rt booklovers convention... will you be there?

Two months! Eight weeks! It's almost time for RT and this year it's Vegas baby!!!

Last year was my first RT (Romance Times) Booklovers Convention. Dallas = Cowboys = More Cowboys... so of course I went! And I enjoyed every minute.

If you haven't yet decided to go, maybe my top ten reasons to attend and my recap of 2015's RT will help. 

10. The Location... Make it a Vacation!

Dallas was incredible. I doubt I would ever go there without purpose so RT provided the perfect opportunity. The hotel was outstanding and had quite a view (inside and out). RT does a great job picking locations. They give you ideas for things to do and places to visit outside of the conference. Go early and take a tour, stay longer and relax on your own. I personally am looking forward to RT in Atlanta; it will be an extra trip home for me! And Vegas... well, never been and now I'll be able to say I have!

9. Awesome Roommates

Renita Pizzitola isn't just the best critique partner ever, she's a great friend and great roommate (if you can ignore her bright and early chatterbox self before you've had coffee). Conferences can be overwhelming but with someone by your side, it makes everything so much better. If you're flying solo, fantastic! You'll still meet people and maybe find a roommate for next year's convention. If you're hesitating because you'd rather have someone to split costs with, check out the roommate forums

camden leigh author contemporary romance writer new adult RT parties Photo Booth

Who else can you goof off with at the parties? (I mean seriously, who has a tornado for a background at a steampunk party?) Had to take advantage of that! 

8. Pre-Convention Text Exchanges & Tweets

And these are just a snipped of the hundreds we exchanged. Anything goes...  Want to see what everyone else is saying/doing/expecting? Stay in the loop on twitter and instagram by using #RT16 

7. Photobombs

You never know who may bomb your selfie at one of the many parties held in the evenings. Cover models, step right up!

6. Food, Food and More Food (aka sweets) & Parties

Last year, we didn't venture out much because of the hellacious rainstorms. Poor Dallas took a beating. The hotel had a bar in the lobby and very little in the way of seating. If you wanted to eat (quick at the hotel), good luck. Either the place was too packed or the other restaurants weren't open. There was a small coffee shop and grab-n-go sandwich/snack vendor, but not enough supply when you have over 2000 writers, readers, publishers, agents, librarians and other industry professionals needing food. I'm sure there were plenty of places outside of the hotel but again...rain, lots of it. Flooding and lightening. No thanks! Thankfully, there were lots of snacks and sweets, both in sessions and at the parties. These raspberry cheesecake shots were my favorite. I think I ate ten, but who's counting?

As for the parties, it's on-going. Never an idle moment. Wake up with cardio or yoga, go to bed after riding a bull, line-dancing or people watching at one of the nightly parties. In fact, I've already booked my Vegas Chippendale Show tickets. Have you?

5. Sessions (That's why you're attending, right?)

CAmden leigh author contemporary romance writer new adult RT CONVENTION APP

All my photos taken during sessions came out blurry. But whether you're looking to hone your craft, make a marketing plan, self-publish, traditionally publish, learn what's in/what's out at publisher spotlights or stalk your favorite author, there's something for everyone. RT puts out an app (RT Booklovers Convention as seen above) beforehand and you can keep track of your personalized schedule, view workshops by genre, tracks (business, craft, marketing, etc) or social events. There are tracks for readers, tracks for writers, YA events, sweet romance sessions, paranormal romance panels, erotic romance demonstrations - you name it, and there's a class for you. There are also a list of attendees and maps galore!

4. Cover Models

camden leigh author contemporary romance writer new adult cover model RT convention dallas

Well I think this is self-explanatory! But if you need more than just a photo op, there are sessions on this topic as well. Plenty to go around...

3. Book Haul

camden leigh author contemporary romance writer new adult RT conference dallas book haul

Buy them, win them, give them, get them....books everywhere!

2. People

camden leigh author contemporary romance writer new adult RT book fair EL James Sylvia Day

Your first scan of the hotel lobby may be overwhelming. It seems everyone knows somebody. I'm lucky to have someone to tag along with, but if you don't, there are plenty of other people JUST LIKE YOU. Learn what the ribbons mean when you register, they'll help identify others at a glance. Join a conversation, sit at a table and introduce yourself, put yourself out there so next year isn't as challenging. Make new friends! You'll be glad you did (it is exhausting, but you can sleep later, I promise!). And you never know who you'll meet!

1. Book Fair

camden leigh author contemporary romance writer new adult RT giant book fair dallas

This photo sums it up. RT took this pan of the book fair in Dallas. It was unbelievable. The number of people crammed into this room can be stifling. Go with an agenda...there will be maps floating around with genre and author locations (and on the app). I luckily had a plan and went in for one signed book, came out with six: a Roni Loren book for me, the Legend Series by Marie Lu and two Meg Cabot books for Christmas presents (which were a hit by the way). The more popular the author, the sooner you need to be in line. Some lines are so long they give you wristbands and call you in groups to get your books. As a reader, it's amazing. As a writer? Well, I hope I'm on the other side of those tables signing my own books one day...then I'll tell you!