Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Book Conventions I'd Love To Attend

A few weeks ago, I had an interesting chat with someone about book conventions and what sorts of items top the list for a writer heading out to such a huge event. In years past, I've attended several amazing and well-organized writing events, both on my own as part of a small local organization of writers, so I can definitely give some feedback into what to bring to an author convention ... except ... well, I've never actually been to an author convention, specifically. Signing events are a bit different - they lack the same level of learning experience offered by the chance to attend (or participate in) speaking panels, as well as the pomp and circumstance of awards ceremonies and things like that.

But a girl can dream, right? So without further ado (and in no particular order):



 01. Penned Con
This convention is hosted annually in St. Louis, MS, and from what I hear, it's utterly amazing. The convention offers a variety of learning experiences, tons of chances to get up close and personal with the authors you love, an awards show, a two day book signing event, panels, workshops, and even a huge party! And to top it all off, the convention is deeply focused on giving back to the community and helping those in need with their connection to Action for Autism. 2017's event just passed, but 2018 is underway for the minds behind Penned Con, and tickets to the 2018 event are already being advertised here!

When I first heard about this signing, I literally squealed with glee. There was a masquerade ball. I believe there was some mention of horse-drawn carriages. It was to be held at an unspeakably lovely Inn in Frankenmuth, MI. There would be books and authors and workshops and awards and ... sigh. Just the place for me - I could lose myself among the most bookish of people, spending time learning and having fun with those most like me! Due to certain circumstances, I didn't get to go that year, and I haven't had the chance to go since then, either. But I want to. I want to with all my little heart! Tickets for the 2018 event are already available for this one here, and there will be a Toga Party! What?!

Started as a conference for writers and lovers of Young Adult fiction, this conference grew quickly over the years and exploded in popularity - at least in my circles. I had several author pals who went multiple times, and I always had to unfollow them a little bit during UtopiaCon season, otherwise it broke my heart a little every time I got reminded that there was a major writing conference only a few hours away from where I live ... and I couldn't go to it. I was - and am, for the most part - okay with the fact that travel and conferences just aren't part of this chapter of my life right now, and I was - and still am - thrilled for my friends who are out there experiencing and learning with the pioneers of independent publishing ... but it still stings a little, if I'm honest - especially because this conference was always right in Nashville, only a few hours from where I live. And now I'll never get to attend this one, because they're not doing it anymore.

I don't think a romance novelist can make a list of dream conventions without including something from RWA. Despite recent whisperings in the publishing industry about problems within the RWA, their convention is generally agreed to be well-planned, well-executed, and full of incredibly valuable information. I also love that so many of my personal favorite authors are members of RWA, and thus, I could hope that some of them might be in attendance. Another amazing thing is that if you click the link above this paragraph, you can find information about RWA conferences all the way out 'til 2021. How's that for planning ahead? The only thing is, the 2017 event has already passed - but that just means you've got time to plan ahead for a ton of learning in 2018!

This is another one that came onto my radar because I'm connected to people who have gone to it or are involved with throwing it (similar to Penned Con and Once Upon A Book), and have heard about a million firsthand stories that illustrated the awesomeness of the event while shattering my left-out little heart into jagged little pieces of sadness. This year's InD'Scribe event literally just passed (only a few days ago), with the talented Marie Force teamed up with Brenda Novak to act as keynote speakers at the event. Unfortunately, as the event literally passed, I couldn't find information about the 2018 conference, but the link above would take you to more direct information.

The fun thing about this convention, other than the party and signing event and VIP extras, is that as this event moves around the country, its name changes each time. Aptly named LoveNVegas, the 2017 event will be held in Las Vegas, NV, and hosted at the beautiful Planet Hollywood Hotel. They've even created a beautiful itinerary for this year's Love N. Vegas event, to be held October 27th/28th; tickets are still available for this event, and they'll have volunteers who will act as "bookmarks" to hold your place in the longer lines, so that you have time to meet and greet as many authors as possible! Planning to catch a red-eye and make to Vegas in time? Check out Vegas.com for steals and deals on everything from hotels to shows while you're in town! Future events from Love N. Books are just as cutely named, with LoveNSalem being held in June 2018, and then LoveNColorado to come in April 2019.

This is another huge event, with the 2018 version spanning three days at the end of May 2018 and including celebrities of all sorts, including Ginger Zee (who I loved on Dancing With the Stars), Gabrielle Union (can't wait to read her memoir), and the beautiful Colleen Hoover (OMG I can't even!). Then you tack on the likes of Stephen King and ... well, politics aside, you can see why I'd want to attend. And even if these particular names weren't enough to get you moving, there are dozens and dozens and dozens of learning sessions to attend. Oh, and it's in New York City - as if it needed that. But you guys, NYC?? Imagine!

This particular event combines all the best things about conferences for me - it's a book signing with group workshops and activities ... on a cruise ship ... out at sea. And as if that wasn't enough, it's usually right around my birthday. For instance, the 2018 Book Splash is coming back into port on February 16 in Port Canaveral and will be debark on the 17th. My birthday. This event is a literal dream vacation for me, and is one of those events for which my heart actually aches. It's one of those things where longing sets in and determination locks up your jaw so hard it hurts. And you whisper to yourself ferociously, "ONE. DAY. I. WILL. GO."

09. BlogHer
I've wanted to go to BlogHer ever since I first learned of it many, many years ago. I've been blogging off and on for a little over ten years now, and when BlogHer became a thing back in 2011, I was chomping at the bit over the idea of being able to hang out with people like me - creative people who loved the written word and had a passion for storytelling, whatever form it takes. And while this isn't a novel-writer's conference, blogging is quite similar (to me) in that it still requires dedication and a strong desire to spend time writing, combined with a need to be heard and a willingness to speak - so I think a blogging conference still qualifies for sure. I also love that this conference has such a focus on empowering women to be themselves and tell their stories in whatever form works best for them - y'all know how much that whole idea means to me especially. Still, I haven't yet been, so here it is, on my wish list to the universe.

Last but certainly not least on this list is the RT Booklovers Convention. This is another one that settles in a different city every year, giving authors (and readers) from around the country a chance to attend without going bankrupt on book shipping. Like most other events on this list, the RT Booklovers Convention 2017 has already passed, but 2018 promises to be an exciting time in Reno, NV, with panels, parties, signings, and more! 


In honor of today's book-con-themed post, today's "Featured Favorite Product" is exactly the kind of lightly lined, beautiful hardback journal you'll want to keep at your side at any convention. It would make a great keepsake, filled with the signatures and information of all your favorite authors and writing industry professionals, and is definitely among my list of must-bring convention items.


Seriously, isn't it gorgeous? That one's called Versailles, but if you click through, this particular seller also has several other cover patterns that are all utterly stunning. Like this celestial one - so pretty! (You can just click either image to purchase - these are both under $15 on Amazon.)


I like that these are great for just regular journaling too, if conventions aren't your thing; and they'd also make a perfect gift for the writer in your life, regardless of your preferred writer's preferred writing style.

Quick Disclaimer: Since I am using affiliate links here, remember that if you choose to click product links on my site and end up purchasing through them, I will receive a (very) small commission for referring you. Rest assured that this is at no extra cost to you, but my family and I appreciate your support. (If you'd like to see a list of other companies I'm currently working with, click here.)
If you could choose one of these conferences to go to, which one do you think sounds like the best fit for you? Are there any others you've been to that you didn't see mentioned here - or that you think should have been mentioned? If you've been to any conferences, what was your favorite thing about them, and what would you say is the number one most important thing to bring (besides books, because duh)?

Take some time to look around while you're here, too; if you find something that really resonates with you, I'd love for you to share a link with your friends! I'd also like to invite you to hang out and follow along with my journey; if you subscribe to this blog by filling out the "subscribe by email" form in the sidebar, you can rest assured you'll never miss a post! And while the darker content of this blog may not always be easy to read, I truly hope that through the light days breaking up the darkness, we'll learn from and inspire each other.

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However we stay connected, whether it's through my books, this blog, my social media profiles, or even Patreon, you can always rest assured that my brand is built on the concept of what I write and who I'm writing it for. "Love Stories and Lifestyle for the Undaunted Woman." Click here to find out more about what it means to be undaunted - maybe you'll find that you already know the perfect nominee for our next Undaunted Woman Interview!

And as always, whether you're a first time reader or a long-time loyal follower ... from the bottom of my heart, thank you for being here.

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