As promised, today’s post is a recap of my experience at RWA’s Blogger Day, which was held at the end of the Romance Writers of America annual conference and could be attended separately of everything else.
The day started off with a bag of books, as any good bookish day does, honestly. I was seriously planning to go into this event and not pick up too many books (I definitely overdid it last year), but that plan went completely out the window as soon as they handed me my swag bag. We got SO MANY BOOKS! Though interestingly, most of them were finished copies of books that are already out, so I already own a few. And when we went to our seats, they had copies of both of Alyssa Cole’s Reluctant Royals novellas, as well as these adorable Reluctant Royals crowns.
Alyssa Cole’s speech at the librarian/blogger breakfast was the first event of the day, and as expected, it was amazing. Seriously, I almost didn’t attend Blogger Day this year because, as fun as it was last year, I didn’t think I needed to go again. But I signed up as soon as I saw Alyssa Cole would be the featured speaker, and she didn’t disappoint. It was just so powerful to hear her talk about her experiences and how much it means to see people who look like her on the covers of romance novels, plus she’s really funny and had a great story about stealing books from the library when she was a kid.
After Cole’s speech and signing, there was a live recording of Fated Mates/Wicked Wallflowers. I’m not a big podcast fan, but it was pretty cool to sit in on one being recorded, plus they had all kinds of book recs. And they hooked us up with more books, included a Kresley Cole novel (I snagged the very first Immortals After Dark book, A Hunger Like No Other, since I haven’t read the series before) and different recs from Avon (I didn’t take one since I already own all of the books they were handing out).
The bloggers split up from the librarians and went to a different room following the podcast recording, and they had arcs of Royal Holiday waiting for us in there, the only arc I got at RWA this year. I’m pretty excited for this since it’s basically a romance for Meghan Markle’s mom, and I didn’t know it was a think I needed until Jasmine Guillory announced it. So I’m super excited to get my hands on this! Then we had a roundtable discussion for a half hour or so about challenges facing bloggers, which I thought was really interesting. I would have liked that discussion to go on a lot longer, because I’m sure we could all talk for ages about tips and tricks for blogging, but alas, we had more on the agenda.
Next up was a panel with people from Fated Mates, Wicked Wallflowers, and Heaving Bosoms about how to start a podcast. I have mixed feelings about this panel because, while it was really interesting and the panelists all had some great advice, I have no interest in starting a podcast, and I’m not sure many people there do. After all, we all already have platforms where we talk about books and podcasts are a lot of work on their own, let alone on top of our other platforms. As informative as the panel was, I’d be really surprised if anyone left and actually started their own podcast. I should add, too, that I’m not much of a podcast listener, so this panel was never going to be the right fit for me, but I enjoyed learning more of the behind the scenes that goes into creating one. If I ever do decide to listen to a podcast, I think these ones are really good places to start! And if you’re interested in starting your own podcast, all of these podcasters seemed more than happy to help however they can if you reach out to them.
The last event of Blogger Day proper was a mixer with the librarians and various authors. I do ok talking to new people one on one or in smaller groups, but this was a big mass of people and I didn’t know most of them, so it was a little overwhelming. Fortunately I did recognize a few people and was able to go talk to them (hi Grace and Aarya!), and I wound up in a line to get Melonie Johnson’s Getting Hot with the Scot, which she kindly signed for me. I also got to meet a few new authors there, and I’m excited to check out their books. In the end I had fun, but I have to admit to being a bit freaked out when the event started!
While that was the last event of RWA Blogger Day, RWA still had its Literacy Signing for the public later that day, so Esther from Essie’s Love Corner and I got in line together in the ballroom and hung out there. Talking with her and other readers in line (hi Eliza!) was much more my speed, and the time flew by until it was time for the Literacy Signing to start.
I actually didn’t have any books I wanted to get signed myself, but I did have some swag I wanted to pick up, so I stopped by Alisha Rai and Jessie Mihalik’s tables. I also stopped by Courtney Milan’s table since I promised Jenica a signed copy of After the Wedding. And I met up with a friend at Maisey Yates’ table (hi Holly!) and noticed that Anna Zabo was sitting right next to her, and since I’m a fan of Zabo’s on Twitter but haven’t actually read any of their books, I decided to get a copy of Close Quarter signed. I really wasn’t at the signing long, but I’m glad I stuck around for it. I love seeing so many readers excited to meet their favorite authors, and the energy in the room was so much fun. Of course, now I’m kicking myself for not stopping by a few other authors’ tables and saying hi and snagging some of the swag I saw them sharing on Twitter, but I’m trying to remind myself that I don’t really NEED all of those stickers and buttons.
While the Blogger Day event maybe wasn’t as helpful to me as a blogger as, say, Blogbound was before BookExpo, I still had a great time at the event and am really glad I decided to go. The only downside is that I was making so much progress on my TBR and now have a zillion new books, but I’m pretty excited about these books, so that’s not much of a downside! I wouldn’t recommend going out of your way to attend the Blogger Day unless there’s an author you really want to meet at the Literacy Signing (personally I think KissCon is more worth the trip as a reader or blogger), but if it’s in your area, it’s definitely worth checking out!
I also want to mention that it’s so interesting to see how the event differed from last year. The order of events was completely turned around, with an author lunch instead of a breakfast, and a mixer with the RITA winners last year that they didn’t this year (though considering all of the issues with the RITAs, that may be for the best). But the podcast recording was new and pretty cool. Also, I came home with a lot more arcs last year than I did this year, and the goodie room wasn’t nearly as well stocked. But I still came home with a pretty hefty stack, so I’m really not complaining!
All in all, I had an amazing time attending Blogger Day and all of the other romance events last week, and I can’t wait to dive into this stack of new books!