Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Reading Until Dawn -- Debrief

So the inaugural Reading Until Dawn Conference has come and gone.  This was my first go-round as a featured blogger, AND for a small conference.  The book events I've been to have either been short, afternoon or evening panel sorts of things, or RT, the great-gramma of them all.

Without reserve, I completely loved the small-conference situation.  As a first-year conference, there weren't many authors there that are on my auto-buy list, but I do love Darynda Jones' Charley Davidson series and most everything I've read from Jeffe Kennedy. Even so, the authors that were there, were creative and smart and fun, and I had a really wonderful time playing goofy games and getting to know everyone. I think you don't fully know a person until you've played Cards Against Humanity with them.

I can't help but compare this to RT, which is kind of a completely different planet in comparison. RT is really exciting, but... I'm not sure I like it better.  Casey, the organizer of RUDC, had a very clear vision that she did not want panels or lectures or anything that put the authors on one side of the room with the readers on the other, and I think she really succeeded in creating a situation where you could spend some fun time with any of the authors, bloggers, or readers that you hit it off with, or wanted to meet.  

Then there was the Featured Blogger thing. I'm a little on the fence about this. I mostly enjoyed putting everything together and running the fiction game; and it certainly pushed my posting frequency up to a place that I haven't seen in a while. I don't regret a minute of the time I put in and I'm really happy to have helped out Casey, who is just one of planet earth's Really Fabulous people. However, I'm not really sure that the posts were appealing to my usual audience. I worry that it was a little promo-heavy for my regulars.

I brought home a lot of books from the attending authors, and I will be reviewing as many of them as I can. I will of course give a disclaimer as to whether they were REALLY fun at the conference or just OK. I'm kidding, all of them were awesome, but of course I will note whenever I have a personal acquaintance with an author I'm reviewing.

I had a chance to talk to most of the authors that contributed to my fiction game and they all seemed to enjoy it.  I think my main lessons learned there is 1) start my back-of-the-house tracking spreadsheet early, because I did miss a few emails at different points which left a few authors wondering what was going on; and 2) set expectations on turn-around time. I had a couple of authors who got stuck, which isn't tragic since it's all in fun, but I need to be a little less timid about sending them to the back of the line if they're in a place where they have other priorities (which is COMPLETELY fine).  I might also try to figure out a way that I can run two stories concurrently to limit the gaps. Oh, and FYI: each story received a bit of a resolution... sort of.  I made chapbooks for the convention-goers with the whole story printed up.  I will run each of the two stories in the next couple weeks, top to bottom. So you have that to look forward to {wink}.

My 2016 conference schedule is kind of filling up already, as crazy as that is.  I'm for sure going to RT16 in Las Vegas.  I am really interested in going to the Historical Romance Retreat in Spokane, WA in September, because that one is drive-able for me.  I don't expect either of those to require much from me in the way of blogging or promotion.

HOWEVER, I have 100% committed to the Rust City Book Conference in August of 2016. Jackie has always been one of my staunchest and most loyal blog fans and mentors (I mean, she has her own tag here at Alpha Heroes), PLUS the conference is being held near my mother-in-law's house, so I will get good-daughter-in-law points practically for free. You can expect to see the occasional related post from me between now and the end of the year, and then more regularly starting in January.  I would welcome feedback from any of my readers as to how I can do this in a way that's interesting and fun, and not spammy.

So these are my thoughts on the con.  I realize that isn't much of a recap.  If you'd like to get more of an idea of what it was like, and whether you might like to go to the next one, I suggest you peruse the Facebook page, and if you have any specific questions I would be happy to answer them in comments or email. But let me just ask you this: Have you ever been to a conference with a pillow fort before? if not, I submit that you have been Missing Out.

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