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!
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?