Red Carpet Conventions for Readers

I don’t know about you, but I love this idea of a reader-focused convention.

Don’t get me wrong. I LOVE the Romantic Times Booklovers convention. Do you hear me? I said, I LOVE it!

But…

Over the last few years that I’ve attended, it’s grown more writer-focused and that’s not what I want out of a convention.  If you don’t believe me, then a quick look at the program should change your mind. The writer’s event block is almost three times the size of the reader one.  Unless you’re an aspiring author or a published one who wants to hang out with your peeps, I’m sad to say there’s really not much for you.  Though I’ve read a lot of urban fantasy books, I’m also a writer. I’m too busy writing my own to read as much as I should. However, I shouldn’t be “the” target market when I’m writing for it. Unfortunately, I think RT is losing sight of that and why authors themselves are coming up with other alternatives for readers. 

I’ve found two, I hope, will live up to the reader-focused convention: Authors After Dark and RomCom.  When I heard about the idea behind these two conferences, they immediately reminded me of Celebrate Romance 2008 (man, I miss them), which was one of the best reader-focused conferences I’ve ever attended.  The originators of the events aren’t out to make any money, so that keeps the costs low.  Their only goal is to connect with readers by giving them what they want, starting with 2 – 3 meals being included in the cost.  One of these days, I’m going to attend both of these conventions. 

My most memorable moment from RT was hanging out with the fabulous Sabrina Jeffries, Qwillia Rain, and Lydia Dare.  But the one that ranks at the top was the reader’s event hosted by the fabulous Dakota Cassidy.  She was awesome.  She hosted a version of American Idol where the audience got to help dress one of the male models as their favorite hero.  Dakota was wildly entertaining, as was her host panel that included L.A. Banks and Jackie Kessler.  As a reader, I had a blast!  Speaking from an author’s point of view, we need more conventions like this.   Heck, don’t make me start my own.  😉

As a reader, what are some of the things that you’d like to see at a conference/convention?

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10 thoughts on “Red Carpet Conventions for Readers

  1. Three weeks ago, I went to a signing for 5 authors who were on tour, guided by Levy. Several people complained to me that they were surprised the authors didn’t speak, even a short time. All they did was sign. We expected it to be more and were disappointed.

    I bought a book from one of them, and I probably would have bought more if they’d spoken. It’s not quite an answer to your question, but it’s all I got.

    • Oh Edie. Don’t get me started. That’s a huge pet peeve with me because it stinks of aristocrasy. When a reader spends their hard-earned time and money to read a book, then why can’t an author make an attempt to connect with their fans. Now granted it was possible that the Levy Tour was on a tight deadline and they

  2. As a reader, I’d like the opportunity to interact with the author, you know, a Q&A after they’ve done some chit-chat about themselves and their books.

    Back when I was a more active member of our local library readers group, I arranged several phone conferences for the group with authors . Both sides loved it; as readers it worked as a selling point – if you love the writer, you’ll buy her/his next book; from the writers’ viewpoint, they get valuable feed back that they don’t find from reviewers, who are so often arm-chair quarterback/editor-wannabes, imo.

    So, yes indeed, I’d love to attend a reader focused convention, and not one where it’s all about the authors.

    • I remember when you were doing that, Kath, and I thought it was a fantastic idea. I love interacting with readers and over the phone is as comfortable as you can get. Once everyone is in their comfort zone, authors and readers, they click. You can add instant buys for your next book. But if it’s a one-sided thing where readers don’t get to interact with the authors, then why would they want to buy anything from them? The chitchat breaks that ice.

    • 😆 You just bulldoze your way in.

      Okay, not quite like that, but I can see you doing it. 🙂 I’m with you though. Depending upon the situation, I’ll interact on my own as well.

  3. Sounds great. Even though I’m trying my hand at writing, I was a reader first. I love meeting authors of my fav books. I’m definitely a fan-girl.

    • Don’t eve go there with the fan girl thing. LOL! I’m a huge fan girl when I want to be and I get totally dumbstruck whenever I meet/see one of my fav authors. You want to see me clam up, throw me in front of Kelly Armstrong. 🙂

  4. Hey Marcia. You’re totally right about RT. Much as I enjoyed it, there wasn’t as much in it for the reader. Something I think is important and which RT is beginning to lose. I’d much rather connect with readers when I go to a conference. Afterall, that’s the name of the game.

    • Exactly! While I like interacting with my author friends and hanging out with them–don’t get me wrong–but the whole point of RT was to be a readers convention. I don’t feel that anymore. It’s more like an author get together and a gig for the fan base that shows up. I’d like to actully take it to another level where I get to sit down and have a drink or a meal with fans. Heck, I’ll be more than happy to even meet them on the dance floor. But the way RT is set up, it’s not like that anymore. I’m not sayin turn away authors so that there’s a good ratio of authors to readers. All I’m saying is they need to make the panels more reader-based, since they’re the ones paying out all of their money and hardly getting any time with their favs.

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