Yesterday, I highlighted what I think went wrong at the convention. Today, I'm going to dole out some praise.
The Marriott: I checked in Monday night, so I'm not sure how the lines were Tuesday evening or Wednesday morning, but we had zero problems checking in. Our room was ready, check in was smooth and pleasant.
The Marriott also had plenty of security on site. There were water stations in every hall. The chairs were set up in ways that allowed for aisles (that has not always been the case). And while we didn't have microphones when we really could have used them, they were responsive and polite when asked for help with any logistical problem.
It also took us until Friday morning (and an event on the 41st floor) to jack up the elevators. Other than Friday, I didn't have a problem with waiting on an elevator more than a few minutes. Friday, of course, they rebelled and began refusing to assign elevators to anyone. The escalators managed the heavy loads just fine, too, which was a nice change from when we broke them at the last convention I attended.
Mardis Gras World: Sure the lines to get home on the bus and for the food were beyond awful, but I think considering the scale and ambition of the event, this actually went pretty smoothly. I was anticipating much more of a disaster, so kudos to the staff for pulling off such a huge deal with only some relatively minor hiccups. And if you actually got to try the food, it was pretty darn yummy. I appreciated that, because I really didn't get a chance to venture outside of RT much after the convention got really going.
The Avon/Penguin signings: Although heavily attended, there seemed to be lots and lots of books. I left before anyone ran out, but it seemed like the cupcakes, food and drinks were plentiful even if the books didn't last as long.
The author mix: Contrary to the grumblings I've been hearing on Twitter, I think RT did a great job making authors of...midlist or lower stature feel welcome. There were more NYT headliners than I ever remember seeing, but I met plenty of self pubbed, indie, digital-first authors who received equal billing at many of the panels I attended. Not once did I catch so much as a hint of snobbery for how people published or how much they've sold.
The badge ribbons: I liked the Blogger/Reviewer ribbon. I really did. I appreciated not just that authors could see it and know I was a blogger, but that I could find other bloggers, too. Sure some attended as readers, but for those of us who registered as bloggers, it was fun to have an at-a-glance ID method similar to the bookseller one.
The Smashwords Thumb Drive: I loved this. As much as I'm a paper reading gal, I was very glad to see the different titles and formats on the drive. It wasn't as many titles as advertized, but it was still more than enough for me.
The Dreamspinner App: Even if it brought me the sad, sad news that one of the main authors I wanted to meet was cancelling (I'm looking at you, Jill Shalvis), I really liked the app. I still pulled out my paper agenda, because that's how I am, but the messaging function, the 'contact card' function, and the ability to see who else in your circle was attending which workshop or event made it worthwhile for me. Plus it was easier to find the location in the app than on the paper agenda.