What the RT Booklovers Convention Taught Me

The RT Booklovers Convention was amazing! Fun, educational, and (slightly) overwhelming. Much sleep followed by coffee was needed in my recharge process. But WOW what a week!

RT Booklovers Convention in What the RT Booklovers Convention Taught Me by Debra Kristi, author

RT stands for Romantic Times. Books are not restricted to only romance reads, so don’t worry.

Six days. That’s some serious time dedicated to being ‘ON’ for an introvert. For anyone, really. But let me assure you, it’s worth the effort (if you don’t constrict yourself to being a fly on the wall). Put yourself out there, get involved, and meet people—especially readers. I will admit, that isn’t easy for me, and I could have done better, but every effort I made paid off and each year will only get better. It’s a building process.

Thanks to the phenomenal attendees I came home empty-handed. That is to say, every copy of Becoming: The Balance Bringer I took with me, is now in the hands of a reader. Yay!!!

*A little side note about Becoming: The Balance Bringer: The novel was recently named a finalist in the 2015 Indie Excellence Awards. Woot! Woot! Happy dance! Pop the champagne! Throw the confetti!

Okay, back on topic.

What I learned at RT:

Promotional Alley: If you are already an established BIG name then this probably isn’t something you need. If you are still struggling to get your name out there, worth the investment—in my humble opinion.

Club RT: Timing matters. Early morning, not ideal. Readers attending the parties the night before will not likely be up and moving yet. Mid-day is best, when the readers get restless and need to move around. Make sure you aren’t scheduling against an event with a big draw.

Gift Basket Giveaways: Yes. Maybe. You receive a ton of names to add to your newsletter list with a simple gift basket giveaway. Will they all remain on your list? Meh. Are they truly interested in you and your work? Meh. They probably really wanted the basket. Several may drop off your list over time. Some may never open the email. Time will tell. You may get some solid followers, though. Building blocks!

Mystic's Carnival Gift Basket in What the RT Booklovers Convention Taught Me by Debra Kristi, author
Mystic’s Carnival Gift Basket

Parties: Yes! Host one. Attend one, or more. Participate. Get to know your tablemates, the other people in the room. It makes a difference.

Mad Hatter Fantasy Tea Party in What the RT Booklovers Convention Taught me by Debra Kristi, author
Mad Hatter Fantasy Tea Party

Panels & Workshops: Get on one. Run one. The visibility will help build reader awareness and that is exactly what you want.

RT Panel in What RT Booklovers Convention Taught Me by Debra Kristi, author
Teen Lit Panel

Advertising: On this particular item, I think it’s subjective and personal. I found I paid attention to different ads than my friend and roommate. Some advertising locations were clearly lost on me and the one I had noticed time and time again my roomie never noticed once. If you know your reader, than pick accordingly.

RT Convention in What the RT Booklovers Convention Taught Me by Debra Kristi, author
Notice the advertisements on the pillars and partisans in the background.

Reader Event Parties: When I say ‘event parties’ I mean RT’s Fan-tastic Day or Teen Day Party. There are other great reader events put on by publishers and authors and are worth considerations if you have the opportunity, but what you want to do is get a book in the reader’s hand. It’s alright to give them a free book in the beginning. You’re building your foundation. If you’re looking at putting swag out, most of the paper swag is going to get left behind for the cleanup crews. Readers look for premium items and bookmarks. That’s where your focus should be.

All in all, I think I returned home with a greater understanding of what to expect next year. I will return better prepared.

And this year I think I did pretty darn fine. Did this information help you? Is there anything you would add?

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Thanks for stopping by! I truly appreciate your support.

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Until next time, immortally yours.


4 thoughts on “What the RT Booklovers Convention Taught Me”

  1. PatriciaPatricia

    Well it looks and sounds like you had an amazing time. And super congratulations on finaling in the contest. Best of luck to you.

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt

  2. Emma MeadeEmma Meade

    Congrats on being a finalist, Debra!
    I love the Mat Hatter Tea Party photo – looks like a lot of fun.

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