I am sure everyone is fully aware of the RT convention. RomanticTimes is a force within itself and I will say I have mad respect for anyone that can organize any convention.
I don’t mean to go to the dark side here, but let me give you some background information about ME. I have been to about 10 other reader focused events and/or conventions in the last 3 years or so. I have been to some here locally and some far-far away. I like to think of myself as outgoing and extroverted. I prefer to think of myself as relaxed, although this is really a fantasy I keep hoping will come true. I am uptight, alright. I don’t like huge crowds, I don’t like people in my personal space, and I certainly do not like waiting. This is just me. These things bother me on a fundamental level and let my inner demons rise to the forefront of my being. Do you get the picture? Are you seeing my face pre-panic attack?
Now, RT is fucking huge. Massive. I have no idea how many people actually attended, and that is likely where the some of these problems arise from. I cannot tell you how many readers were there and I am not sure how many authors were actually there either. A fuck ton. OK.
So here is my recap of the good and the bad of RT2015.
~ The Arrival ~ Tuesday ~
My BFF, another blogger, and myself arrived at the Hotel around 10:00 am-ish. I was stoked that the Hotel had the room ready early, as requested. The Blogger & Reviewer Conference and Symposium was scheduled to begin at 11:00 am. The blogger symposium was put on by Smart Bitches, Trashy Books and Dear Author. I felt a little conflicted because I honestly do not want to monetize Booked & Loaded. I enjoy making some small change to help offset all of the costs of having this website, but actually monetary gain has never been my goal and likely never will be. The schedule for the blogger symposium didn’t make it feel that was what this focused on, but It did feel like it during this event. However, I did learn some great information – so I still think it was worth my time. I will say compared to other blogger events, I felt most of the bloggers were very standoff-ish. I truly didn’t meet one other bloggers at this event that I talked to beyond “hi” (that I didn’t previously know). I think that was the most shocking thing about it. Both of the bloggers putting this event on were extremely kind and very informative on the subjects they were there to talk about. I really did appreciate this!
The rest of Wednesday was hanging out with friends and preparing ourselves for the next day with drinks.
They kicked off early with the “First Timer” (aka RT Virgin) Orientation. With this many people my attention span turned into something just past laberdoodle level and after 15 minutes of an attempt to make us all feel informed, I just felt board out of my mind. I was not the only one. So, I decided life was too short and left shortly after arriving.
Next we went forth and attended the Welcome Party. I sat with a few friends and again had the attention span of a damned 3 year old. A bunch of us made it about 20 minutes in before getting ants in our pants and leaving.
We decided to take a break and hang out some with some friends that were also at the con. Next up was Sci-Fi Cooties in Space – How to keep the Romance without losing the Rocketships! We stood in line to make sure we got in. Major props to these authors. Donna Frelick, MD Waters, Monette Michaels, Rachel Aaron, Linnea Sinclair and Sabine Priestley were a lot of fun and right up my alley. However, I felt that a lot of the questions were geared towards the writing end and not so much reader focused. This seemed to be a trend during the week.
Our next trip was to the Paranormal: Happily Forever After – Writing Beyond the Kiss with Chloe Neill, Diana Pharaoh Francis, Jennifer Estep, Kerrelyn Sparks, Kresley Cole, Rachel Aaron, and narrated by Ilona Andrews. OMG the lines..seriously. We had to wait in a very long line to get into this one as well and started to feel very panicked. This was a great lineup, but felt the questions being asked were pretty bla. I want something exciting! Haven’t we established that I am damned toddler laberdoodle? The authors were very honest and I did enjoy this panel.
I wanted to attend the Care and Feeding of Authors with Ann Aguirre, Chloe Neill, Jaye Wells, Molly Harper, Nicole Peeler, and Rachel Caine but after getting an eye full of the line I just could not do it.
I went ahead and just decided to get in line for the Mad Hatter Fantasy Tea Party in hopes that the front of the line would not be so overwhelming. HAHAHA. That was funny. There was a serious line, but I did have a great time. A couple of the authors attending this I was lucky enough to meet at a few other conventions so they made me really feel at home and it was always a pleasure to see them! *waves at Mina and Tamari*
Later that night was the Taste of Texas Romance Rodeo. I was on so much stimulation overload I did not go, but one of the girls did and it looked like a lot of you had a really good time.
We kicked off the morning Samhain’s No Waiting Dating. Serious props to Samhain. This was a hectic, but really great event. Readers switched tables every so often and although it didn’t allow for a lot of conversation, I really did enjoy myself. This was probably the only event where I felt like a connected with a new author! We had so very much in common including our love for New Orleans and her obsession with everything Alaska. *waves at Juliette Cross*
Next I decided to skip the panel strictly on the basis of still feeling too overwhelmed in the panels, but went to the Cover Model karaoke. For the record I am not big on the whole cover model thing, but really like a lot of the authors hosting this and it was certainly a lot of fun to watch.
And onto the Bethany House & Revell’s Chocolate Festival. So, we were slightly late for this and pretty much was wiped out of chocolate. So we decided to go ahead and wait in line for Riptide Publishing’s Cards Against Humanity: Queer Romance Addition. OK this was WAY fun. Honestly, the publisher did a brilliant job with this and it was my first introduction to CAH. I now own my own set. =)
I skipped some stuff in here. Totally not sure what I was doing….I think chatting with some author friends and jumping forward to skip one event to stand in line for the following thing. This was Pocket & Gallery Books. The publisher did a fun video and it was packed. I was overwhelmed.
The Wild Wild West Steampunk party was at night and I ran into and hang out with some friends. I loved seeing my author friends dressed up, but ultimately didn’t stay very long.
I DONT KNOW. Ok at this point I think I am phasing out or freaking out. Whatever. Honestly with lines on top of lines…It is just crazy so I am going to jump to the rest of the weekend by saying I had a great time at the Intergalactic Bar & Grill – the authors did a great job making us compete and be silly. The Swag Scavenger Hunt was also a complete blast and we had a lot of fun at this event too.
At one of the events we waiting in line for 3 hours in a hall filled with a line and most of the people rushing in just wanted the free stuff. I think this is where I differ. I am picky. I want what I know I will read and what my followers will enjoy. Getting pushed and rushed by people just grabbing stuff is so frustrating to me.
So the good: There is a ton to do.
The bad: you have to wait for a long time to do anything.
The good: There are a lot of authors at RT.
The bad: You will wait in line to get books signed, and not really talk to them.
My biggest complaint boils down to this. I paid $400+ for a ticket (as a reader/blogger) to attend the whole convention. On Friday about 4 times the readers show up and they have equal access to every event and everything else. This is where it turned into madness. It just did not feel fair that most of the people Friday and Saturday were there for their free stuff and completely swamped those of us that paid way more for their tickets and now had to wait in lines for HOURS to wait in line some more for a book or two. It just defeats why I attend a convention. I don’t attend conventions for FREE STUFF. Period. I attend to meet new authors and interact with them. I know this con is the biggest, but size is not always everything. You really do have to evaluate what you want out of a convention. I mean…if you are going to spend $400 for a ticket and another $700 on a hotel (if you stay the whole con) why don’t you just buy yourself 100 books? I didn’t really get to meet any new authors. Most of them were very busy talking with other author friends…not all, but certainly many.
I also feel the need to address another issue. I refuse to hold back because I am afraid or worried about getting blasted. I don’t really care. I am not a money making blog. I don’t want to be either. So, here it is.
The CEO of Romantic Times is slipping and she is trippin’. This goes for some authors too. NO CONVENTION IS PERFECT. NONE. Period. There is no magical con that will rise you into famedom and bless you with wealth. Get over it. If they promise you this or if you are looking for this, you need a reality check. Kathryn Falk has attacked more than one convention this year I am beyond annoyed. Hell, she attacked me personally on my own facebook profile. No one needs this drama. No one except shit stirrers listen and engage in this type of behaviour. There is NO reason for this kind of crazy. Do you want to know who it hurts? AUTHORS. That is who. Not the conventions. Not the readers. AUTHORS. Most conventions are not making money off the authors, but I can guarantee RT is. That is fine and I do not have a problem with it, but why would you try to destroy other conventions that are not? That are strictly non-profit? It should not be a competition. Different conventions cater to different things and different readers. I know there a lot of hard working volunteers and other employees at RT and you work your asses off. I don’t blame you for the actions of one, but I do want you to know that many are watching how the head of your organization is acting.
Authors – conventions will only provide what you are willing to put into it. Just like most things in life!
This was my first year to attend RT. Honestly, it wasn’t for me. It was too much and It felt impersonal. Just not my thing. All of these authors In these pictures knew me from other conventions. Including IRC (Indie Romance Convention), AAD (Authors After Dark), Rita’s and ‘Ritas, and TNEE (The Novel Experience). As you can see…I attend a variety of conventions ran by several other organizations. I am not taking sides of ONE convention. I am just stating what I have seen and what I have dealt with personally.
And yes…I am sure someone will screen shot this and share with the person called out….so be it. I am entitled to my opinion. I am entitled to state what I think is wrong with someone’s actions. I am not an author. I do not make money at this blog. However, if you feel the need to buy something at amazon please use my affiliate link. It might offset one month of this years costs. =)