Now, dont get me wrong, I have spent money on rt 4 times, no more. I have learned that RT is not the be all end all for romance cons. Why? because as a small press author, you get shafted, and heres how you do.
NY published authors have no problem on the whole, as they are the ones that get ALL of the opportunities. They are the ones leading the panel lists (and filling the panels with their friends) they are the ones thatget the promotional opps, and their parties are the ones that are picked up. Small press authors get thrown by the wayside in so many ways for RT that is almost laughable. So here we go.
1. The Booksigning saturday is a sham. Going to a con as HUGE as RT, if your not signing saturday, you have no reason to be there. Why? because the "expo" is a joke on the whole. RT has succeeded in segregating those in e book and small press by making sure 90% of small press authors dont participate in saturday by not allowing carry in books. "But Stella", you say, "thats not true." Oh but it is. See, RT plays the game of not knowing if a bookseller will be able to order books for small press... when the Bookseller knows when the sign on who they will order. How do I know? I run a convention, and its the same situation. 90% of all small press (with the exception of Samhain, and mostly, EC) BN will not order so, because of that, small press authors cant sign at the biggest signing event of the con. HOW IS THAT FAIR? Everyone pays and exorbitant amount to attend, so everyone should have the opportunity to sell to people. But its not so.
Now, last years event almost all of the EC authors were screwed over by NOT getting books in for the majority of their authors, even AFTER one of the EC staff worked with them. I know of several authors that were told personally by the BN store when they called that they HAD their books, and they showed up and nothing was there.. whats more, Some authors showed up and there was ONE copy of ONE book on their table. Again, How is that fair?
2. Promotional opportunities are limited. 99% of the reader events are populated by NY authors and NY authors only. Why? Because RT charges an arm and a Leg to be part of these things, They DONT HAVE TO. but they do because RT is a money making machine (WHY do you think your registration is so expensive? Believe me, its not because it has to be, your registration doesnt pay for your meals or anything like that.) This year, a friend of mine had tried to set up a reader event. she is small press, but set it up with some other people, including some new NY authors. She was told yesterday that the time frame was TRIPLE BOOKED and that she wouldnt be doing this. Now remember, this is AFTER everything has gone to print. Either they forgot about her (likely, shes no one big enough to catch notice) or they just didnt care (more likely) because shes not a big name. Either way, her opportunities for promotion to the readers is cut to nothing because she doesnt have any sort of focused event they will attend.
Now you will say "Stella, theres SO MANY other reasons to attend RT." No. theres not. Attending a con like this is supposed to be about connecting with readers, and getting your name known. Unless your on panels, focused in parties or a NY author that can afford to pay for a personal party, your thrown by the wayside. You dont attend RT to network with other authors. You attend to get your name out to readers, and meet other industry. I have been there 4 times, and have busted my ass to meet people, set up smaller events in Club RT, and this does NOTHING. Most readers attending wanna meet the NY authors, and I get that, hell i agree with it, but if thats the way it is, dont try to pull small press authors in with empty promises and ideas.
Here's some things you may not know about rt:
- All meals (the Faerie Ball and the Vamp Ball) are paid for by the authors sponsoring. So your registration pays for nothing.
- RT's book goodies have fallen off through the years. I went home with 150 books in Houston. In Ohio I went home with maybe 30. Whats up with that?
- Promo Alley has NOBODY watching it, In the years since they have instituted it, I have never once seen someone go and watch it. so why charge authors 25$ each for it to "Pay someone to watch it?" Yep, they are TAKING MORE OF YOUR MONEY for no reason.
- You will not recoup 1/8 of what you paid to go in any fashion. being that if they HAVE your books they only allow 15, you wont make back anything close to what you paid to get there, do your promo and your costumes. And those residuals, of people looking for you later? Non existent.
- RT tacks on at least a grand for EVERY party they put on. Again, I know because there are standards in food service (not across the board but the majority) and i can figure out how much it will cost for an author to do a party... and 3k-8k isn't it... especially when they never have more food then for 100 people.
So here's my call to arms, because I know there's authors out there saying "that's not it, Stella is a liar, and RT is the best!" and they have no idea. So Please, if you had any problems with RT, and how its not affected or affected your career, pleas comment here. I would like these authors to know they arent alone, and that Im not just hemming and hawing because I have another con. AAD came about BECAUSE RT was so shady... and people needed an alternative.