Friday, May 2, 2014

Aloha to the RT Booklovers' Convention - Making the Most of the Magic

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

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


  1. If you see a line of people, get in it then figure out what it's for - you can always get out of it if you aren't interested, but it may get you a little further ahead.

  2. Make sure you have breath mints handy; you don't want to be worried you would put off someone, particularly an author. LOL. You don't want to miss out on any good opportunity coming up.

  3. Haven't been to a convention, so I don't have any tips to share.

  4. I've never been to one but it sure sounds like you have it down pat!!!

  5. I've never been to a book convention, but I imagine it's a lot of fun.

    I'd imagine it would be good to have a small purse (pouch) that can be hung around your neck to hold ID, money, labels, business cards, pen, etc. to free up your hands.

    Marcy Shuler

  6. Do ,mot,like yours, thanks

  7. You seem to have it all covered... I might add that if any meal offers a piece of whole fresh fruit... take it and you'll have something to eat back in your room.

  8. I'm not going this year but I got my fingers crossed for the next one!

    I would say don't forget your camera so you can record memories with your favorite authors, new friends, New Orleans and the Ellora's Cave Cavemen :-)

  9. Have a great time! You're an old pro at attending book conventions.

  10. Just devour every moment, sounds like a wonderful event and how lucky can you get, I saw Wendi Corsi Staub's name on the list and how great it would be to meet her.

  11. I think you have it covered! Have a great time!

  12. What a fabulous lot of handy hints Kim. I would add some bubble wrap to that list. This way, if you get any precious signed cover flats, pens, or any other fragile items, they can be secured in the bubble wrap.

    Have a lovely time at the convention. One of these days I will get to one of these and be part of all the excitement.

  13. I hope everyone has a great time. If I were going I would make a list of what are the most important events that I want to attend and put them on my calendar so I wouldn't miss them.

  14. Have a fun time, Kim! I don't have any tips to add to your list.

  15. such a good list of suggestions. wish I was going so I could put some to use (I'm so jealous) have lots of fun for those of us stuck at home/work :)

  16. Wonderful tips, Kim! Hope you have a wonderful time.

  17. those are great tips! Have fun :)

  18. also bring those address labels that we all receive in the mail from various charities, organizations, etc.....

  19. Good tips; haven't been to one, so not sure

  20. I think all your suggestions are great! I would love to attend that convention sometime.

  21. I'm so excited to go. This will be my first time there. I just found out about club RT and hope they can find a place for me. I'll also be at all the Kensington events.

  22. Every year I see your posts after you attend RT and it makes me want to go so badly! I should look up next years location and start planning now so it doesn't sneak up on me again. Have fun!!

  23. Love the post, Kim! Made a few handy notes to self as I am right in the middle of packing for RT. Woohoo! So excited about attending for the second year in a row. Still have stars dripping from my eyes over all the free, autographed books I toted home last year - including a pre-release by Brandon Sanderson from Tor Forge. Earned me some mega mom points with my kiddo in college who reads everything Sanderson.

  24. Comfy shoes and a water bottle! Look forward to you sharing your pictures!