Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Review: Romantic Times Booklovers Convention

Well, I just returned from the Romantic Times Booklovers Convention in Columbus, Ohio. Since this was my first RT, I thought I would review it for anyone who might be interested in attending in the future. http://www.rtbookreviews.com/convention-home

First, a little background. RT booklovers Convention is designed for booklovers of all types. (Readers, aspiring authors, published authors, booksellers, etc.) The genre’s represented extend beyond Harlequin “bodice rippers” to include young adult, paranormal romance, historical romance, sci-fi romance and urban fantasy. Programs run from practical information on the publishing business and writing craft to fun programs such as “Vamps, Tramps & Skeeves.” Published authors, agents, editors and other industry experts are on hand for questions and advice. Saturday is largely made up of a giant book fair where the authors are available to sign their books. While most in attendance leave after the book fair, Social Sunday is an informal day of games and hanging out with authors.

Perhaps the biggest attraction for me (and the reason I endured the nine hour drive to Ohio) is the ability to meet one-on-one with agents and editors to pitch you manuscript. For those of us not living in New York, this is a priceless opportunity. Going to RT, I knew that my manuscript would not fit into the niche these people were looking for. It’s not a romance, after all. However, with networking, sometimes you have to take chances. You never know who you might meet. While one editor might be focused on erotic S&M novellas, another editor in their company might be looking for women’s fiction. I ended up pitching to four editors. Two were interested and asked for my manuscript to be emailed to them. One only handled erotic romance, but otherwise liked my ideas. The fourth one gave me the best rejection ever! Her company only handles hot & heavy romance, but she asked to look at my sample chapters anyway. After complimenting it and quoting passages that she liked for several minutes, she invited me to a party. She said she I would be a NY bestselling author one day and she wanted to be able to say she hung out with me before I was famous. (Yes, my heart pounded out of my chest!)

The other major highlight of the convention was the opportunity to meet my favorite authors. While I don’t read romance, I do read a lot of urban fantasy and paranormal novels. Forgive me while I name drop, but I have to tell you who I met: JR Ward, Charlaine Harris, Richelle Mead, Lauren Dane, Jeaniene Frost, Heather Brewer, Heather Graham, Mary Janice Davidson, Jessica Anderson, and about a million more. Multiple Author-Gasms!!!!! I found it interesting that many of the longest lines at the book signing were for authors of Vamp books. Yes, I spent too much money at the book fair, but I accumulated a lot of free books too. (Another benefit of the convention.) I actually had the opportunity to sit with the fabulous Lauren Dane at lunch on my first day and talk to her several times after that. She turned out to be incredibly nice. She even agreed to join in remotely for my June book club when we will be reading her book “Relentless.” I also got an impromptu psychic reading from author Jade Lee!

For those who might be interested, the Mr. Romance competition is also held at RT. That meant the place was crawling with creepy, over-developed, hunks of fake tanned men. For those inclined, they would pose for photos with you. (They were not my type at all. I like skinny and pale book-nerds. Oh, Rob Pattinson…) I stayed away from The Fabios as much as possible. However, on Saturday I walked into a room to see one of them doing a photoshoot with fifty fat, middle-aged, horny women staring on. They whole thing made me feel dirty and I left fairly quickly.

Each evening, there were parties and dances. I only attended the Vampire Ball (Fabulous costumes!) and the Twilight party. Both were great fun. If I had stayed at the hotel where the convention was held, I probably would have attended all of the parties. Great way to network!

Overall, I give the Romantic Times Booklovers Convention:

Value for the Price – 4 bookmarks

Convention Venue – 2 bookmarks (Rooms nice, but lack of bathrooms)

Book Fair – 2 bookmarks (Lots of authors there, but ran out of merchandise early on the books in demand)

Ability to Induce Author-Gasms – 4 ½ bookmarks

Networking Ability – 4 ½ bookmarks

The Fabios – Negative 3 bookmarks. I just found them fake and creepy.

Likelihood that I will go to RT again – 3 bookmarks. Next year, RT will be in LA. I don’t think I could afford that. I had a lot of fun though, and would love to take my friend Tori. I guess whether there is another RT in my future will depend on finances and location.

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