New Author Lessons from The RT Booklovers Convention

Last night I arrived home, spent and in need of a beignet detox, after spending five days at the RT Booklovers Convention in N’awlins. My luggage didn’t arrive with me, but that meant I got the night off from doing laundry. (It arrived later. Whew. I had books in there!)

Most convention attendees will tell you it’s the most fun you can have with a group of writers and readers in the romance genre. Yes, it was! But it also gave me some valuable lessons about how to be an author.  I attended many sessions on the craft of writing, marketing, publishing and social media. They were great. But, the most valuable lessons came in how to be with other authors and readers.

Lesson One: Have a graceful answer when someone asks if you have a sex cradle at home. The number of personal questions lobbed at authors astounded me. For instance, did they act out their love scenes at home? Even erotic romance authors can blush. I witnessed it. (No, I didn’t ask such personal things. Grammie would roll in her grave!)

Lesson Two: When encountering your favorite authors try to act semi-normal. Squealing is okay, but only for about five seconds. After that talk to them about their books. It’s why they’re there. I kept my squealing under control (sort of). Some other attendees? Well…

Lesson Three: Do not be shy about promoting thyself. Swag, postcards and bookmarks, flyers and free books were par for the course whether or not someone was promoting their 100th book or their first. Readers seemed to love it, stuffing them into their goody bags. Humility and bold marketing needn’t be mutually exclusive.

Lesson Four: The best places to meet people is at the hotel bar or standing in line. Expect to stand in lots of long lines at RT. Consider it a networking opportunity. What else are you gonna do? I handed out (and received) a dozen cards trying to get into ballrooms and parties. As for the bar? I met the most interesting people over wine, like long-time romance author Kat Martin. Such a lovely person.

Lesson Five: As an “aspiring author” (my RT label since I’m not yet formally published), always remember every best-selling, top-ranking author was once “aspiring.” I was fortunate to have the opportunity to say hello to Shayla Black and Lexie Blake at an RT event. They asked me what I wrote. I told them and walked away completely high from them caring enough to even ask. I’ll work hard to mirror their kindness to other new authors.

More lessons and anecdotes abound. But for now, let’s leave it at that. If you are a lover of the romance genre, or aspiring author, consider attending next year’s Dallas convention. My ribbon better say “published author.”

6 thoughts on “New Author Lessons from The RT Booklovers Convention”

  1. Aloha Elizabeth
    Wow. What a fantastic blog. The convention sounds amazing and I love your lessons from it. :-). I could almost imagine myself there from your descriptions. I love how nice writers are to other writers. Nice to hear it seems to be across the board. I once wrote to Jeffery Deaver. And he emailed back! I was so thrilled. :-).
    Thanks for a really interesting blog. I enjoyed reading all about what happened! Aloha Meg. 🙂

    • Meg, I’m so glad you enjoyed it. I hope to see you next year at RT! P.S. I know I’m behind on Lush and Blush. Pinky swear I’m gettin’ to it tonight!

    • Thanks, Spencer. If anyone has books to offer, this is the conference to attend. 700 authors. 2800 readers, all who love this particular genre. Not to mention, it’s just plain fun. As men, you and Ian would be mobbed!


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