Last week, I attended the annual Romantic Times convention in Columbus, Ohio. So I thought I would do a little wrap-up of some of the sights and sounds:
1) Southern Ohio is a massive speedtrap. Why is the speed limit 55 mph when the road is straight, flat, and I can see for two miles?
2) Columbus is a pretty cool city. The hotel was on one of the main drags through town, so there was lots to see/do within walking distance, which is always nice. I especially liked the North Market and all the food goodies inside. Yum!
3) I hit several panels during the convention — one on blogging, one on Twitter, a suspense panel with Barry Eisler and some other authors, a panel on contemporary romance, and one on publicity/marketing. One of the best panels that I went to was one with Jim Butcher and Charlaine Harris talking about how their books went from being books to being TV shows. Charlaine was hysterical. A very funny lady, and Jim was really cool too.
4) I also did a panel with author/TV producer Julie Kramer. We talked about how authors can pitch themselves and their books to the media. Julie had the idea to go around and figure out a quick pitch for everyone who came, which I thought was a really cool idea. I hope folks went away with some good information and some ideas for pitches.
5) During my panel, I had a bit of a fangirl moment. An author came in and described her book. As soon as she said Warprize, I knew that it was Elizabeth Vaughan, author of the book by that same title. So me being me, I pointed to her and shouted across the room “Elizabeth Vaughan! Warprize! I love your books! My friend loves your books!”
Elizabeth probably thinks I’m a freak now, but I went up to her after the panel and we had a nice little chat. She’s putting out a new book in the Warprize series, so I’m looking forward to that.
6) I met lots of authors at the conference, like Victoria Dahl, Julie James, Michelle Rowen, Shiloh Walker, Jackie Kessler, Heather Brewer, Kasey Mackenzie, Kat Richardson, Mark Henry, Lilli Feisty, M.A. Ellis, and tons of other folks. Almost everyone was really nice. One of the things I love most about conferences is putting faces with names and meeting other authors in person. It’s a treat.
7) The RT folks are great too. I chatted with the ladies who put the magazine together every month, and they are a lovely bunch of women. If you like books, RT really is a great magazine to subscribe to.
8) Of course, I did meet a few folks who weren’t so friendly or were downright rude. Meh. It happens. So what do I do when someone is less than polite to me? I simply don’t read their books. I know that people get tired and cranky at conferences (including yours truly), and I can’t even begin to imagine the demands on the big-name authors from fans at an event like RT. It’s got to be tough and exhausting for everyone to want a piece of you during a conference. Still, I always try to put my best foot forward and be nice to everyone. I hope I succeed at that, but at least I know that I’m not acting like a total diva. And yes, I have seen authors act like divas at conferences/book signings. It’s not pretty, and that kind of behavior does not endear an author to anyone — not to readers, not to booksellers, and not to other authors.
9) The big Saturday book signing went well. I had 15 copies of Spider’s Bite to sign, and I sold them all. This is the first time that I’ve ever sold out of books at a conference, which was a really nice feeling. Plus, several folks were looking for early copies of Web of Lies. I didn’t have any since the book isn’t out until May 25, but it was still nice of folks to ask. I also signed copies of the Bigtime books, although I didn’t sell out of those.
To everyone who came up and talked to me at the signing, thanks. I really do appreciate that and all the nice things that you had to say about my books. You totally made my conference.
10) My only complaint about the book signing was that the aisles were not nearly big enough, but they never are at these things. I was down the row from Jeaniene Frost, and her line quickly took up most of the aisle. They really should have given her a table by herself. Eventually, they did move her out to a bigger area. On the bright side, I got to chat with her fans about her books (which I really like) while they waited in line and some of them were interested in Spider’s Bite as well. So I figure it was win-win for everyone.
11) It always amazes me how clever people are at the book signing. Like Jackie from Literary Escapism, who had a board for authors to sign that she’s going to do a giveaway with. I thought that was really cool. And I’m totally going to invest in my own board to get my favorite authors to sign. Framing that and being able to see all the autographs is a great idea. Kudos, Jackie!
Instead of books, another lady had labels (bookplates) that she had authors sign. I thought that was clever because it meant that she didn’t have to try to lug a bag of heavy books down the crowded aisles. And I’m not just saying that because she said that she loved my books and had me sign several labels for her.
So there you have it. Some highlights from RT. If you’ve never been, it really is a fun conference and worth checking out. Got questions? I’ll answer them in the comments.