This year I attended my first Romantic Times Booklovers Convention, or as I’ll forever think of it – SWAGfest 2013. It was the 30th annual conference, which brought together readers, authors, publishers, reviewers, librarians, and bloggers – booklovers. I’d been to other writing conferences, but it had been a while, and this was my first time as published author (My tenth book comes out this month).
For me, the best part was meeting authors I’d known only by name and Facebook/Twitter/email interaction. It was interested to place not only faces with names, but personalities. Some people were exactly as they sounded online, while others were quite different.
I met some of my fellow Loose Id authors – and LI publisher Treva Harte, as well as a contingent from Blushing Books, known for its spanking fiction. And I met readers, and bloggers. Like a
fangirl, I stood in line at the massive Book Fair to get autographs from erotic romance authors Shayla Black and Lora Leigh. Both of them influenced my career. I’d been reading erotic romance, some of it not well written, when I read Shayla’s Wicked Ties. My first thought was, “This is how it should be done.” And Lora Leigh’s Forbidden Pleasure contained two things I’d never read until then: a ménage and a spanking scene. You see the connection, don’t you?
In the interest of self-improvement, I attended craft and business workshops, and picked up some good tips. I especially want to thank author Cassandra Carr for a personal tutoring session on Street Teams. Her information will be immensely helpful.
I expected an inundation of SWAG (promo items, aka Stuff We All Get), but to see it on display was quite a sight to behold. I actually took very little SWAG because I only wanted to see what other authors did rather than because I wanted a button or a bookmark. Even so, I accumulated quite a haul, which included:
- 20 books
- 1 Cosmo magazine
- 1 DVD movie
- 30 bookmarks
- 6 pens
- 5 tote bags
- 1 T-shirt
- 1 hat
- 1 water bottle
- 2 drink cozies
- 4 key chains – including a glass dildo and a “pecker checker” (a tape measure)
I also acquired another item, which I discarded before I came home. This was the conversation with my husband:
Me: “Oh, and I also got a condom, but I threw it away. I was afraid I’d forget about it and you’d find it in my purse three months from now.”
DH: “That was very smart.”
At the start of the conference I was bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, but by six days later, my tail was noticeably dragging. But to quote an overheard snippet:
“All you need at the conference is two meals a day and three hours of sleep.”