Suggestions and Feedback from RT12 for RT13
I've only been to one previous RT event, so it could just be that last year was an outlier. But this year's RT was crowded, the lines were really long, the food ran out early at nearly every event, as did the swag.
That didn't happen so much last year.
I think a large part of that was that RT didn't cap attendance or set a registration deadline (that I know of.) And there were several "high profile" authors who normally don't bother with RT. They also opened up most of Saturday's events to a one day "FAN" pass. I don't mind the end of the "mangeant" (Mr. Romance) so much as the fact that they took a paid , convention-only event and then substituted something open to the public that they could then get extra $ for.
Especially when they were constantly RUNNING OUT of everything.
I didn't like the idea of the "FAN-tastic" day and the reality turned out to be much, much worse. Basically, for me, it makes most of Sat (after the book fair) and all of Sunday a waste of registration money and time.
I also didn't like that they did not have anything, not a single panel, geared for BLOGGERS. I knew this going in, but was still surprised by the oversight. There were a lot of us there as "readers", but I don't think a panel would have gone amiss, considering how interested many of the publishing people became once my bookseller friend introduced me as a blogger/reviewer.
On the logistics side, I wish we had more food options available. Yes, we could order in from outside the hotel, but the on-site food options were awful and extremely expensive. $4.25 for a small bottle of water, and there weren't as many water stations around as there were last year.
Now for the positives: the hotel was easy to access from the airport. There was a shuttle that ran 24/7, even when I had to fly out at the crack of dawn on Monday. The train station was a short, 5 minute walk away, so we were able to go into Chicago and do a little sight-seeing on Sunday.
The panels on Wed-Fri were all excellent. I loved the games, and really enjoyed the author chats. The parties? With the really long lines and no guarantee of food/swag, it was more of a pain than the fun it was supposed to be.
The best part, as always, was chatting with old and new friends. I was really happy to finally meet some authors I've chatted with on Twitter (Louisa Edwards!) as well as see some of my fellow bloggers in person.
Overall, I had a great time at RT. Next year, the RT convention is in Kansas City during the first week in May. Hopefully that will help with all of the conflicts between Passover and Spring Break. I'm not sure I'll attend next year, but anyone who goes is sure to have a good time.