Monday, June 9, 2014

5 Highlights from the RT Booklovers Convention by Cheryl Harper


At some point in my life, I hope to reach the stage of level-headed maturity where every new experience doesn’t send me into an internal meltdown of “But I won’t know anyone” first-day-of-school jitters. Today is not that day. Neither was any day in May, but I managed to have a good time in spite of myself at the RT Booklovers Convention in New Orleans. If you’ve never been, it’s an easy mix of more parties than you can shake a stick at and workshops for authors, readers, bloggers. It seems like there’s something for everyone who loves books. Here are 5 of my highlights:

Meeting a reader. In person! One of the benefits of this convention is meeting readers. Lots and lots of readers. I anticipated spending most of the Bookfair talking with the authors beside me. I did some of that (increasing my chances of knowing someone at the next convention, see?) But I also sold and signed books. And then I met someone who said, “I just wanted to say hello. I’ve read all your books already.” She named characters and I fell in love right there. The table between us was probably a very good thing. I might have squeezed her too hard without it. What an amazing boost to my stick-to-it-iveness.

Shaking the hands of authors I’ve read and loved for so long. I was star struck, for sure. I spent too much time at a cocktail party peeking at a big name historical author and didn’t seize my chance. I did introduce myself to another, shook her hand, and was glad for the table again. I would have squeezed her too hard too probably.

Spending time with virtual friends in person. I might have also done some squeezing, but I was very careful. I met several bloggers who’ve been very kind to me. I met Twitter friends and people whose Twitter convos I’ve eavesdropped on for entirely too long face to face.
Listening to other writers talk about writing. I always forget how much it means to me to listen to people who are doing what I do talk about it. Their excitement is contagious.

New Orleans. I’ve never been. Now I’ve walked down Bourbon Street (with a hurricane in my hand because when in New Orleans...) and had beignets at CafĂ© du Monde while overlooking Jackson Square. I felt very cosmopolitan.

It was a good trip. From there, I drove to the beach, plopped down under an umbrella, and read books for four days, so coming back to the real world has been a struggle! Next year, the convention moves to Dallas. Here’s the link if you’re interested in finding out more: https://www.rtconvention.com/

21 comments:

  1. It sounds like a great convention and the location couldn't be more perfect! I wanted to go this year but had to chose between RWA and RT... a very tough choice since I've heard- and now had confirmed- such great things! Maybe next year.

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    1. Choosing is so hard! This year I splurged and did both because the travel's easy enough (and that's a very rare thing for me to say!) It was interesting to see the difference in the two events.

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  2. Congrats on diving in, Cheryl! Sounds like you had a fabulous time and got a lot out of it. :) I have yet to tackle the craziness that is RT...the prospect has always seemed daunting if not a tad terrifying--all those people! But your 5 highlights take a bit of that fear away. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Craziness is the right word! All those people...that's usually my first terrified thought too. :)

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  3. What fun! I've only been to one RT because they rarely come to the west coast. But I love, love, loved the one I went to. Right now I'm planning on attending the Dallas one. And then, of course, there's RWA next month.

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    1. This is my first and it was FUN! But now I'm really looking forward to San Antonio.

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  4. Hoping to make it to Dallas next year! :)

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  5. Thank you for sharing, Cheryl. Nothing beats getting to spend time with other writers - from whom you can always learn more - and from spending time with readers, who validate all the effort we put into what we do. And in New Orleans! Did you bring home some beignets? Can you send me one? I don't care if it's stale. Good for you for getting out there, even if it makes you uncomfortable at first. In my shy days around age six or seven (they didn't last long) my mother would send me off to school with the advice, "If you're nice to people, they'll be nice to you." 95% of the time, that's true, and the other 5% isn't worth losing the 95 over.

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    1. Your mother's advice is great, Muriel. Sadly, I ate every beignet I came in contact with so I have none to share.

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  6. That sounds like a wonderful experience!

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  7. You know, I've just got to go one of these days! You've inspired me!

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  8. I've never been to RT. It's always sounded daunting to me. But it's good to hear you dived right in and had a good time.

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  9. Good for you for going! I know it can be scary. I am a little nervous about attending the RWA conference in July but you have given me hope that it will be better than I can imagine! I think it's so great that you met all those wonderful people. And you had real French Quarter beignets? Now I'm officially jealous!!

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    1. Yes, and I walked ALL THE WAY there and ALL THE WAY back so I'm pretty sure they were only a few calories each. They really rounded out the French Quarter experience (pun totally intended).RWA is a blast but I can understand the nerves. You'll love it!

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  10. Cheryl, sounds like a great experience! You made me laugh--we sound like similar people. I, too, am a bit nervous about RWA (my first nationals). For me, thinking about things is always more nerve-wracking than doing them. As a fellow author and reader of your books (I just finished A Minute on the Lips and absolutely loved it!) you can squeeze me as hard as you want when we meet (;

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    1. Yes, it's the thinking that gets me in trouble! That could be said of many, many things in my life. :) Thank you for reading A Minute on the Lips and there are definitely hugs in our future!

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  11. Sounds wonderful! I met Mary Balogh and Kristan Higgins at a conference this spring--I was glad for those tables, too. :-)

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    1. Ooh, I always wonder if the awe will ever go away when I get to meet authors I love. I hope not!

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    2. Sounds like a great time. As much as I love conferences, I would have loved reading at the beach! I only live twenty minutes from the beach here, but do I go. No! LOL! Somehow vacations make it more fun.

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  12. This is such a sweet post, Cheryl! Thank you.

    The part about meeting readers resonated with me in particular. There is not much that I can think of that gives me as big a thrill as meeting someone who has read and enjoyed my book. I love book signings, too, as they are a great way to interact with readers.

    I am so glad you had a wonderful time!

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  13. Thanks, Kate! I absolutely agree about meeting readers. It's still a new experience and every time it happens, I remember why I love this so much.

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