Report from the book cons - tips & observations

The Madness of the Book Fair at RT
Recently I attended two book conventions, and I'll be heading to two more in June and July. These first two seemed like polar opposites but weren't really. The first was Albacon, a small sci-fi con in Albany where I got invited to be a featured guest and on four panels.
Tips for attending a sci-fi - fantasy lovers con:

*Understand that attendees are completely devoted to their cons, and many of them have been going for years.
*No need for makeup at sci-fi cons and dress casually. Blue fingernail polish fits in though...it's otherworldly.
*Pack a Comicon type outfit for evening parties.
*Don't expect to sell a huge amount of books, but do expect to talk in depth about your novels for the sell. And then some will buy.
*The panels are the very best thing! Because the writers are theoretical physicists, scientists, engineers, computer programmers, college profs, and other brainiac occupations. The discussion is guaranteed to be punchy, heated, inspiring and deep. So, if you like to talk about craft I recommend trying to get on a panel at any book con.
* Be ready to try a Star Wars simulator or the equivalent! Oh, and an ice-cream social.

Catherine with the fabulous Tamora Pierce
author of a zillion fantasy novels,
with her lovely PA
The next convention I attended was RT Booklovers in Dallas, a HUGE, GINORMOUS event. Although RT stands for "romance times", authors were also selling young adult lit, fantasy and sci-fi. And hey, I ran into Tamora Pierce, a very amazing fantasy-SF author at my RT hotel, so you never know!
Some tips from RT:
*Be ready to do some extreme networking, as this con has a jillion heavyweight agents, editors, publishers, bloggers, and fellow authors all over the place!
*Book your ticket and your sales table THE HOUR/Day IT GOES LIVE or miss out. (I was on a wait list for a table because I booked my ticket 3 weeks after RT went live.
*That said, you CAN book appearances at CLUB RT where book lovers come chat and get books.
YA sci-fi author Lydia Kang
was at RT
*SOOO many books were being given away that I recommend you come with free books to simply spread word.
***That said, the giant book fair is totally worth it!!! People made LOTS of sales when the public poured in! Lots of teen buyers too, so it's good for YA authors.
*Next year it's in Vegas. I'm no gambler, but hey, maybe a cheesy live show or two?
*Don't try to do everything, because it's impossible and you will burn out fast. Pick your panels according to your needs and passions.

In June I will be headed to UtopYA in Nashville, which caters to fantasy, sci-fi, romance, young adult novels and book lovers. In July, I will head to the RWA con in NYC. I may have more tips, who knows?!

Have you been to any amazing book conventions? What useful tips did you learn from it?


  1. Looks like you had a fun event. Books are everything!

  2. I've been to a few writers conferences but not a book convention yet. They sound like a lot of fun. UtopYA is one I really would like to attend one day... maybe when I have money for such things again.

    1. Cherie, it would be fun to meet you at UtopYA some year. I promise to report back on it.

  3. It sounds like you had a wonderful experience and that some of your books sold. The blue nail polish looks great and would fit in

    1. ahha, by the time I took that pix of the blue polish it was all chipping.

  4. Maybe some year I'll get to go. Sounds fun.

  5. I really wanted to go to the RT convention, as it's right now the road from me, but heard about it too late and already had something going on that weekend. :( Maybe next year I can convince my husband that we need to go out to Vegas. :)

    1. Vegas, yes, I do NOT gamble but it would be fun to see a totally cheesy show like Brittney or Cher or...

  6. I'm one of those who go to SF cons when I can. We have one annual convention in Melbourne, where I live, Continuum, and some "pop culture" events where you can buy books among other things. I agree that the panels are the best part of them, though some folk go just to socialise with people they can't see any other time. I usually appear on panels myself, as a writer, publisher and teacher librarian, on panels on small press, blogging, children's and YA fiction.

    Your mention of Albacon makes me a little sad - it makes me think of my late friend Jan Howard Finder, aka the Wombat, who lived in Albany and certainly got involved with Albacon.

    But you seem to have had a great time and luvky you, getting to meet Tamora Pierce! A fabulous YA writer! I heard her once at a Reading Matters conference, talking with one of our local writers, Michael Pryor, about Lord Of The Rings, and her love of it, a and the fact that there didn't seem to be any bathrooms in Middle-Earth. ;-)

    1. Yes, they had a whole session panel on the Wombat. He seemed to be greatly loved and missed.

    2. Oh, I'm so glad to hear that! A delightful man, he's loved and missed here too. He left me some money in his will and I'm gradually spending it on charities I know he would have supported.

  7. I've enjoyed going to cons when I can. This year I'm taking a step back from them but hope that maybe I can step back up next year. Glad you had a great time and thanks for sharing the tips :-)

  8. Sounds very exciting - lucky you!!

  9. Sounds like you had a fun and productive time.

  10. That sounds awesome! I have never been to a book convention, but I hope to get to one some time within the next year.


What's happening in your dimension?