Friday, April 20, 2012

Tidbits from RT 2012

I regained my virgin status (briefly) with my first foray to the wild, wacky and wonderful RT Convention in Chicago last week.  With three RWA conventions under my belt, I thought I knew what to expect.  I was wrong - it is an entirely different animal.  Here are things I learned over the course of the convention.
  • It is okay to wear jeans and sassy shirts (if you aren't on a panel).  I felt overdressed much of the time.  Probably because there were so many people in full corsets and bustles, decked out in full steampunk regalia.
  • Do not write under a pen name, unless you have a STRONG reason (strict job, old-school family) to do so.  Even if you are jumping genres, many of your readers will follow you, if they can find keeping your same name. 
  • For some unknown reason, people want to see shapeshifter horse stories.  They don't strike me as particularly sexy and powerful like wolves and leopards, but the people have spoken!
  • It is worth getting up at the crack of dawn to go to the mystery breakfast.  Tons of great books, but even better, wonderful stories from the thriller authors.  Rosemary Harris started writing mysteries when a mummified corpse was discovered in the woods near her house in Connecticut.  LOVE learning tidbits like that!
  • All it took was a single hour panel discussion for me to form a huge girl-crush on Nalini Singh.  Brilliant author, funny, engaging, and a fantastic Australian accent?  She's the total package.
  • When you and 2,000 other people are wearing lanyards, you're going to spend a good part of the day staring straight at someone's boobs.  And they at yours.  Don't feel weird about it, no matter how low-cut their top.  Even if they are spilling out of a corset and aren't wearing a shirt at all.
  • Book signings are absolutely thrilling - I can't tell if I had more fun as an author, or if the devoted readers had a better time grabbing every title in sight.  It is a win/win for everyone.
  • Taking my husband along was the right choice.  We didn't get to spend a ton of time together, but he still had a fun time in Chicago, and came to dinner with a bunch of us.  It gave him a great sense of scope of the convention, and brought him up to speed with everything in the writing world.
  • J.R. Ward and Jessica Andersen are a must-see panel.  If they ever swing through your town, drop everything and go see them.  They curse like sailors and are refreshingly open about their writing processes (and they drop spoilers......).
  • You WILL stand in line.  For panels, for signings, for parties.  On the other hand, standing in line forces you to chat with new and interesting people.  I, however, had the worst convention accessory ever (crutches), so lines were my enemy.  Wear comfy shoes, not cute shoes.  Trust me.
  • When you take advantage and talk to EVERYONE, opportunities open up.  You may not realize until later that you've chatted with a NYT bestselling author.  That is the beauty of networking.  If you're shy, well, suck it up.  This is your best chance to make new contacts.
  • As always, hang out in the bar and/or restaurant.  Everyone will end up walking by you and chatting.  TOTALLY worth blowing $14 on a single, watered down cocktail.


  1. Hey, Christie - I wish I'd known you were at RT. I would've sought you out to meet you. I was the proofreader for Act Like We're in Love. I could've gotten my copy signed :)

  2. Everything you said is so true. Even saying all that it's such a good time.

  3. Great tips! My boyfriend accompanied me to RT and braved the Carina Cocktail parties. They gave him real insight into the authorly world. He also enjoyed smoking cigars with Linnea Sinclair's husband <- the highlight of boyfriend's weekend.

    I tend to wear my Thai Silk suits to conventions and people find me easily by the bright colors.Plus, they are the most insanely comfortable suits to wear. Some might think I tend to over dress, but then I did scamper about in corsets and bustles at night. ;)

    It was wonderful to meet you at RT!

  4. What great, common-sense advice. So sorry I missed it!