Sunday, February 6, 2011


My head is spinning with a plethora of lists. You see, I scraped together my courage and some royalties and I registered for the Romantic Times Convention. It's fairly local for me so I don't have to fly, something I really don't do any longer because of arthritis in my hip. Still, it's an expensive undertaking for me despite being a tax write off.

I'd almost decided not to go when it dawned on me that this was my best opportunity to press the flesh. I'd heard on some of the RWA loops that conventions were among the best chances to promote yourself and your books. A lot of authors have given up on the loop promo route and don't blog regularly in things like blog tours and guest blog spots and such. Since I've lately found myself falling into that same pattern and eschewing the frenetic round of promo that so many indulge in, I realized I needed to take myself to another level as an author. I needed to take myself seriously.

Romantic Times offers authors the opportunity to network with other authors, publishers, editors and agents. It also gives us the chance to meet readers and talk about books and writing. Signing print books (Fire Season, Ride the Lightning, and Honorable Silence) at the Book Fair and cover flats (for Insolence, Sunstroked, and Rock My World) at the Book Expo is good exposure. People who don't know you will come up and check out your stuff if only to get a signed cover flat or bookmark. And that is an opportunity to win a new reader.

These days, I'm all about opportunities. I'd rather take those and run with them than do another blog tour or guest blog post. Not having to pay for travel other than the gas up to Los Angeles is an opportunity for me. It seriously cuts down on the cost of the convention for me so despite the fact that the hotel is a chunk of change and so is the registration, it still represents a chance to gain readers that I would not normally have. And being part of the signing at the Book Fair, even if no one actually buys one of my books, is part of what I need to do to take this career seriously.

This is an investment in myself and my writing. I have a sneaky suspicion I'll walk away from it feeling more like an author than ever before. And it gives me the chance to meet some of my publishers and some of the friends I've made online. I'm really looking forward to that.

So this investment in my career as an author has led me to lists. I cannot travel without making lists of all the stuff I need to take and all the stuff I need to do beforehand. My list got so long today that it left me reeling. I had to close the doc before I gave myself a headache. The biggest list was the stuff I needed to buy that I didn't have on hand here at home. Like a suitcase. I don't really go anywhere any more so I don't have one! Eeek! There went an hour on Amazon and (Yes, I got one at Amazon. It's giraffe print and if you know me, you are now laughing your booty off.)

I'm feeling good about this regardless of every wince I make as I buy something else I need for this excursion. Luckily, Dee Carney found me a roomie so I've now halved my room costs. That means more money for promo items. And I'm determined to take some nice promo stuff with me. None of the cheapie cover flats from Vista that look kinda meh. Nice ones from Next Day Flyers which is local for me and does a simply scrumptious job! Having my flats look outstanding is part of my campaign to make a good first impression. You only get one chance at those yanno.

So what do you think? Do you think this endeavor will be worthwhile? Do you think conventions are helpful to authors? A a convention newbie, I've no clue, but come the second week in April, I think I'll know. Whether it leaves my head still spinning is anyone's guess!

Have a great Sunday!


  1. Lex, I'm a bit of an RT veteran, so feel free to e-mail me and ask any questions. I'm sorta local, inasmuch as I'm driving the 5 hours to it. And I'll be there on Sunday as I help out the beginner writer's course.

    RT is very friendly and welcoming. Consider contacting Sharon Murphy or JoCarol to let them know you'd be willing to work a panel if someone has need of another author. Another great way to meet readers. I'm doing a panel with Cherry Adair and Katherine Ashe and put together a basket to give away in Club RT.

    It's my first RT as a published author and I'll be 'signing' at both expos, too! Pretty excited about it. And I'm going to have to check out your promo supplier. Do they do bookmarks?

  2. Maureen - Next Day Flyers does wonderful bookmarks! I had some really nice big ones for Love Me Dead that James Buchanan took to a con last year. I have smaller ones for Where There's Smoke but they they are still great and Anne Cain's artwork just pops. I've already been talking to Sharon. She's helped get me sorted for the Book Fair and Expo. I'll take your suggestion though and let both her and JoCarol know that I'd be willing to work a panel. My roomie Cat Grant and I both would be really interested in that. Thanks so much for the tips! We'll have to hook up and say hello at one of the events!

  3. I'd love to hear a report from both of you after the fact! It's way outside my affordability zone, as are RWA Nationals, and I always wondered if there enough chance to really be exposed to readers. For those of us who aren't within driving distance of the major romance-writer conferences (I mean come on guys, leave NYC and LA already), it would be such a huge expense I've been reluctant to try it but next year, after my book is out, I will have to seriously consider it if someone can convince me it's worth the money. This year, I'll be doing ALA in New Orleans at the end of June(free, driving distance) and DragonCon in Atlanta (also free, driving distance). Know anything about those?

  4. I've toyed with the notion of attending RT this year, as it's a nothing more than a long drive for me - or a 1-hour flight. But we have so many expenses this year I simply can't justify it. Let me know what you think! I wish you very, very good luck.

  5. Suzanne - I keep an eye on a few of the cons, two of which I'll probably never make it to because they are in Ohio and never anywhere else (EC's Romanticon and Lori Foster's.) I'm really sad I'll never make it to Romanticon because it's very affordable in terms of registration and hotel. What puts it out of my range is the travel because I don't fly well with my bad hip. RWA is in Anaheim next year which means it's not only driving distance for me, I don't have to hotel it either, Anaheim being only 15 minutes down the freeway from me. From what I've seen the cons I'm interested in don't make it out here all that often. They tend to happen in places where I'd have to fly to attend. RomCon is another one that doesn't move from city to city. It's in Denver I think. EPICon moves each time, the last few years it's been too far away for me to go to. This year it's in Virginia so it's out for me and I have two finalists. The last RWA was in FL but was supposed to be in Nashville so that's not either coast. This is the first time I've seen a con out here on the west coast where I can attend. Usually, the left coast is axed out of everything. I can't even attend author chats because they are always timed to Eastern time and I work a full-time job. So for once with RT this year I don't feel left out.

  6. Julia - I just happened to have a little tax money and some royalties to cover this. I was afraid I wouldn't be able to afford it though. Luckily, I sold well recently. LOL And it helped that Dee Carney got me Cat Grant for a roomie. Takes my nearly $600 hotel bill down to about $320.

  7. Love the suitcase. Very chez, chez. You'll love RT. Be happy. Enjoy and smile wide.

  8. Darcy - Isn't it cool? I'm an idiot for giraffe print stuff. I just got the Dooney giraffe letter carrier purse to use at RT so I can sling it across my shoulders. I have two other purses and a wallet from that collection. Plus I have a laptop bag and netbook sleeve that are all giraffe print. I do have it bad. LOL

  9. Cat is one of my chapter mates! She mentioned yesterday that she'd found a roomie.

    I looked up the Next Day Flyers website but haven't dug into it yet. I do want a good place for bookmarks and postcard!

    RT hasn't been to the west coast for 12 years I think! Next year is Chicago. RWA is NYC this year, Anaheim in 2012 and I think...Atlanta in 2013...

  10. Atlanta in 2013! I'm so there. Two-hour drive and no hotel.