Earlier this month I met a bunch of friends at the Romantic Times Convention in Las Vegas from April 13 to April 17. For those of you who have never attended or heard of the event, it’s an author and reader convention that takes place over almost a week of time. During the week the focus for authors is on writing and marketing books. During the week there are a variety of different panels and events fore readers that give an opportunity to have books signed. The convention also gives readers a chance to talk to authors in an informal and less rushed setting than is typical at a book signing.
Over the weekend there are large organized book signings, as well as smaller events with free books, giveaways, swag, signings and authors all around the room. If you’re interested in getting to know a particular author better, this is a fantastic event, and sooooo much fun. There are a lot of different options for tickets, I won’t go into them all, but I have some suggestions. If you want to spend the week there and learn and meet authors then spending a couple $100 on the ticket for the whole event might be worth it. If you don’t want to go that far, you can purchase single day tickets, or what I recommend is the FANtastic Day Ticket for Saturday. It’s reasonably priced and includes a couple different events with lots of opportunities to meet authors. Check the schedule before booking too, it’s overwhelming but give a good idea of who is where when.
I arrived late on Wednesday night and with a friend went to the bar. It didn’t take long to run into one of my favorite authors, Helena Hunting. I’ll be honest, I don’t remember much of the conversation, but she was really nice and knew me from her group on Facebook that I’m active in, and recognized me from the signing in Philly last year. I met a few other fans of hers there too, names I had seen on Facebook finally had faces.
Thursday I met up with Alice Clayton and Nina Bocci, I have spoken with both in the past so it was nice to meet them in person. What I loved most about these two was the sense of community I got from them. The authors support each other, help with writing and promoting each other and keeping each other from going crazy when they’re hitting the publish button on a new book.
The rest of Thursday was spent with friends exploring Las Vegas and ended with a highlight. When coming back from seeing The Thunder From Down Under we ran into E L James at the bar. She was sooo sweet and happy to see a group of fans there. We didn’t spend too much time with her, but she did mention reading my post from the previous day and thanked me for and gave me a big squishy hug. I had brought a gift for her, which I didn’t have with me, but she said she would be around for a few days.
Friday was another big day, and one where I was able to introduce a friend of mine to Ann Marie Walker. Ann Marie and I became friendly when I first joined the fandom and met last year in NYC. It was fabulous to see her again before she goes back in the writing cave for her new series. I would run into Ann Marie several times over the weekend and she helped brake the ice for a more normal conversation I had with Sylvia Day on Saturday.
Friday was also the day of a meetup that Helena Hunting was having at one of the bars in the hotel. It was a smallish group where I brought my beaver and yeti, readers of the Pucked Series will know what I’m talking about. Helena talked to us a bit as a group and individually, she gave us some goodies, signed stuff, and took pictures. Her husband Sebastian was there too, and he’s also sweet. I ran into him later at another event and he came right up to me to talk to me. It’s little things like that that made it a special event.
A bunch of other awesome authors came to Helena’s event, they worked on Felony Ever After with her and it was a great opportunity to meet them. They stopped and chatted with us, took pictures, and signed books. I had never read any of Katherine Stevens, S.M. Lumetta, or Leisa Rayven until Felony Ever After. They all moved up the TBR list, and even more so after meeting them. They were all sooo nice, and whenever I saw them around RT they recognized me and said hi. I even learned that one of them lives in my area, so we had a nice chat about NYC.
Next I met Shay Savage, and I’ll be honest, I thought she might be a little crazy when I first met her. And she is a little crazy. BUT, when I sat down to talk to her I found out that she was not just smart, but intelligent. She started writing for fun and when it worked for her, made that her career. I appreciate people like that, they’re a good reminder that no one has to stay in a life or career that doesn’t fit them. I also met her cover model and friend, who is known as Savage Trainer on Twitter. At first I wondered if he would be just a pretty face, but he was smart and sweet and just a plain old nice guy. He was not the only cover model I met, and while they were all very nice and fun to chat with, Savage Trainer seemed the most grounded of them all.
On Saturday my group was all up early for the Giant Book Fair, though we all seemed to get separated from the very start. The Giant Book Fair has somewhere around 800 authors signing and while there are a lot of lines, very few were long and the long ones were well managed. Here I was able to say hello to a few authors I already met, but also get books singed from some other authors I hadn’t seen or hadn’t had a chance to meet. It’s a bit overwhelming at the book fair, but a great opportunity. I also saw several authors roaming around the fair, which was cool. Here you could bring your own books, or buy books (there were limited quantities). In spite of being so overwhelming, it was also really well organized. After I stopped at UPS and shipped some books home! I think I got all my books signed within an hour, so there really is time to get books signed here.
After this we stopped and had lunch at one of the hotel restaurants where half way through lunch Elsa told me that Erika (E L James) was walking in and sat down at the table behind us. AND, I had my gift with me. What proceeded was a conversation about when to go over so I didn’t interrupt lunch. We decided to go after the group ordered lunch. Erika is really and truly awesome, after giving her the gift she was happy to sign a book which I explained I would give away on the Fifty Shades Fan Podcast, she then offered that we should take a picture with the book. I was just happy with the book, but she really plused the moment. After that we left her alone with her friends, which included Ruth Clampett, who I’ve met before and was so sweet when we were at the table.
Later in the afternoon I attended the FAN-tastic events. The first was a Berkley Romance event, there were free books and well over 20 authors signing. They also has some snacks there. It was a fun adventure trying to find authors though since there were so many there, but with a limited sized group you could chat with them in a relaxed environment over a cookie.
The next event I attended was a Random House event where you could get up to two books signed by their authors (books were provided in limited quantities.) Unfortunately, I didn’t know many authors here, but I did meet a few who were really friendly and now I’m curious about their books.
The last FAN-tastic event was the FAN-tastic event. It was chaos here, they had TONS of swag, authors were signing, big authors, newer authors, there were prizes and food. I really didn’t know what to do. But I met Emma Chase and Anna Todd, both were really nice and signed my journal (I had a journal for when I was tired of carrying books around) and books for friends. I’m entirely sure I missed half of what was going on there, but there was a LOT going on.
Later that night in the hotel I ran into some of the authors I had met previously, they highly suggested I get a drink and sit down. Again, it was just a relaxing environment to meet and chat with authors, see them with their friends and try not to fangirl too much. It was this night that I finally met Liv Morris, who I had been looking for all weekend to sign a copy of Adam’s Apple and Felony Every After. I know I’ve said it before, but she was really nice and put up with me not only pulling books out of my purse, but getting them from my room to bring down at midnight while she was hanging out with friends.
Sunday was the last day of the event and I attended the RT Round up signing which was for Indie Authors. I only had one author here to see, Jamie McGuire. I’ve met here before and yes, she’s nice and sweet and all that. Actually, another girl on the line cut her finger while she was there, Jamie stopped signing to help her assistant get out a band aid for the girl. I did manage to get introduced to Matthew here, he’s a cover model I might have been ogling all weekend long, I got a picture of him and his arms… The advantage to extreme exhaustion is that your filter doesn’t work as well, it’s a bit like being drunk.
I know I forgot lots of things that happened, like the 3 times I stopped by Julie Kenner table, and lot of other authors I saw at the book fair, but that I’ve met before, or saw other times during the weekend. I also met up with Lisa Renee Jones and Katana Collins at one point. But there was waaaaay tooooo much to say and I had to cut something out. The bottom line is that it was a great event, I had fun with friends, I had fun with authors. I took note of a lot of little things authors did to promote themselves, and what worked better than others.
Next year will be in Atlanta and while I’m not sure if I’ll attend or not, I’m definitely considering it.