Friday, March 20, 2015

Author, I'm Taking You to Your First RT.

The RT Booklovers Convention is coming up fast, and recently, I started thinking about the last few times I've been. Specifically, the first time, and how daunting it was.  I'd been published for a couple of years at that point, but I'd only recently returned to the States (I started my career overseas). RT 2012 in Chicago was my first ever face-to-face gathering. And it was amazing. And huge. And...yeah. Huge.

Let's face it -- RT is awesome, but it's also expensive and kind of intimidating. In 2012, I distinctly remember being overwhelmed by everything. I remember looking at the swag that everyone else had, and the posters people had up in the various thoroughfares, and wondering how in the world I'd ever be able to swing that and get my carcass to the convention in the first place.  And yet at the same time, I coveted the exposure that came with those posters and swag.

The thing is, the authors who stand to benefit the most from a convention like this often struggle to justify the expense. The very people who need to increase their sales and exposure the most are the ones who generally struggle to pay for it because they need those increased sales to fund the means for increasing those sales. It's a frustrating paradox!  The really awesome swag is expensive. The most visible and eye-catching advertisements and posters are expensive. Just being there is expensive.

But attending a conference like this is valuable, especially to new authors. You network, making connections with other authors, new readers, editors, agents, and the weirdos like me who hang out in the bar playing Cards Against Humanity. You see what other people are doing for their swag, their costumes, their advertisements, and you gain all kinds of knowledge and insight from panels and workshops. Just sitting in a restaurant can be incredibly valuable -- hearing what readers want, listening to other authors talk about their processes, having a one-on-one conversation with an editor or an agent.

Blah, blah, blah....get to the point, Lori.

Okay. The point is that my first, second, and third RTs were tremendously beneficial to me as an author, and to my career. There's a reason I'm flying all the way to Dallas from Spain this year -- RT is worth it!

So in 2016, I want to pay it forward.  I'm going to make one first-time attendee's experience easier, and help two more get themselves noticed.

In order to qualify, you must:

  • ...have never attended a previous RT.
  • ...have at least one book published and available for purchase in the United States by April 1,  2016. 
  • ...provide your own means of getting to Las Vegas for the convention.
To win, you must: 
  • ...provide an essay in which you explain why you want to attend RT, what you hope to get out of the convention, and your short and long term goals for your career as an author.

From the essays, I will select a group of finalists, and with the help of a group of published authors, determine a winner and two runners up. The number of finalists and the size of the panel will be determined based on the number of qualifying entries.

The two runners up will each receive $150 toward swag or advertising.

And for the winner, I will pay for the following:

  • Your conference registration as a published author (approximately $500).
  • Your hotel room for the duration of RT (April 12-17, 2016 - 5 nights) at the conference hotel.
  • $250 toward custom, professionally produced swag.
  • $250 toward an advertisement of your choice.
  • One celebratory drink at the bar.

In addition to financial assistance, I will provide a guest spot on my blog for a follow-up post about your experiences at RT. Also, one-on-one guidance at the convention. This means help with pitches, going over the agenda to decide which panels and workshops will be most helpful for your goals, helping you set up and prepare for the book signing, generally navigating the conference, etc. This part is entirely optional, but is there if you need it.

To Enter:

Send your essay as a Word attachment, along with all professional social media links, and links to your book(s) to this e-mail address with "Send me to RT!" in the subject line.

All entries must be received by August 1, 2015 September 1, 2015

Good luck, and I hope to see you in Las Vegas!

All the nitty gritty mumbo jumbo restrictions: PLEASE READ! Submitting your entry means agreeing to all terms laid out in this blog post.

  • Questions: Comment on this blog post, or e-mail me.
  • Hotel coverage: I cannot control the availability of hotel rooms. In the past, the RT hotel has booked up quickly. It will be your responsibility to book your room at the convention hotel or overflow hotel. My guarantee is to cover a room of equal or lesser value of a room with one queen bed at the convention rate. Upgrades, room service, additional roommates, extra days, incidentals/damage, etc., are your responsibility.
  • Guidance for panels, etc: I will do my best to be available whenever needed between breakfast and dinner on each day of the conference. If I am unable to attend the conference due to illness or other circumstances, I will make a good faith effort to connect you with someone who can help you in my place.
  • Advertisements/Swag: You will need to provide graphics such as cover art, but I will assist in connecting you with designers and such, and pay for up to $250. "Swag" refers to items such as bookmarks, postcards, buttons, keychains, or the like, to be given out at the convention. "Advertisements" refer to ads in the RT program or posters and the like at the convention.
  • Publication requirement: Self-published titles and ebooks are allowed. Vanity publishers are not. If you aren't sure if your publisher qualifies, please feel free to ask.
  • Cancellation: If you are unable to attend, please contact me as soon as possible so that arrangements can be made for another author to go in your place.
  • Celebratory drink at the bar: Obviously you must be 21 or older. And no $1,500 glass of 7,000 year-old cognac garnished with gold flecks and the tears of angels.  A reasonably priced drink, y'all.
  • All financial assistance will be paid directly to vendors (RT, the hotel, graphic designers, etc.). Cannot be redeemed for cash or anything else. 
  • Non-transferable.


  1. WOW ... wish I was a writer!! Err ... no I don't. I LOVE being a reader! I would love to just sit & listen to you & other writers talking. I love both spoken & written words! So glad you are coming back to see all of your friends! I'll go babysit the cats & pool & Eddie & your beautiful coach ... hee hee

  2. Holy shit, this is incredible. I'm entering! I've only ever been to one conference and it wasn't RT or GRL, and it's another thing I passed on this year due to expense. I am THERE, and retweeting this for others.

    Thank you for the opportunity.

  3. Oh, my goodness. What an amazing gift. I want to do this. Hell, I want to be on your side of the offer one day. You're awesome. I'm going to enter.

  4. Oh, my goodness. What an amazing gift. I want to do this. Hell, I want to be on your side of the offer one day. You're awesome. I'm going to enter.

  5. What a star you are. Thank you for being so generous.

  6. Wow! What an amazing contest! You're incredible :-)

  7. From the perspective of someone who is an aspiring author and struggles with paying for conferences, I think this is absolutely amazing and makes me realize exactly why you are one of my favorite authors. I think doing this is wonderful and I hope you get somebody wonderful chosen.

  8. Very awesome! Looking to enter this at the end of July. (: Thank you for the opportunity!

  9. how wonderfully generous of you xx

  10. Lori, that's incredibly generous of you. Expect a letter from me. Seriously.