|USS New Orleans arrives in the Big Easy|
Public Domain (link)
I have attended 7 of the past 9 RT Booklovers' Convention (link). I consider myself a veteran ... but I am just as excited as any newbie attending RT. I offer helpful hints for those heading to the Big Easy:
1. Plan ahead. Review the agenda (link). Download the app (link). The convention staff have packed the schedule with back-to-back not-to-miss activities. It will take an organized reader to maximize the schedule with time to eat, sleep, and change into your costumes. Never mind email, reading, and writing (I laugh when I hear an author has a deadline during RT).
2. Come with a positive attitude. With two thousand eager booklovers, lines will be long. Chat with others in line. Sit at a table with readers you do not know. You never know if a fabulous author is sitting there, too (it's happened to me so many times I consider it the norm).
3. Always be prepared to meet an author ... in the hallway, in the lobby, and in the elevator. Most authors recognize public places are fair game. If you approach the author with a smile, you open the door for an autograph, picture, and a special moment to treasure.
4. Come light, go home heavy. Leave your favorite books at home - ask authors to sign a book plate and/or book mark instead. You want to free that space for new books, swags, etc.
5. Preprint mailing labels with your name/email to afix to entry forms for raffle baskets in Club RT and Promo Alley. The preprinted labels saves time ... and prevents hand cramps from filling out forms.
6. Speaking of Club RT, take a break from the hectic schedule to visit the vendors in Club RT ... and even chat with authors sitting at tables for small group discussions. I'll be in Club RT, promoting SOS America - a miltary charity sponsored by RT's own Kathryn Falk. Learn how you can support deployed personnel and military families. Share your own "war" story. We accept any books you don't want from goody bags - we'll donate them to the USO.
7. Bring snacks because you might sleep past breakfast, forget lunch in all the excitement, and dinner is often served late. Granola bars, trail mix, and dried fruit provide a healthy alternative to the frantic pace. Plus drink plenty of water!
8. Know your options for shipping. The convention hotel offers a Fed Ex/Kinkos in the lobby. Don't wait to the last minute ... ship as you fill up a box!
But I'll be stepping outside the hotel for fresh air and historic sights as I walk to the post office. I found two facilities within a mile of the hotel via usps.com:
Post Office/LaFayette Square: 600 Mastri Place, M-F, 9-5 (closed for lunch from 1-2)
Post Office/New Orleans: 701 Loyola, M-F: 7:30-7, Sat 8-3
I use my suitcase-on-wheels to roll boxes to the post office where the book rate is a cheaper option.
9. Be prepared for shipping. Preprint mailing labels to yourself. Pack mailing tape in your checked luggage (so the sharp edge of the dispenser isn't confiscated by TSA as a weapon). Pack flattened boxes as they became scarce at RT.
10. Bring your military coins ... make your own with a poker chip, state quarter, foreign coin, even dog tags. For more info about the coin challenge, check out this link.
Can you add a suggestion to the list? One randomly selected commenter wins a book choice from my convention stash. Comments are open through Saturday, May 10, 10 pm in Baltimore. I'll post the winner on Sunday, May 11.
Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City