We asked Kathy T., one of our esteemed XOXperts, to recount her experience attending the 2015 RT Booklovers Convention. Below you’ll find her rundown of how the convention works, her fond memories, and even some great tips to keep in mind if you’re attending RT or any other convention in the future! Have you been to RT or another book convention? Tell us about it in the comments below!
Kathy (pictured middle) with bestselling authors Christina Lauren!
Last year I was very lucky to be able to attend my very first RT booklovers convention. It was a last minute decision to attend and I really had no idea what to expect when I arrived. But, RT not only exceeded my expectations, it was one of the highlights of my year!
You know how movie lovers get all fan-girl happy when they have an opportunity to meet their favorite movie stars? Well, for the avid reader this is pretty similar to how we feel when we find ourselves not only being given an opportunity to meet our favorite authors, but to also be able to mingle with them one-on-one. I was definitely in fan girl heaven! Authors were everywhere and having an opportunity to meet some of my favorite authors in person was truly an eye-opening experience. Some of them were outright comedians, like the ladies on the Paranormal Romance panel. They had me laughing out loud and it was really fun to be able to connect with them on a personal level. Seeing their personalities and mannerisms in the flesh made me realize why I like their writing so much. It really surprised me how most of the authors were so comfortable getting personal, conversing and playing with their fans. There is a lot of playtime at RT and the authors are all right there in the middle of it all. I have a fond memory of playing Pictionary with some authors in one of the panels. We were all shamelessly sharing our terrible drawing skills, dancing to some tunes and just letting our hair down together. It was loads of fun.
Put simply, RT is a gigantic book party where you can meet fellow bloggers, editors, readers, authors and publishers, and divulge in all things books. If I had to describe my experience in one word it would be “overwhelming”. There was so much to do and so many people I wanted to meet. I wanted to do everything but that wasn’t possible. By Friday night I was already on the verge of a complete physical meltdown. Pacing yourself is important! So, the first lesson I learned is that going in with a game plan is a must. If you are planning on attending the convention this year, here are a few tips to help you prepare:
–Go over the schedule thoroughly before the convention begins and highlight everything you want to do and make a schedule. Be sure to schedule in rest time, eating time and time to maybe stop by your room and unload. It gets tiring carrying around all of the bags you will accumulate throughout the day. Publishers are exceedingly generous during the convention, as well as the authors. It is helpful to bring a rolling bag or small rolling suitcase to make carrying the loot around easier. I had a small one that came in very handy.
–Wearing good walking shoes and comfortable clothing is a must. There is a lot of walking, standing and waiting, and you might be asked to participate in silly games or activities that will be more fun to participate in if you are comfortable. While waiting in line to enter into the various panels and sessions I often found myself sitting on the floor easing my achy feet.
–You also will need to bring along your social butterfly hat! I spent quite a lot of time mingling and socializing while I was waiting in line. I actually think that was my favorite part of RT. Meeting and talking with new people with whom we all share a common love and interest. I made quite a lot of new friends that I still keep up with a year later.
When the convention ended and I finally arrived home I was completely exhausted but feeling good that I took a few days to do something just for my own enjoyment. It’s not often that I take time to just hang out, have fun and put the worries and daily responsibilities away for a while. And, what better way to do that than to spend some one-on-one time with the people who enrich my life every day with their wonderful stories. The whole experience was so surreal. It was like a trip to Hollywood, except I was hanging out with authors instead of actors. Yes, I am a total book nerd and nope, I’m not ashamed to admit it. If you are a lover of books, there really is no better place to be than RT. And, if you ever get an opportunity to attend one of these conventions just go for it. You will not regret the experience!