RT is definitely a conference I recommend going to. It's one of the more social conferences, which is great, because publishing is a very social industry. Meeting people and making connections is both smart business and a wonderful way to make up for most of us having solitary, me-and-my-computer jobs. I work in my library all day by myself; getting out and meeting people who do what I do and love what I love is pretty darn awesome.
So, since clearly you are planning on going next year, here are some tips:
1) Book your hotel ASAP. I'm not kidding. Do it MONTHS before the convention starts. This year the discounted hotel block was full I think a good six months before the convention date. So make the decision to go early, and book as soon as you can. It's so nice to be in the hotel with the conference and be able to run up to your room to drop off books and bags or change or even take a power nap, and it's much cheaper since the convention gets a discounted rate.
2) Go to the panels, and plan which ones you want to hear. I learned so much from hearing Kiera Cass, Gayle Forman, Beth Revis, Amy Boggs, Jennifer Laughran, Jennifer Armentrout, etc. There's plenty of time for socializing after the panels end, and you won't want to miss them. The reader parties and signings and book events are fun, but it's also a great time to learn from the pros.
3) Make social plans ahead of time. Of course, it's great to see what happens and go with the flow, but it's easy to miss people you know because SO MANY people are there. So make plans with Twitter friends before you go, perhaps to meet up the first day or the next afternoon, and exchange some cell numbers (contacting each other through Twitter works, but it's easy to miss, too). Having some friends you can immediately connect with when you get there can save you from feeling lost in the crowd.
4) Get good sleep before going to the conference. This might seem obvious, but it almost always turns out I end up staying up late getting ready the night before leaving. If you're an introvert like me (and a lot of publishing people are) social things are a ton of fun but also take a ton of energy. If I'm tired and trying to socialize, I'm just not myself. So get good sleep, and take a quick nap in between panels or events during the day, so you're focused and quick on your feet for the evening, when all that awesome socializing and connecting happens.
Those are my main tips! I'll be posting more on my personal blog, some photos on my Tumblr, and a recap of the panels over on Publishing Hub, so check those out today and tomorrow, too!
And seriously. GO TO RT. :)
|Critique partner Alex Yuschik and me on Bourbon Street|
|Beignets at Cafe Beignet|
|Fantasy author panel including Leigh Bardugo, Tamora Pierce, Kelley Armstrong, Carrie Ryan, Rae Carson, and Morgan Rhodes|