What a Junkee Learned at RT BookLovers Convention 2012
Lesson 1 – Your Style: If you die your hair pink…people will follow you around the hotel and stop you and give you compliments. The old white men at that “other” convention in the hotel will point at you and say loudly — “she’s with the ‘other’ convention.” I literally had a lady walk up to me and tell me she was following me around the hotel because she liked my hair. I didn’t know whether to take it as a compliment or run and hide. By the third or fourth person that stopped me to say they loved my hair I realized I was among people that “got me”, which was awesome, because in the “real world” most people just look at me like I’m a lunatic. Take for example today at the 4 year old’s Field Day — where the 7th graders were looking at me and saying, “she can’t be the Mom– the Aunt? An older sister?” Obviously you can’t have kids with pink hair, according to 13 year olds.
Lesson 2 – The Money: Better have a bit of dough on hand because in these big hotels, nothing is cheap. Mostly the alcohol and food. There were a lot of convention or publisher sponsored dinners and parties, but mainly they were cash bars.
Lesson 3 – The Schedule: Once it starts it doesn’t end until you are on the plane leaving…there are panels after panels, party after party.
Lesson 4 – The Friends: You make the best of friends just by sitting at a table with strangers or standing in line. Next thing you know you are in a clique and making everyone jealous by your mad conversation skills. I met some friends from twitter at the beginning and new friends in line. It was great because everyone wanted to do different parties and panels so it was like always having a buddy. Then because you are with them 24/7 practically it’s like instant BFFs.
Lesson 5 – The Drinks: There are only so many parties where there are FREE drinks — so grab them while they are available. There are only so many $7.50 Millers that you can stomach purchasing. I just kept thinking — that is more expensive than a six pack! I think the record was 14 shooters when we realized they were probably mostly juice — *sigh*
Lesson 6 – Friendly: Most everyone is very friendly. In fact the two or so unfriendly people that were around were very noticeable because they were so different. Don’t be shy, just walk up to people and start yapping. I literally talked Rebecca York’s ear off while standing in line at the Samhain party – and she didn’t roll her eyes once (that I saw!) No, she and her husband were beyond nice. Even the guys that are half naked and handing out shots are super friendly. Except for one guy, who we were convinced couldn’t speak English.
Lesson 7 – Swag: You will have so much swag by the time you leave the convention that you might have to get another suitcase. I was 6 lbs over my 50lbs at the airport so I literally had to dump a bag full of bookmarks. I felt like the worst person in the world but it was either that or some books. Bye Bye Bookmarks. I dumped them in the garbage and had to repack my suitcase – so embarrassing. I did keep all the fun gifts though, flashlights, hats, excerpts, jump drives — you name it. I even got pants from Ellora’s Cave.
Lesson 8 – The Books: This is not a convention like BEA or ALA where you roam the exhibitor hall in search of what the publisher will put out on their shelves. You get books by going to the different parties, the panels and by a trip to some of the special RT book giveaway areas. While at first I thought I wasn’t going to score as many books as I did at ALA because it wasn’t a free-for-all, I think I ended up with more books this time around and most of them were signed because the authors were usually on-hand.
Lesson 9 – The Authors: They are among us! They sit down at the table with you, they are wandering the halls, they are every where! Except the HUGE ones of course. Which were kept under guard (literally JR Ward had bodyguards!). Two funny stories about this, I was just sitting waiting for some panel or party and I introduced myself to the girl across from me we chatted. Another lady sat down so we were instantly like “Hey, how are you, I’m Rachel…this is —” and she was like, “I’m Molly…” conversation went on and we just went back and forth and back and forth. Glance down at her name tag and I blurted out “Oh.My.God. You’re Molly Harper!” It wasn’t my best moment. Gush gush gush. “I love your books!” I think I surprised her. But, the worst moment was when I was getting in line to see Richelle Mead, they were interviewing someone with a camera and back-drop set-up, but I wasn’t paying much attention. I had to pee so I was trying to sneak around the cameras. Glance to the side — “HOLY VAMPIRE PANTIES — it’s Anne Friggin’ Rice.” Run into wall, or the garbage can or something. Yep, if they posted the Anne Rice interview on the RT blog you might see me running into a wall. I think I might have been off camera — crosses fingers. But, literally they are so cool and real and just hang out with you. I was drinking screwdrivers and chatting with Mary Janice Davidson, or seeing Kiera Cass everywhere (she was hard not to spot with the baby bump kicking), chatting it up with Kristen Simmons, or gushing over Ann Aguirre. Not to mention meeting the faces behind the publishers. Very cool! I didn’t experience anything like this at ALA.
Lesson 10 – Like Nothing Else: It’s so very different from any other convention that I’ve attended. It’s like the Disney World of reader conventions. Yes, you stand in line for everything, but it is a literally a candy land of information and goodies, not to mention some added eye candy. If you are weighing the pros and cons of attending, they pros definitely outweigh the cons.
So with that, I hope this was informative. I want to give a big Thank You to HarperCollins and Susan Elizabeth Phillips who picked up my tab. I hope everyone who got a book from the Susan Elizabeth Phillips contest enjoyed it as much as I did! I’ll now be reading a lot more romance.