RT Booklovers Convention 2015 in Pictures

May 28, 2015

Now that I’ve recovered from the Romantic Times Booklovers Convention and the holidays are behind us, I thought I’d share a few pics. Sadly (for you), some photos are filed under the heading “What Happens at RT, stays at RT” and not for public consumption—to protect the guilty. But, if you happen to see me somewhere, ask, I’ll gush all about the details.

The convention was a success. I attended fabulous workshops, met new friends, had fun with old ones, networked, hugged and posed with cover models, loaded up on free books, partied, and had an awesome book signing. I feel like I scored. 🙂

 

Packing is always a challenge.

Packing is always a challenge.

 

Pretty sweet view.

Pretty sweet view.

The all-important badge.

The all-important badge.

When in Rome (or Dallas, as it were).

When in Rome (or Dallas, as it were). First night, Romance Rodeo.

11147199_902151526493784_7436798552091654007_n

Oh…the cuttin’ up we did this night. Polished silverware, bruised knees, BrokeBack Mountain, Poo-pourri, gambling, half-naked men (both hideous and handsome), and, of course, alcohol were involved this night.

Long lines for reader events were everywhere.

Long lines for reader events were everywhere.

Steampunk one night...

Steampunk one night…

Harelquin-inspired tu-tu-wearing cowgirl the next.

Harlequin-inspired tu-tu-wearing cowgirl the next. (With the fabulous Joanna Grace.)

Got in a little sight-seeing on my way to my publisher's cocktail party. This is the Sixth Floor Museum, formly known as the Texas Book Depository from which JFK was assasinated.

Got in a little sight-seeing on my way to my publisher’s cocktail party. This is the Sixth Floor Museum, formerly known as the Texas Book Depository from which JFK was assassinated.

Spotted this guy sporting a man-bun and thought of all you. Can't tell from the photo, but he was kinda hunky, wearing a suit, shiny shoes, and listineing to music.)

Spotted this guy sporting a man bun and thought of all you. Can’t tell from the photo, but he was kinda hunky, wearing a suit, shiny shoes, and listening to music.

Did I mention all the cover models?

Did I mention all the cover models?

Book Signing Bonanza!

Book Signing Bonanza!

My spot among the magical melee.

My spot among the magical melee.

Had a turn with the Anti-Bullying campaign. It was a great way to round out the week!

Had a turn with the Anti-Bullying campaign. It was a great way to round out the week at FANtastic Day.

I’m hoping to have a repeat performance next year when RT goes to Las Vegas! Whoo boy!

 


Cherry Popping and Fizzle

May 22, 2014

Song of the Day: Shine by Sevendust

My cherry has been popped and I can’t help but feel, well, screwed. Last week, I attended the Romantic Times Booklovers Convention in New Orleans. I’m no longer a RT virgin. Don’t get me wrong. I had an AMAZING time. The workshops, panels, socials, and meeting readers, had palpable energy and excitement, and all in the heart of New Orleans. It was crazy, fantastic. (Pictures of shenanigans coming soon!) I’m looking forward to attending again next year in Dallas.

SI ExifBeing a reader’s convention, I attended to meet and connect with readers. And I met some wonderful readers both young and old. But one of the focuses involving readers is the Giant Book Fair. This is where I feel cheated.

Let me explain. The Book Fair was split up into two rooms—one for the traditionally published and one for the digital first, small press and indie authors, such as myself. In a way, the separation made business sense because of administration. The traditional published books fall into the returnable category, meaning books sold could be returned to a bookstore—in this case Barnes & Noble, being the bookstore handling the fair. The indie, small press, digital first authors were selling their books on consignment. So in one room, B&N handled the sales, while in the other room the sales were handled by RT staff. I had no real beef with the set-up except that it made for long, nightmarish check-out lines for readers.

Call me naive, but the separation of authors didn’t become apparent to me until I actually arrived at RT and looked at the brochure. Being a virgin, I didn’t immediately recognize the problem. Not until the first few minutes of the signing did it become painfully clear.

From my vantage at my itty bitty table space, I could see hordes of people being ushered into the “main” ballroom, stuffing them in, really. No one, save a few friends and business associates, meandered into our room.

It was awkward. It was dismal. Questions of failure and suckiness flitted through my mind (and I wasn’t the only one). But not more than the shitty feeling of insignificance. This was compounded by the constant announcements reminding readers to visit the indie room, and the ill-informed volunteer who, bless her heart, explained to readers which ballroom to find the traditional authors and which to find the “aspiring authors”. Yeah…  I’ll let that sink in. It was even suggested (IE announced overhead) the indie authors needed to be patient as we wanted it that way, meaning we chose consignment thereby choosing separation.

So for 3+ hours, potential new readers and fans never made it to my table. Or by the time they drifted in, they’d spent their money in the other room. Frustration and disappointment abounded.RT book signing

The money spent on any conference or convention—registrations, travel, meals, incidentals and dollars spent on promo and swag—will garner no ROI, return on investment. It’s a truth. What I do expect from a readers convention is connecting with fans and discoverability. Hard to do when relegated to the kiddie table.

So what’s the solution? I’ve heard many opinions. One suggestion was to separate authors by genres only, not publishing criteria, making it easier for readers of that genre to find books they’d love. They do it with YA, after all. Another suggestion was to have the traditional published books and the consignment books held at different book fair time slots. And yet another approach I’ve heard several times is to have consignment authors sell their book directly from their table using a mobile point-of-sale tool like Square. I, personally, don’t like the idea of using a Square. From a consumer standpoint, I wouldn’t want to do this kind of buying with every author I’d want to purchase from. Human nature dictates that I’d feel like I’m spending a lot of money and I’d limit myself. All these ideas have their pros and cons, and they ultimately still separate the authors.

There doesn’t seem to be one right way that wouldn’t be without problems. But perhaps a page could be taken from the Romance Writers of America’s literacy book signing. It’s alphabetical regardless of how the authors are published, all the authors are in one room, and all payments are handled by the staff. Surely a compromise in payment administrations could be reached.

All that said, I wholeheartedly appreciate the hard work put in by RT volunteers, staff and organizers. With 700 signing authors and swarms of readers, pulling off the book fair was no easy feat. Let’s just hope lessons are learned and faulty judgment are not repeated. Otherwise, my cherry may find somewhere else to get love.

Thoughts? Comments?


Link of the Week – The Novel Experience

July 16, 2013

3 Days. 3 Genres. 900 authors!

THE NOVEL EXPERIENCE

It’s the largest mass signing in the country and it is open to all genres of fiction writing.

March 28-30th 2014  at the Hyatt Regency Hotel at Peachtree in Atlanta GA, 900 authors will participate in an weekend of signing, engaging with readers, special events, and parties. Registration is a mere $125. For loads of additional information, check out the website.

http://thenovelexperienceevent.blogspot.com/

http://thenovelexperienceevent.blogspot.com/p/faq.html

Seriously. This looks like fun!


A Book Signing to Remember (despite the spinning room)

December 28, 2011

Song of the Day: She Will Be Loved – Maroon 5

A few weeks ago, before the madness of the holidays consumed me, I participated in my first ever official book signing. with romantic suspense authors Melissa Ohnoutka and Will Graham. It was a grand event held at Drew’s Pastry Place. A pastry shop you might ask.  Yes, we meet there, along with fellow MuseTracker, Stacey, every Friday. Drew’s support of our merry band affectionately dubbed The Usual Suspects is amazing and it only made sense to have our signing there.

Like relatives who cause you severe mental anguish by forcing upon you an endless slide show of their vacation to *insert boring, mind-draining destination here*, I am sharing my experience with you. And what a great turn-out we had! So many family, friends, and even a few fans came out to support us.

Let me begin with a reminder. You may remember from a previous blog post, Dressing the Part – Corsets, Torture, & Voyeuristic Pirates, that I intended to dress as a pirate wench for books signings and bought a corset. Investment, I said. After my dear hubby cinched me up and I was on my way to the signing, I learned a valuable lesson. Corsets and driving do not mix. Take a moment, if you will, close your eyes and visually imagine my distress –back straight as an arrow, boobs doing the steering, cursing each right light…

I digress.

For your viewing pleasure, I give you a pictorial of the book signing.

Quick! Take the blasted picture before I pass out! Must...smile..then breathe...

The Authors in question. Melissa Ohnoutka, Will Graham, and yours truly.

The set-up. Each of us were given flowers, a lovely gift from a fellow writer. Thanks, Nancy!

It all felt surreal. I iz real author now.

Supportive friends!

Who's that behind Melissa? Best-selling author Christie Craig showing us the love.

Enjoying a rum ball. Yum!

The beautiful cake Drew whipped up for us.

We couldn't cut the cake without Drew. I won't mention why he was grinning so, but I will say it wasn't because we gushed about his creation.

The Usual Suspects. It was so wonderful to share the signing with such great friends.

I couldn’t have asked for a more spectacular book signing.  Despite the corset, I didn’t pass out from lack of oxygen and managed to stay quite coherent throughout. Once my boobs drove us home, I was so glad to have hubby un-harness me. But you know, I’d do it again in a heartbeat.