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.

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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!

 


RT 2014 in (Tomfoolish) Pictures

May 28, 2014

As promised, here are a few pictures of my adventures at the 2014 Romantic Times Booklovers Convention in New Orleans. Man…I love that city.

A room with a view.

And it comes at a price.

And it comes at a price.

First night was spent at Mardi Gras World. Beads, sampling fare, stilt walkers and entertainers, live music on the Mississippi waterfront.

First night was spent at Mardi Gras World. Beads, floats, sampling fare, stilt walkers and entertainers, and live music on the Mississippi waterfront.

Starting the mornings off right. My very first visit to the legendary original French Market coffee stand.

Starting the mornings off right. My very first visit to the legendary coffee shop.

Beignets! Orgasmic Goodness!

Beignets! Orgasmic Goodness!

Lots of great workshops, including ones put on by publishing professionals like Amazon

Lots of great workshops, including ones put on by publishing professionals like Amazon

And fun reader workshops put on by moi and my fellow Ruby-Slippered Sisters.

And fun reader workshops put on by moi and my fellow Ruby-Slippered Sisters. Why are we wearing boas?

Because we hosted a burlesque dancing workshop. Trust me when I say sexy fun was had by all. No chickens were haqrmed in this event despite the floor was covered in red plumes.

Because we hosted a burlesque dancing workshop. Trust me when I say sexy fun was had by all. No chickens were harmed during this event despite the floor being covered in red plumes.

Some spicy lunch was required. When in Rome...

Some spicy lunch was required. When in Rome…

And a little sight seeing  and shopping in Jackson Square.

And a little sight seeing and shopping in Jackson Square.

Pub Crawl on Bourbon Street. Yeah...this was sponsored by publishers. It's dangerous letting authors out in roaming hordes.

Pub Crawl on Bourbon Street. Yeah…this was sponsored by publishers. It’s dangerous letting authors out in public roaming in hordes.

They take selfies. Eliza Knight made a great crawl buddy.

They take selfies. Eliza Knight made a great crawl buddy.

Take photo ops with New Orleans firefighters. I mean, who wouldn't, right?

They take photos with New Orleans firefighters. I mean, who wouldn’t seize the opportunity, right?

They take more selfies. (Eliza, Anne Marie Becker & me)

They take more selfies. (Eliza, Anne Marie Becker & me)

They ride mechanical bulls dressed as a pirate, holding in the goods.

They ride mechanical bulls dressed as a pirate, holding in the goods. Sorry, I couldn’t upload the video. 😀

And when done, they attend a Saints & Sinners party. My angelic dance partner, Vivvi Andrews.

And when done, they attend a Saints & Sinners party. My angelic dance partner, Vivi Andrews.

It all culminates to a giant book signing. I just adore my huge book poster!

In the end, it all culminated to a giant book signing. I just adore my huge book poster!

 

I had an incredible time. The buzz of the readers, the energy from the workshops, the incredible vendors, the craziness of Fan-Tastic Day, and the excitement of the parties were memorable. To top it off, I hung out with old friends and met new ones, and met some pretty cool readers. I’m looking forward to doing it again in 2015.

Comments? Heckles? Snickers?

 


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?