Romance author Frances Stockton is my guest today. She just returned from the RT convention with lots of news to share. Please pop in all day and ask Frances any questions you may have.
Getting the Most of the Event
By Frances Stockton
I’m so excited to be a guest today on author Diana Rubino’s blog! Before I get things started, let me personally thank Diana for inviting me to participate in her blog. It’s fantastic, informative and a true honor. In coming weeks, Diana is going to be a guest on my blog, as well. Do keep a look out for updates and announcements regarding her featured post.
As to the subject matter, I chose the Romantic Times Booklovers Convention. When I learned that I’d be posting, I thought about various subjects. As I’m an author of sensual Paranormal Romance for Ellora’s Cave Publishing and Cerridwen Press, I’d thought perhaps I’d tell you about my books. But to learn more, I hope you will consider checking out my website at http://www.francesstockton.com, to learn all the latest news, read excerpts and blurbs and reviews.
Instead, I chose the convention because, well, I was just there in Columbus, Ohio, and I had a fantastic time. If you haven’t had the opportunity to attend, whether you’re a reader, writer, bookseller, publisher or reviewer, there is something for everyone. During the day there are workshops for new and established authors, tracks designated for readers, booksellers and librarians, and many social opportunities. Personally, I attended workshops geared for where I am as a published author, and I came away with several pages of notes. The most hilarious workshop/panel that I attended was titled ‘Five Times a Night, Really?’ with authors Heather Graham, Kathy Love, Erin McCarthy, Barry Eisler and F. Paul Wilson. It gave an excellent point of view of love scenes from the male perspective and a woman’s, and frankly, it was spot on accurate and realistic, while still allowing for the romance we crave in our books.
Now, of course, when attending RT, expect a lot of parties, balls, and social opportunities. Each night, starting on Wednesday of the convention with Ellora’s Cave Publishing’s Fantasy Ball, there’s exactly that, a ball, featuring dancing, food, entertainment and recognition of the authors highlighted during the events. They are truly events! This year, EC is celebrating their 10th anniversary and the theme was ‘Paint the Town Red.’ Authors wore their favorite shades and splashes of red, red lights abounded, and the EC Cavemen walked the authors across the stage with book covers showcased on giant screens on the stage. Thank goodness for the models, or else we might trip. Good-natured, they gallantly guide us by the elbow, while looking splendid in suspenders and hats and bowties. On Thursday, the theme is the Fairy Ball. For 2010, the Fairy Court chose an elemental theme, Earth, Air, Fire, and Water. The court consisted of lovely and talented authors, including Bestselling Author Barry Eisler and many comical moments. There was a costume parade, a contest and plenty of dancing. Friday’s activities are capped off by the Vampire Ball. The costumes were incredible, with much imagination and fun given to the details. Cameras are always flashing as attendees get their first glimpses of what’s in store for the evening. Dorchester Publishing hosts the Saturday evening events, with a casual theme this year of ‘Prom Night’. There were attendees dressed as they might have done in the 70s and 80s, and current fashion, too. The dancing was awesome and memorable. But, of course, we were all celebrating the crowning of the newest Mr. Romance for 2010, Jamie Ungaro. Previous winners include Charles Paz, Chris Winters, Andrei Claude, John DeSalvo, Rodney Chapman, Jason Santiago, Rob Ashton and Mark Johnson. Many of them return year to year at RT, so next year, mark your calendars for Los Angeles 2011’s convention. I think it’ll be another great contest.
As to 2010, since it’s still fresh, let’s get to the meat of this post. RT is an awesome place to network and meet friends, industry professionals, readers, booksellers and so much more. To get the most of the event as an author, I recommend getting a spot on the RT swag table, where your promotional items are put on display. They are constantly being perused and there are some great items, too. On top of the pens and bookmarks, you can find mouse pads, mugs, temporary tattoos, candy, and my particular favorite this year, a laptop/computer screen cleaner. It works! There are also countless opportunities to give away books that you might have on your backlist or participate in a panel discussion featuring the genre or sub-genre that you write. Club RT, allows for readers, booksellers and librarians to sit down at a table with their favorite authors and simply talk. There are also two book fairs. These include the ebook/small press/comic expo, and the traditional mega huge author signings and appearances.
I didn’t have the chance to sign at the ebook expo last year, and had no idea what to expect. This year, I had two books available in ebook format, along with a trade paperback, so I signed at both. And you know what? They were awesome. Ellora’s Cave Publishing had beautiful cover flats for us to sign at the ebook expo, and many readers came by just to say hello. It wasn’t all about the sales, at least for me. It was about shaking hands and meeting people and seeing their faces when they saw the cover flats or read an excerpt available. I wish I had taken more giveaways, something I highly advise for 2011. The traditional book fair on Saturday was quite simply, packed! Of course, there were huge names signing that day. For a list, check out the Romantic Times Booklovers convention site or daily RT blog. Their updated and revamped website and blog debuted at the convention, and everything you need to know is there. But what was fun was watching the attendees and those who drove in to meet their favorite authors. What a rush it was to be part of it.
Again, if you haven’t attended RT in the past, I recommend that you consider it for 2011. Whether you are a fan of romance books, an author, bookseller or industry professional, there is really something for everyone. It is fun, a little tiring, yes, but fun! And when you’re laughing with a fan or a new friend on the dance floor, memories abound and the next time you see them, you can get a hug or handshake or a cup of java at the closest coffee shop. Not to mention the workshops, the parties, the panels, and the various opportunities to meet and greet some of the top bestselling authors in Romance, as well as authors and professionals from other genres such as Thrillers, Suspense, and Mystery. If you’re an aspiring author, there are tracks just for you, including appointments with editors and agents where you can pitch your manuscript. If you’re a reader or fan, consider 2011. You will not leave the convention without a suitcase full of books and autographs, but special note, take advantage of whatever postal delivery service is available at the convention site so that you can ship everything home. That, or take a second, empty, suitcase that you can fill with all the giveaways!
Next year, I sure hope to see you in Los Angeles at the Romantic Times Booklovers Convention 2011. Planning has already begun, and it’s little wonder, Jo Carol Jones, and her tremendous crew, does a phenomenal job year to year. I’m so glad and honored that Diana invited me here today and allowed me to post about RT 2010. It was the topic on my mind, and now, of course, to anyone who reads and comments here, either about 2010’s RT, past RTs, or has a question about anything regarding the convention, your name will be placed into a drawing for an Amazon.com giftcard. I’ll check back throughout the day and I sure hope to hear from you. I’ll keep the contest open over the weekend and announce the winner Monday.
A special thank you to Diana, her readers, and everyone who checks out this post, it is my hope that you come away learning something new or interesting. To learn more about me or my books, check out http://www.francesstockton.com.