When I first signed up for RT 2015 back in January, I had plans of having my first book out by the time the event occurred, or in the near vicinity of those dates. Since that didn’t happen, for reasons that aren’t that important now, I decided to go anyway. Then, an interesting (and odd) thing began to occur: it seemed like another event that I would want to be a part of landed on that week; seminars, concerts and all kinds of fun and interesting things in my home town, which was very unusual. So, when planning my trip, I decided to attend the RT 2015 Bootcamp and head back home. The plan was simple and very doable – booked flights and considered the matter ‘done’.
Then, I attended the RT 2015 Bootcamp… Wow! The sheer amount of knowledge I gained from that couple of days blew me away. Then, once we were able to register on Tuesday, I received the schedule. It was so shiny…so filled with possibilities about panels and authors that were going to be there – and the fun events! Yep, you guessed it: the day before I was supposed to fly back home, I made all the necessary arrangements to stay through Saturday so I could attend all the wonderful panels. Was I crazy?! Had I lost my mind?! Who does this?!
Well, I’ll tell you a little secret: it was SO much more than I hoped it would be. For now, I only consider myself a “writer” until I actually I’ve actually produced a book – it’s surprising how many people have their own opinions about what the word “author” actually means. As a soon-to-be author, the information in these panels hit home for me more than ever before. After working with my “partnership publisher”, Wise Ink, for a few months and hearing so many terms around promotion and marketing that I didn’t really understand, for authors and industry professionals to be sitting before crowded rooms (some uncomfortably so) sharing their experiences with us, especially about things that didn’t work so well for them, proved invaluable. THIS is what a conference is for: to share and discuss ideas that provide much needed guidance down a potentially treacherous path, if you don’t realize what you’re doing.
For this not-so-small reason, I can’t imagine not attending this conference in the future. It seemed that the panels were set up so you are able to get as much information as possible in the shortest amount of time. I have to admit that some panels did occur at the same time, causing me to have to cut some short so I could catch a few minutes of others. What I have finally learned is that for most of the ‘industry’ panels, you can catch the last of it and get excellent information from their summary as the moderator wraps things up. Not all of the sessions actually do this, but with this information in mind I believe it helped guide me to the ones I needed to be in and, for me, I feel like I got the information I needed.
My RT 2015 MAJOR HIGHLIGHTS:
Anything with K.P. Simmons, from InkSlinger PR, on the panel. She’s a Goddess in my eyes when it comes to understanding the ins-and-outs of publishing and promotion! We met at UtopYAcon a few years ago and I think I’ve hung on her every word since then. Also, the authors that I live for and admire for their amazing talents made each panel they were a part of so much more enriching with just their wit, candor and intelligence: Colleen Hoover, Abbi Glines, Diana Pharaoh Francis and Victoria Scott, to name just a few.
But, of course, I cannot leave out Patricia Briggs – astoundingly intelligent and helpful on THE FUTURE OF URBAN FANTASY panel. (So sorry about the sobbing, fan-gurl episode when I got to speak with you in the hallway! You were enormously gracious and I am an even bigger fan of you & your work, if that’s even possible!) If you ever get a chance to attend any function with any of these amazing people, please do yourself a favor and GO!
To sum things up, I think that sometimes the universe just likes to ask you “What’s it worth to you? Are you IN?!” by throwing hurdles and potential roadblocks in your path, watching your reaction to gauge just how much something really means to you. So, now, I guess you need to ask the same question of yourself, for whatever goal you may have set and have had a little trouble with: What’s it worth to you? Are you IN?