Thursday, July 30, 2015

RWA 2015 and NYC trip!

Hello everyone!

Yep, I'm alive! I survived RWA 2015 and my NYC trip! We drove back home on Monday and I've been settling back slowly into a routine :P I'm not going to do a day-by-day recap because that'd be too long for you and me... but I wanted to share some thoughts and pictures of the whole experience :P

RWA 2011 was such a great experience for me, that I knew I'd do it again. I chose this year, because it was once again held in NYC. Being able to drive to the conference is a definite plus because I get to save on airfare and can also bring back all the books I want :) Plus, I get to visit fellow bloggers Hilcia, Christine and Mariana :) Accompanying me this time around was my sister Emilie, my friend V and Ames. My sister and V have visited NYC many times, but always like to come back. As for Ames, NYC has always been a place she wanted to see... Plus, being there at the same time as some favorite authors and fellow bloggers, it was perfect timing.

As usual, we managed to squeeze in some outlet shopping... but the real focus of the trip was NYC and RWA 2015. One of the most memorable moments of the trip was the Jimmy Fallon Tonight Show taping. My sister is a big fan of Jimmy Fallon and we've been trying to go for years... but it never worked out. This time though, the stars aligned and not only was Jimmy Fallon taping while we were in town, but I managed to snag some tickets!! Wooohooo!!! There's a whole process to get tickets and even then, it's hard ^_^; We went to the taping with Ames and Rosie. I was a bit disappointed that we were in the last row, although we still had a good view. However, in the end, we were able to high-five Jimmy Fallon, so I guess those were actually good seats LOL. And bonus, not only we got to see the taping with guest stars Jake Gyllenhaal, Josh Gad and James Bay, but at the end, they also taped scenes for a movie - Conner4Real - with Andy Samberg! So we got to see that as well :P If we're lucky, we will be in it!!

Last time I was attending RWA in NYC, I didn't really get to sightsee ^_^; The days during the conference start really early, even more so now that the keynote speakers are scheduled at breakfast instead of lunch. If you go to every publisher signings, it leaves you very little time to actually attend to workshops and panels... and then, you want to hang out with your friends. This time, I was hoping to do a bit more... So I managed to go to the High Line Park with my crew as well as Rosie and L.B. Gregg. Also managed to go to the Empire State building and do a night tour bus. Not bad, no?

 We also managed to go to a Broadway show: Finding Neverland. I'm not a fan of Peter Pan, but I actually really enjoyed this one. The stage was awesome and some of the scenes were just breathtaking. My only complaint though was the volume... I had difficulty catching every word during a song because the music seems to be too loud. Still, great show in my opinion.

So this was NYC for me. Ames, V and Emilie actually saw a lot more :P It's funny because Emilie and I are used to being on the go during trips. I guess we're also fast walkers. Ames and V were troopers!! But after a couple of intense sightseeing days, I think Emilie has broken Ames' feet :P


What about RWA? Overall, my experience was positive :) However, I do have some mixed feelings about it. I'll try to expand on those later...

For now, let's start with the Literacy Signing. It was crazy! LOL, but super well organized! There were close to 500 authors present for the Literacy signing, so you can imagine... I love how they did the queue this year. The Literacy Signing was on the 5th floor ballroom and we were directed to the 6th floor ballroom for the line-up. There were actual chairs so instead of standing, we could sit! That was really brilliant! We were also divided into section: A, B, C, etc. And when the signing started, they called one section at a time to make their way down the 5th floor ballroom. Everything was smooth and prompt. So, really big kudos to the organizers for thinking this up. I think each section was made up of approximately 100 persons and I know they started to fill section F. So 600+ people going to the signing to meet authors... Wowzer! I think this year, the Literacy Signing raised about 48000$ for charity, so that was awesome :)

Lining up for Literacy Signing

The Literacy Signing!

I managed to make it to all three breakfasts :) This year, the keynote speakers were Barbara Freethy, Julia Quinn and Nalini Singh. All three speeches were interesting... although I think Ms Freethy was the most enlightening. She talked about how she had to re-invent herself many times because of romance trends and why she decided to self-publish. Really interesting. Ms Quinn talked about how authors cannot please every reader and Ms Singh, about her first RWA experience and friendships in the industry.

The most disappointing thing for me this time around is I wasn't able to make it to many workshops/panels... mainly because I chose to go to the publishers signings. They were 12 publisher signings and for most of them, two were held at the same time... so technically, 7 seances. I was able to make it to a few, but I wished I could have gone to more.

Laura Griffin & Brenda Novak on RS

Robyn Carr chat and Sharon Sala chat

Alas, I missed the RITAs. It was a tough decision, but I elected to spend time with Ames and V and did the night bus tour. I was seriously tired anyway and so many of the books nominated, I haven't read.

So, RWA... Honestly, I feel I didn't enjoy RWA this time around as much as I did in 2011. However, I don't think it's the conference itself, but more me. RWA 2011 was a new experience and so it was awesome. This time not being my first rodeo, well, it changed things. Also, the circumstances are different. I'm still reading a lot of romance books, but am not as involved in my blog, am less plugged in the blogosphere. I went to RT and RWA and I prefer the atmosphere at RWA better because it's quieter, less chaotic because it is a professional conference. It's meant to be for people in the industry, but at the end of the day, I'm not part of the industry. I don't feel comfortable to run up to one of my favorite authors and gush to them in the lobby, elevator or hall. I think it'd be easier to do so if I was at RT where there's a lot of fans, but at RWA? Also, I'm a small blog and I like to stay away from all the drama and kerfuffles. I like having a little distance between me and authors... I write on my blog how much I love them and their books, but I seldom send mail... Most of them, I don't follow on FB or Twitter. As a result, I don't have much of a relationship or connection with authors and I think it makes it hard when I'm at RWA because nobody knows who I am. Don't get me wrong, everyone is very nice... but you can't help but wonder if you belong.

For now, I'm thinking I'd like to attend one more RWA that is not held in NYC... because the attendance is just sooo high in NYC. I'd like to see if it's different when it's being held elsewhere :P I'd also like to do another RT... and then, I think I'd be good :) Because there are just so many times you can meet your favorite authors before these meetings are no longer special... Speaking of meeting authors, I was so happy to get to see  Nora Roberts and Laura Florand!! Definitively one of my highlights of RWA 2015.

And of course, it's always nice to reconnect with friends :)


  1. Great post! I know what you mean about RWA being more professional. It's the only conference that I've attended and from the pictures that I see from the other conferences, I've always thought that RWA was more professional...and for people in the industry. It's a great place to catch up with people though. Authors, Publicists, Book Friends, etc...

    Love the pictures and I'm so jealous that you guys got to go to a Jimmy Fallon taping. It looked like so much fun.

  2. I think one difference between N y & other locations is prices. I found it very expensive for everything!! I think there is another one in Orlando in a year or two.
    I've never felt unwelcome whenever I've gone. You just have to consider that in pretty much all cases the authors were fans first and I've seen that they can de reduced to squealing fan girls themselves when they get to meet one of their idols.
    I don't follow any on Facebook and not that many on Twitter and I also like to not get real involved with most authors, though some are friends.
    And *chuckle* you may not be part of the industry, but you are most certainly part of the community:-)

  3. What Kristie said about being part of the community :)

    I've been to....a lot of these conferences now. I'm starting to lose track. These days I've met most everybody I've wanted to meet, so the various book signings are a way for me to stop by, say hello to some of my favorites. That said, I'm still capable being reduced to tongue-tied fangirl. I RODE IN AN ELEVATOR WITH JUDE DEVERAUX!!! OMG! For the record, now squee'ing, no making an ass out of myself. Hey, first time for everything, right?

    I'm so glad you, Emilie, V and Ames were able to attend. It was great seeing you again :)

  4. Great pictures! The signing was crazy and loud. I'd like to go to one out of state as well, but not sure that I care enough about the industry to do it. I just like hanging out with people I meet on the blogs and talk books :) Glad you had fun.

  5. Rowena - Wena, RWA's feel is definitively more professional. But understandably so as well. I mean, authors are surrounded by their peers, agents and editors. Really not the time to go crazy. I don't mind a good party, but I feel RT is a bit too much.

    It seems that next year, both RT and RWA will be in driving distances for you :) Any thoughts of going to one or both? :)

    The Jimmy Fallon taping was a lot of fun. I'm not a big fan, but I quite enjoyed it. And we got lucky because apparently, they just changed the tickets attribution system and not sure we would have been able to get tickets! (Well not that it was easy... but now, it's even less obvious)

    Kristie - True that about the prices. While we got a great deal with the hotel room, the problem is that we were smack down in Times Square so the food was a lot more expensive, especially for what it was. Next year is San Diego, then Orlando and Denver I think.

    Nod nod. I like it a lot when I go to publisher signings and other authors are in the line with me :) And true, I am part of the community. I think the big issue this year is that I haven't been involved in the community as much as I used to be.

    Wendy - LOL, I rode in an elevator with la Nora!! Funniest circumstances is that I was just telling Ames that I missed her chat session because of the publisher signing... and doors open and who's in the elevator as well?!?! Yeah, those moments are still very exciting.

    It was great seeing you again Wendy. And I'm going to try to figure out something for next year... Although my cousin just told me he and his wife were planning to visit next year... Otherwise, there's Orlando! Another one I can drive to LOL.

    Mariana - Yep, the signing was crazy. Still, I think it was really well-organized, especially given the amount of for the noise, well there's not much you can do about that ^_^; I mean, put a thousand persons in the same room - mainly women - and yep, loud.

    Nod nod. I know what you mean. Maybe RT would be more your cup of tea?

  6. OMG! I thought I left a comment here.

    I love your post and the pictures are fantastic. Personally I am glad that you, Ames, Emilie and V came to NYC for RWA 2015 and we all had the time to spend some time together. It never seems like enough time. The hotel was packed though! Was the attendance higher than 2011 or is it my imagination? I missed the Literary Signing, which I loved in 2011, but for me sitting down with you and meeting up with other bloggers was a highlight.

    I still want to attend at least ONE RWA conference. Thinking of Denver or San Diego. It may be easier for me to attend if I need to travel than if it is right there in NYC. Weird, I know. LOL

  7. Hils - We had a great time in NYC and a large part is thanks to you and Nessa, Hils!! So big, big, big thank you!! And I agree, it is never enough time.

    I do have a feeling that the attendance was higher than in 2011 as well. But remember, back in 2011, RWA fell on the 4th of July week-end. That's why I think a lot of authors didn't make it.

    LOL, because it'll be your vacation :) Instead of working at the same time. San Diego should be really fun because I do have a feeling that some So Cal bloggers will attend :P

    1. I read somewhere - Twitter? On the RWA website? - that yes, this was the highest attendance in the history of the conference. It was PACKED!