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Saturday, February 26, 2011

Cons and Cons

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 RWA is a convention for members of an organization, some of whom may not be published authors yet.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. ;)


Tina Donahue said...

Informative post, Lex - thanks for clearing up what each convention provides the attendees. It can get confusing. :)

Paris said...

Great post, Lex! RT is a huge party and everyone is there to have fun and meet their favorite authors. I predict that you'll have a blast:)

And yes, we will want to hear all about it!

Lex Valentine said...

Tina - I've no personal experience of any of them, but lately, there's been lots of talk comparing them all. So after listening in on two or three convos and reading a couple of threads where long time con attendees discuss the differences, you start to get a sense of what to expect.

Paris - I'm treating it like a giant meet and greet. I'm looking forward to meeting all the people I've only spoken to online.

kittykelly28 said...

I cannot wait to meet you Lex!!! :) I love love love everything I have read of yours!!! :) This is my first time going to any of these too and I am beyond excited!!! :)


Katalina Leon said...

Have a wonderful time Lex and please be our eyes and ears on the ground and report back!

Sandy said...

Gosh, I didn't know RT was only for Ellora's Cave authors. I know an HQ author who is going this year.

Julia Rachel Barrett said...

Conferences and conventions are out this year for me - too many other expenses. I have done literary conferences in the past - with mixed results.
I've heard lots of good stuff about Authors After Dark. Think I'll see where their next conference is!
Have fun, Lex!

jean hart stewart said...

All the conferences sound great. I don't think I'd consider RWA since there so biased against e-authors. Would love the others though, but can't make them this year. My asthma won't let me fly. Do tell us all your impressions though as I'll be most interested. Jean

Molly Daniels said...

Both RC and Lori's are close to me, and very affordable. Still haven't made it to either one yet, due to finances blowing up as soon as I learned of them, lol....but am still hoping to meet my favorite friends and fellow authors:) Plus any workshop which helps me be a better writer!

Stella Price said...

Hi Lex...

Authors After Dark has been around three years already and actually is most comparable to RT in what to do... the difference is you get more for the money you spend and the registration isnt going to break your bank (this year AAD is 130$) and we give away TONS more books then RT because we dont charge publishers to promote (come to think of it, we have VERY low prices for all parties and events for authors because we WANT authors to attend and promote.

Authors After Dark is about Readers first and foremost, with their needs in mind as the focus. So many readers cant afford RT and really why do it when you get so little? AAD attendees last year went home with an average of 65 books FREE, goodies, bags and there were 6 e readers given away. We are also the ONLY general romance con out there that supports and welcomes GLBT. RT cant say that.

AAD this year, we have a minimum of 8 e readers given away, An E book signing with the regular book signing, and of course the GLBT contingent.

AAD sold out this year 8 months ahead of schedule for the hotel, and we are about 15 away from our reader cap. It really has become THE go to con... all because Im really a big fan of fair and not trying to drain people's bank accounts.


Stella Price said...

Oh and I forgot to mention: Authors After Dark's registration includes ALL YOUR MEALS (about 5)NO other con gives you so much for so little.

2012 AAD is New Orleans at the Royal Sonesta Hotel August 8-12 and some authors are already signed on.

Check out the AAD blog:

Jae Lynne Davies said...

Great blog! While I've never been to the other conventions mentioned in your post, I HAVE been to Authors After Dark.

I attended my first AAD as a reader to get a feel for the convention, since I wasn't sure what to expect. This year is my first experience as an author and I can't tell you how excited I am!

The convention is inexpensive, the atmosphere is laid back, and the attendees are wonderful. I walked away with so many free books last year, I needed two tote bags!

This is a con that is NOT to be missed and I'm honored to be a part of it.

Jae Lynne Davies

She said...

I've been to RT and RomantiCon. Both are fun but RT is big so you don't get as much face time with the authors. Also when you go to one event you miss out on other events. Things are run simultaneously. RomantiCon is smaller for one publishing house. There is down time where you can visit, swim, sleep, whatever. You can have a good time at both. If money permitted I'd go the the Authors After Dark and the GayLit but unfortunately I can afford every con that comes.

Anonymous said...

So many conventions, so little vacation time! GayRomLit is also in New Orleans in October.

Bianca Swan said...

Thanks for the information on the conventions. I'd been trying to decide where I wanted to spend my pennies. I love RT, but unfortunately due to a work conflict, can't go. But I might make one of the others you let us know about.

Harlie Reader said...

As a reader if there was one convention that I could go to it would be Ellora's Cave. Most of the writers that I read will be there and it does look like alot of fun. RT would be the next one.

Cris Anson said...

Sandy said...
Gosh, I didn't know RT was only for Ellora's Cave authors. I know an HQ author who is going this year.

Sandy and all, I've been to both RomantiCons and am looking forward to #3 in Akron in September as well. As an Ellora's Cave author myself, may I clarify?

ANYONE is welcome to come: authors published with any and every house as well as photographers, proof-readers, editors, and anyone and everyone else. And, of course, readers.

The only restriction about authors is that, since it's sponsored by Ellora's Cave, those are the only authors who will be signing at the BookFair.

Hope this helps. Come join us, and come meet our hunky Cavemen! I have photos from last year's RomantiCon on my Facebook page if you're interested in seeing some of our fun.

(sorry, I don't know how to make the link live)

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