The closer the Romantic Times convention gets, the more I see people talk about the value of conventions. Part of the valuing process is the comparisons people make between all the most notable cons, RT, RWA, ADD, Lori Fosters, RomantiCon, RomCon, and a few others. Since I'm a virgin when it comes to cons, I don't really have anything to add to any of these conversations. But I've been soaking up all the information and advice.
One of the most common things I see is people comparing or asking about the differences between RT and RWA. This one seems pretty obvious to me. RT is billed as a reader convention. There's lots of parties and meet and greets. The workshops are not the focus. RWA is a convention for members of an organization, some of whom may not be published authors yet. Still, it's a professional convention. Apparently there's more workshops and a more focused industry slant to the events.
The next thing I see a lot of is people comparing RT to Lori Foster's event. Well, to be honest, I can figure out those differences too with just a bit of deductive power. It's in the midwest, geared smaller and less expensive than RT, more intimate than RT. More intimate means that you probably get more face time with just about any person you'd want to talk to there. Smaller also often means that people are more approachable as well.
Well, then let's look at RomantiCon. For Ellora's Cave authors, this is like a giant slumber party with a couple hundred of your BFFs. It's a convention only for this publisher, it's authors, staff, and readers. Everything is EC-centric. Everyone says they have the best time ever. Frankly, I've seen the photos and I think those people had a blast. If my hip would survive the flight, I'd save to go.
The new up and coming con is Authors After Dark. I heard many good things about this one too. Smaller like Lori Foster's which makes everything and everyone more accessible. Last year it was on the east coast which makes it out for me. (The bad hip remember.) I don't remember where it is this year but I heard that the hotel they have lined up is awesome and reasonably priced.
There's a new con coming this year too. I forget the name but it's a gay readers and writers con. I think they're having it in New Orleans. I know some of my favorite authors are going to be there: Ethan Day, Z.A. Maxfield, Jambrea Jo Jones, Lynn Lorenz, Carol Lynne and more.
Since I'm not about to cripple myself by flying, I'll have to stick to what comes around locally for me. This year that means RT. Next year, it means RWA. I'm glad I live someplace that cons come to otherwise I'd never get to attend one. But you can sure learn a lot about what goes on with them by listening to authors and other folk talk when one of the big cons gets close.
I'm looking forward to going to RT. I can't wait to meet a lot of the authors I talk to online. I can't wait to meet readers. It will be a big thrill for me to sign books and cover flats and chat with fans of the Tales series. I'm wriggling like a puppy with excitement. At the same time, my wallflower side is cringing in terror. But I'll get through it. Everyone is being really helpful and I'm determined to make my mark. (That would be me showing up with the giraffe print suitcase, giraffe print netbook sleeve, and Dooney giraffe purse. Not to mention the purple-to-match-my-website Sharpies.)
Listening to all the conversations about conventions means that you get a lot of info and can more easily make a decision about attending one. You can find out if it's right for you by asking questions and paying attention to the questions others ask and all the answers that start flying through the loops. No one is shy about sharing their convention experiences.
When RT is finally over and I'm back in my little corner of the OC, I hope someone will ask me about my experiences. I have a sneaky suspicion I will have some stories to tell. Already, there's some plans within plans a-brewing...
And yeah, I'm gonna have fun if it kills me. ;)