Katiebabs is a self-proclaimed present day bluestocking with her head always in a book. She runs her own book blog called Babbling about Books and More!
Your Twitter feed may blow up this week with the hashtag #RT14. Every year around this time authors and readers descended upon the chosen venue to talk romance, get books signed and squee over sexy book boyfriends. If you’re off to New Orleans to join the party, some of the All Romance staff will be there so be sure to say hello. I (Kat), however, am staying behind to water the plants and feed the pets. I am attending Authors After Dark, though, and a few smaller cons later in the year – so look out for me.
Whether you plan to attend your first RT, AAD, or any romance readers con, it’s a good idea to go prepared. Cons can overwhelm a first-timer, so if you are able to get a schedule in advance definitely map out what you want to see and do, so you don’t miss anything. Some other tips to get you through:
1) Be comfortable. You will walk, a lot. Spike heels may rock with your ball costume, but during the day wear comfy shoes when you’re trekking across a huge convention hotel. Keep bottled water with you all the time, too, and stay hydrated.
2) Ship stuff. If you’re flying in, you may want to arrange to ship all the free books and goodies you collect. Many cons offer assistance for shipping boxes homes, so take advantage of it. It beats paying extra baggage fees.
3) Address labels. Many cons have drawings and giveaways. Walk into a swag room and there are boxes everywhere from authors giving away cool stuff. Carry pre-printed labels to stick on entry cards, or take along custom business cards with your name, mobile, and e-mail. Once at the hotel, write your room number on them, too, so you can collect your prize at the hotel.
4) Research free WiFi. The hotel may be huge and offer awesome amenities, but WiFi remains spotty wherever you go. Before you travel, research nearby spots that have free connections, like a Starbucks or Panera. That way, if you need to check e-mail and can’t do so at the hotel, you have a backup.
5) Take a sweater. I know, I sound like Mom. It doesn’t matter if it’s a bajillion degrees where you are – hotel meeting rooms can get cold. Take a layer along, you just may use it.
What advice would you give to somebody attending RT, AAD, or anywhere else for the first time?