Welcome to Writing Tip Wednesday! A writing career consists of much more than writing stories. Be prepared. Be educated. Make well-informed decisions. For writing craft topics, see the Labels list in the left sidebar as you scroll down the page or check out my handbook in e-book or print.
Conferences, workshops, and online classes emphasize the educational aspects of writing, although some conferences offer book-signing opportunities. Conventions, on the other hand, focus on reader-author relations. Book signings are an important part of conventions, along with meet-and-greet events and a party-type atmosphere. Cover models often attend conventions, giving both authors and readers a chance to meet their favorite heroes.
The (Romantic Times) RT Booklovers Convention is one of the biggest and most popular annual conventions. Like national conferences, the registration fee can be a major expense (and is tax-deductible). RT moves from region to region each year. Most recently, the convention has been held in Chicago and Kansas City, and is in New Orleans this week (May 13-18, 2014). Next year’s venue is Dallas. RT also offers workshops to attendees on a smaller scale than the typical national writers conference. https://www.rtconvention.com/
Another popular convention is Lori Foster’s Reader-Author Get Together near Cincinnati, Ohio. This event focuses on connecting romance readers and writers, offering two book signings and a variety of social gatherings for reader-author interaction. The reasonable fee is based on author or reader registration, and space is limited—currently 100 authors. RAGT is a more intimate convention due to its smaller size. http://lorifoster.com/connect-with-lori-online/readerauthor-get-together/
Romance Novel Convention (RNC) is a newer event, founded by well-known cover model Jimmy Thomas. This convention is held in Las Vegas and offers workshops, classes, and plenty of opportunities to socialize with models Jimmy works with in his successful cover art business. Registration is mid-range priced and may be discounted with all-inclusive packages. http://romancenovelconvention.com/
RomCon consists of an educational portion for authors and a social portion for reader and author interaction. Mid-priced registration fees are based on attendance of one or both parts. RomCon offers book signings, chats, and other events for readers to talk to their favorite romance authors and meet new ones by sub-genre. The convention is held in Colorado. Author spaces are limited. http://www.romcon.com/index.html
Authors After Dark Convention focuses on romance readers and is a mid-priced event. It offers reader-author interaction and a public book signing as well as a costume ball for paid attendees. This convention changes venues from year to year. Author spaces are limited. http://www.authorsafterdark.org/index.html
Indie Romance Convention (IRC) offers a book signing, games, parties, and discussions for readers to interact with authors. IRC’s location changes from year to year to allow readers from different regions to attend. This is another mid-priced event. Author spaces are limited. http://indieromancecon.com/registration/
A Google search will yield more regional and genre-specific conventions. Remember that conventions are for connecting with fans and finding new ones as well as meeting other authors. The atmosphere is much more casual than a conference and gives authors a chance to directly introduce potential readers to their books.
Promotional item (swag) giveaways are a great way to attract those new readers at conventions. Some popular choices are bookmarks, trading cards, postcards, pens, fans, magnets, and jewelry. Vistaprint and Etsy shops offer a wide selection of personalized items at varying prices. And that swag is tax-deductible too!
Romance...With A Kick!