The RT Convention is right around the corner. In only a few days to be precise. The convention is a tribute to readers, writers and everything book related, especially the embattled genre of romance. It is a place book lovers can let their hair down, be exactly who they want to be, without judgement, meet authors, make friends for life, stock up on an insane amount of books and just have an insanely fun time. This year will be my third RT. I wouldn’t call myself an expert, but I can give some tips and tricks. I’ve also been to Vegas a few times and the unique location will add to the craziness of the convention. Can’t wait to meet you! See you next week.
If you are driving to Vegas bring these items with you, if you are flying in hit the grocery store after you check in:
- Water / Gatorade (Keep a water bottle with you at all times!)
- Protein bars, beef jerky or trail mix (I suggest meal replacement bars with high protein)
- Tylenol, allergy, sinus medicine
- Vitamin energy supplements or Five Hour Energy (it’s go go go…)
Must have to pack in your “ever day” bag. This is the bag that you’ll cart around with you during the convention. I suggest a messenger bag or backpack.
- Sharpies (for signing)
- Highlighters (to highlight agenda)
- Journal or Scrapbook for signatures or take it a step further and buy a Kindle case for signatures
- Hygiene kit (deodorant, hand sanitizer, wet wipes, perfume – you’ll stink, promise!)
- Charging device
- Lanyard & Badge (Keep this on you at all times! Get a pretty lanyard if you want to bling yourself up)
- Water bottle
Comfortable shoes are a MUST HAVE. You have a FitBit? You know how hard it is to get your 10K steps a day? You’ll get 20K to 30K steps a day. Comfortable walking shoes are a must. I don’t care if they don’t go with your cute little outfit. Get some insoles that are made for the shoes you will be wearing the most.
If you don’t want to lug around backpack or messenger bag full of books they make rolling book bags and carts. This might be a great option for most attendees. You are going to get a TON of books and swag.
DON’T MISS RT EXCLUSIVES:
The Goody Room – Have you heard tales of the Goody Room? That magical room where you can go in and GRAB all the books you want? It exists. It does!!!
Goody Room Tips:
- The Goody Room is only available for full convention attendees (you can’t go in there with a wristband)
- Any author can contribute to the Goody Room
- You can ONLY make ONE trip through the Goody Room – so choose wisely your time.
- It is suggested that you scope it out first and go when there isn’t a long line – so you won’t fee rushed. RT changes their policy frequently depending on the amount of books they get, so get the scoop on how many books you can get.
- There will be people that don’t give a shit about any rules. In NOLA they had a ten book limit and I saw a chick with one of those roller carts LOAD it up. She was just throwing any book into that cart. There was a husband doing duty as security – he wasn’t going to tell her anything. Don’t do this. It makes an impression on the attendees around you, they’ll remember. It’s about fun, don’t be greedy.
- A lot of people suggest getting their early to grab the best selection, but they do replenish it. It’s hit or miss. The best stuff will probably be out first, but I’ve gotten a GREAT selection hitting the Goody Room during the week. In fact a lot of the ARCs dropped in the middle of the week at the NOLA RT. They change it up each year though, so scope it!
Swag Alley is an area that is lined with author swag that you can take and take and take. It gets bigger each year. For RT Chicago it was this little hallway with business cards and a few good things. For New Orleans it was an entire room. I missed Dallas but it gets bigger every year. Go early. Go fast. Hit it hard. Bring back-up
Club RT – Club RT is an area that your favorite authors will be hanging out at specific times and it is also FULL of gift baskets that you can win. They even have vendors and their tables with swag available. I will even be in Club RT at 4:30 on Wednesday – come see me!
The Author Signing – Be prepared to be overwhelmed. There will be hundreds of Authors all in one room and they are selling you their books. You want to buy them all, but you can’t. Make a plan. Look at the map. And be prepared to stand in line for the big names.
The Agenda. Download the app, go over the agenda BEFORE you even touch down in Vegas. You can’t figure these things out on the fly. You’ll miss something and you’ll have lifelong regret. I promise. If you have authors in mind, search their names on the RT website and find what panels they are on. You want to do a priority list. Which author are you DYING to meet. Numbered lists are good. You can only bring ten books from home to get signed, so this is also a good way to make your priority list. What books are you bringing etc.
General Tips for RT & Vegas:
- Costumes are encouraged, but they are not required. If you aren’t into cosplay – you don’t do it. I’m not HUGE into dressing up, so when I tried to whip up a hasty costume I felt out of sorts because everyone else went ALL out. Granted there were others like me with hasty costumes or tees. But, if you don’t want to do it. Don’t feel obligated. Oggle the fancy digs of others.
- If you are going alone, chat it up with others. You’ll be welcomed into a group faster than you can say BFF. Don’t hang back and wait for them to come to you. Go out, make friends. You’ll be welcomed. If you feel out of sorts, find me. I’ll be your friend.
- If you are a Reader – don’t just go to Reader panels. If you see one of your fave authors is hosting a craft panel – go, you’ll be surprised what you might learn and you’ll have access to your fave author.
- Lines. The bane of RT. This is my only hate within the RT experience. Lines are long and last hours. For the big parties, I’ve grabbed a bottle of wine and Sabrina, Patti and I sat there and drank while waiting for the Heather Graham party. Get ready to stand in line. Secondly, people will CUT. There is no question. Usually the goal is two or three of a group will get in the line and wait for the entire group. The group will show up before the party or panel starts. Don’t get bent out of shape. It happens. Granted, if you just sit your happy ass in front of someone and don’t know anyone around you, someone might tell you something. Be respectful. Also, if you are holding a spot for a HUGE group, this might cause an issue. A handful is fine, a dance troop will get a grumpy response.
- Respect is they key to having a happy RT. Don’t jump authors. They are people too. Don’t go crazy. It’s okay to fan over them, but remember, most authors are solitary people. They aren’t huge about socializing and they are as overwhelmed by this experience as you. Treat them like the human they are. They’ll be in line behind you, sitting at a table with you. Fun. Enjoy it.
- You can mail your books back home. RT sets up a mailing station. This is amazing. Do it!
- Follow the hash on Facebook and Twitter #RT16
- Keep your ID on you at all times, you will be in a casino, they are going to card you no matter how old you look
- Bring a pullover or sweater. The temperature is going to hit the 50s at night and the high 80s during the day. Nights in Vegas can be chilly – the panels will also be air-conditioned. Bring appropriate clothing. I suggest packing two outfits a day, – day clothes and night clothes.
- The RIO might look like it is right behind Ceasars and you can walk the strip with ease. Nope. It’s going to be a hike. They’ll have shuttles, so if you have walking issues, take the shuttle. A Vegas block is not your typical city block.
- If you want a drink, play the slots. You get free drinks. Casinos give free drinks for gamblers. Love that.
- Sign up for the Rio’s playing club – Total Rewards. Sometimes they’ll offer discounts for attractions for the rewards members. And if you do gamble, you’ll earn points.
- Avoid the costume characters on the strip – watch out for the Minion! If you take a photo with them they want you to pay for it. If you do want to take a picture, ask them how much beforehand.
- There will also be all these scruffy people handing out flyers for hookers and escorts, along with magazines that are practically porn. If you don’t want to see a lot of tits and beaver, don’t take what they are handing you.
- Overall, just have a lot of fun! Can’t wait to meet you.
Are you going to Vegas? Come say hi! I’ve posted what I look like now – current hair color lol. Let me know in comments!