RT: Bring Your SQUEE!!

Last year I went to my first RWA conference. It was a great experience, I met some amazing women, attended informal sessions about the craft and business of writing, and came home with dozens of books.

I didn’t really understand the difference between the RWA and RT gatherings. On paper, they seem remarkably similar: authors - published and fledgling - attending, informative sessions, and signings and big social events celebrating the romance, and in the case of RT, YA communities.

That’s on paper. In person I was stunned by how different the conferences are. RWA is about the business of romance: writing, publishing, and getting paid. There’s a reason it's called the “RT Booklovers Convention.” RT is about the reader, all about the SQUEE!!

However, I suck at fangirling. I have zero SQUEE!! game. Like none. My inherent shyness and lack of SQUEE!!, prevent me from rushing forward at the end of a session for the express purpose of saying “I love your books,” or getting books signed, or dear god, getting a photo taken with authors by the elevator.

Even the elevators had good SQUEE!! Christina Lauren's Sweet Filthy Boy was the RT Book of the Year.

There’s some business and learning going on at RT but it’s mainly an opportunity to let booklovers (see: truth in advertising) meet the writers they love, have fun, and play games. Literally, play games.

RT has a ton of sessions where booklovers can play games hosted by the authors they love and win prizes. Some of the prizes are amazing; some lucky RT attendees went home with new iPads/tablets. But you have to play the games, which honestly, I avoided. I don’t excel at excitedly throwing up my hands or shouting out answers. I lack SQUEE!! on several levels.

Now that I understand what RT is, I know it’s not really for me. And that’s ok. I learned a lot in the craft sessions I did attended, I added authors to my TBR pile that I didn’t know before, but am now excited about, and I met up with some friends I’d met at RWA last year. That said, I would highly recommend attending RT to any demonstrative fan of the romance and/or YA genres. But bring your SQUEE!!

Trial Run

I’m headed to the RT Convention in Dallas in less than 12 hours. RT is a conference of booklovers, mostly romance and young adult readers, mostly women who are excited, ney, passionate about reading and books. So passionate that they travel thousands of miles just to gather with others to talk about books they love and meet the authors who write them.

I’m using this as a trial run for the Bliss Tour, when I hit the road in my little Subaru and seek out the blissed out. It’s not far away (Dallas is only about three hours from Austin, in theory) and I don’t have any interviews scheduled. But I still feel like it’s the Bliss Tour. I’ll be surrounded by people whose eyes roll back in their heads at the mention of a book they love.

I keep picturing these women as book-holding whirling dervishes in an ecstatic dance of faith and joy. I have no idea why I see that. Weird, right?

But I like it. I’m excited to go, excited to see everyone, hoping their book bliss will rub off on me so I can whirl too.