with the title or tell them when it will be available. For someone like me, who has a hard time networking to begin with, it’s doubly difficult.

Putting that aside, I did manage to talk to a few people that I’ve only known online and it’s always nice to have a real face to put with a screen name. Like I said, I focused on a few workshops on promotion and marketing because I know I need to start thinking about that. My book will be out before the end of the year, which feels like a long way off, but I know I’ll blink and it’ll be here.

I was hit with so much information, it’s a little overwhelming. One presenter didn’t offer much useful advice. It felt like she was trying to sell us on using her PR services.

Another presenter, however, was fabulous. Dana Kaye, of Kaye Publicity, is obviously also PR person, but she tailored her workshop to help authors do things themselves. That alone would make me want to hire her. Unfortunately, she doesn’t take on e-book authors. (And I don’t know if I could afford to hire her anyway.) But she left such a great impression that I would definitely tell others about her. She got me thinking about things I can do to reach out in unusual ways to promote my book. She also blogs on her web site and offers advice to writers. Yesterday’s post is about what to wear at conferences.

The last panel I attended was a panel of book reviewers. I went because I wanted to hear how they decide what to review and their process for everything. I think that as an author who’s going to rely on them, I should understand how they work. In truth, I really wanted to hear Smart Bitch Sarah talk. She’s hilarious and it’s fun just to listen because she’s passionate about romance.

How do you feel about conferences and conventions? Do you go to any as a reader or writer?

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About Shannyn Schroeder

Mom of 3, editor, and contemporary romance writer

8 responses »

  1. I haven’t been to any conferences or conventions as a reader, but I have as a writer. I live in the DFW area and we luckily have one of the biggest writing conferences of the year right here in our backyard. Writers from all over (including England) come over to our conference. Last year was my first trip to DFWcon and I’m really looking forward to the conference this May. I’ve already made plans to meet so many of my online writing friends!!

    Reply
  2. Shannyn, I’m a bit like you in that I’ve never been to the RT convention. (Now you’ve surpassed me in bravery.) I do go to RWA almost every year. It’s always fun and yet professional, and I get to catch up with old friends. Will check out the links. Thanks.

    Reply
    • I’ve never been to RWA. My local chapter does a conference every 2 years in April (at the end of this month, so I’ll be conferenced out). Since RWA is always in the summer and it’s so long, it’s hard for me to figure out childcare and stuff, especially since my husband tends to travel for work during the summer.

      And I don’t consider myself brave for going to RT. It was a convenience thing. If it wasn’t 15 minutes from my house, I wouldn’t have gone. 🙂

      Reply
  3. Hey, Shannyn. Sounds like the conference is good, introvert notwithstanding. But I have a really dumb question here: what does the RT stand for in RT Booklovers Convention?

    Reply
    • Not a dumb question at all. RT stands for Romantic Times, one of the first romance genre book review publications. Over the years, it’s been shortened to RT and they now review all genres of books. It is a great conference. One that I might do again, especially if I get to go out of town and not have to worry about a day job and 3 kids. If I need a break then, I could always go to my room. 🙂

      Reply
  4. Hi Shannyn,
    I’m so glad you enjoyed the talk yesterday and I’m glad you got something out of it. If you have an agent and an editor, now is the perfect time to be thinking about PR. I hope you enjoy the rest of the conference and don’t hesitate to get in touch if you have questions.

    Best,
    Dana

    Reply
    • Thanks for stopping by, Dana. I really did enjoy your presentation because like I said in the post, I didn’t feel like you were trying to sell to me. You offered real advice on how to think about promotion and get things done.

      Reply

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