Monday, August 03, 2015

RWA 2015 Haul

Well a recap of one of my trips would not be completed without a post about the books I brought home LOL. So here we go!

I'm not going to do as last time and list and comment on all the books I got, because you know, we'd be here for ages ^_^; They say a picture is worth a thousand words and I think in this case, it's true :) Here are several thousands words :)

Let's start with the Literacy Signing:

Yes, the Literacy Signing was crazy... but in an organized fashion. The authors were seated alphabetically for the most part and during those two hours, I managed to visit everyone I wanted... and more :) I'm always surprised, because you think that two hours is way too short, how am I going to see everyone?!? But you do! Unless you line up for the big authors - Nora Roberts, Nalini Singh, etc., then you might run out of time. Otherwise, you're good ;) I probably walked that room twice actually. And most authors don't have a queue. If they do, then I usually come back.

My best advice for the Literacy Signing: have a list of authors that you absolutely want to see. RWA puts up the list of authors present early on their website so you can make that list. It's a good guideline to have because it'll keep you centered :)

Another good advice I received from Wendy on my first Literacy Signing is if you want the latest release of a particular author from Avon/Harpercollins, grab it at the Literacy Signing... because chances are, they won't have it at the publisher signing as they usually give away the previous release or even, two books ago release. That's why I got The Duke and the Lady in Red by Lorraine Heath and Catch a Falling Heiress by Laura Lee Guhrke. And good thing too, because indeed, they didn't have it at the publisher signing. My best "catch" though was Once Upon a Rose by Laura Florand. She is now self-publishing her books, so she didn't have many copies at the Literacy Signing and apparently, ran out of books very quickly. So happy she was my first stop! Now, I'm kicking myself because I should have been greedy and gotten a copy of All for You. Oh well :P

I have to admit though, most of the books I got on the Literacy Signing weren't on my list ^_^; I did go to most authors on my list and asked them if they were going to be at the publisher signings. Then, I picked up books that caught my eyes... and that's how I got When a Rake Falls by Sally Orr. How could I resist the necklace? LOL.

While the Literacy Signing was the first event that kicked off RWA, those weren't my first books. Nope, the first books I got were the ones in the registration bag (on the left of the owl).

Other instances you get free books aside from the publisher signings are at the keynote sessions and in the goody room. From the keynote sessions, we got On a Night Like This by Barbara Freethy, two books in Julia Quinn's Bridgertons series and two books by Nalini Singh - combinations of Angels's Blood, Slave to Sensation and Visions of Heat. Besides the Barbara Freethy book, I only took home Slave to Sensation because of its new cover :) I've been coveting this new cover as it fits with the rest so much more than the original purple cover ^_^;

The bulk of the free books you get at RWA are from publisher signings. Basically, each publisher gathers their authors and provide books for them to sign for attendees. Usually, there will be two publisher signings at the same time and they last about 1.5 hour. It is possible to go to both publisher signings and get most books, but it's really a balancing act. In this case, knowing which authors write for which publishers will help you in your decision making.

The first face-off: Avon vs. New American Library (NAL). I elected to go to NAL first because 1) there was a particular book I really wanted, 2) the line was shorter at NAL and 3) I had gotten the books I wanted most from Avon at the Literacy Signing. Anything else I was getting was bonus. I also know that Avon give e-books and as such, you're less likely to run out of books.

The book I really wanted at NAL was Something to Prove by Kimberly Lang. I read the blurb and for some reasons, just really wanted to read it. I was also really excited to meet Erin Knightley and am happy I got Rising Fire by Terri Brisbin.

For the Avon signing, I pretty much went wild with the ebooks (3rd picture). Even though I drove to NYC, I was very conscious that I had limited space in my trunk. Sure, I wasn't restricted as those who flew and decided not to ship back books... However, remember, I didn't drive down alone. We were 4, we had gone shopping and 3 of us had definitively over-packed ^_^; So yes, e-books are definitively great!!

Later that day, there two more publisher signings - Kensington and Indie. I'm still very picky on self-published books, so that was an easy decision for me. I'm most happy I got The Daring Exploits of a Runaway Heiress by Victoria Alexander. Ironically, she didn't have that book at the Literacy Signing, but did have it for the publisher signing. Go figure. Was also very happy to get my hand on Fire Me Up by Kimberly Kincaid. Oh and To Win Her Love by Mackenzie Crowne because I had seen that one while looking up new releases but didn't expect to find it at RWA considering it's from Lyrical Press, Kensington's e-book line.

I did go to the Indie book signing and got Finding Pride by Jill Sanders (picture of the book is with the Montlake books). Ms Sanders had her son with her and they were such a cute pair, him handing out bookmarks and her, signing books :)

On the second day, there were 6 publisher signings. Yep, it was a busy day!

The first session was Harlequin vs. Grand Central Publishing. I lined up for Harlequin, did a quick tour to get the books I really wanted. Then, went to Grand Central Publishing. The reality is that Grand Central Publishing signing had less authors than Harlequin, so it was easy to get the books I wanted and then, go back to Harlequin. Poor Lauren Dane, she was signing in both!! So I think she did 45 minutes at Harlequin, then 45 minutes at Grand Central Publishing. I had miss her on my first tour of Harlequin, so when I came back I went to get her books... Only to find out she had gone to Grand Central! So I got her books and followed her back to Grand Central Publishing LOL.

My most exciting moment? Getting an ARC of Ransom Canyon by Jodi Thomas. I found out recently that she had a new series coming out with Harlequin at the end of August and was wondering if she would have the book at the publisher signing... and guess what? She did!! So happy, I think I danced in front of her LOL. Of course, that means I need to read it before the end of the month :P I loved meeting Robyn Carr, Kristan Higgins, Susan Andersen and Sharon Sala. I have followed those authors in Harlequin for a long time :P Also, kudos to Harlequin because they were really prepared. Each authors had tons of books for the signing.

Oh, you know how Avon gets a thumb up for having e-books, well Harlequin gets two thumbs up from me. Not every author had e-books to offer, but the ones who did? Well, they had this cool app that allowed them to personalize the e-book itself, like a real book signing, and then, send it to you via email. So when you open the e-book, after the cover, there's a page with the autograph:

 Isn't that cool? I got 5 books that way.


I do hope that in the future, Harlequin considers extending this app to their other authors :) Even though it was a bit awkward to sign on an iPad and it might be a bit more time-consuming, it's just awesome because it's like a real signed book!

In Grand Central Publishing, I'm really happy with all the books I got. I feel like in the past few years, I haven't picked up as many books by Grand Central Publishing as I used to. However, it seems like Grand Central is doing a re-emergence. I don't know if it's their covers that are more eye-catching or the blurbs that are more interesting or what, but I'm really excited to read the books I got :) By the way, V.K. Sykes turns out to be a husband and wife team from Ottawa and they were just the cutest.

 In the afternoon, we had Berkley vs. Pocket. For this one, I chose Berkley first just because I know I read a lot from them.

Obviously, Nalini Singh and Nora Roberts were two must-see authors for me. I'm really happy I waited for the publisher signing to see Nora Roberts because the line was shorter and I got paperbacks instead of hardcovers. I love hardcovers, but truth is, I couldn't wait for RWA to get Nora Roberts books, so I already owned the HCs ^_^; I'm lucky I got the Jayne Ann Krentz!! I skipped her line the first time around, went to Pocket and when I came back, there were only three copies left! Snagged one presto! Got to meet Thea Harrison as well. I can't remember if she was at RWA in 2011, but it's hard to believe that 4 years ago, she would have been an unknown author almost as Dragon Bound came out in May 2011. Last, but not least, it was lovely to meet Lisa Bingham. I did come across her book when I was looking for new releases, but I didn't remember her till I saw her at the Literacy Signing and promise myself to find her at the publisher signing.

Okay, so I am shocked I only got three books at the Pocket book signing. Actually, I got more than three, but the others were for friends. Still, only three books?! I admit that the publisher signing is kind of a blur at the moment so my only explanation for the little amount of books I got is the authors present at the signings are not ones that I read ^_^; I remember there were many historical romance authors and I've been kind of keeping away from those. Also, after Harlequin and Berkley book signings, I was a bit less impulsive because I was worried about space ^_^;

The last two signings of the day were St. Martin's Press and Sourcebooks. This one was an easy decision: St. Martin's Press.

Suzanne Rock is an author I've been meaning to try, so I was happy to see her at the signing. I've read the first two books in the New York Saints series by Melanie Scott, so picking up Lawless in Leather was a no-brainer. The Diane Kelly book, I actually got at the Literacy signing - oups :P Still, I enjoy her other cosy mystery series and been meaning to start this one :) Finally, I have come across the blurb of Summer on Lovers' Island by Donna Alward and am so happy I saw the book at the signing.

For some reasons, I am not a huge fan of Sourcebooks. I just don't seem to click with the stories... except for their YA. Those I love... and that's why I have high hopes for Powerless. I'm also glad I went because I picked up Sharon Sala's new book - for some reasons, I thought it was with Berkley or Grand Central Publishing and had been disappointed not to see her in those. Lucky I walked in when I did, because she didn't have many copies left. And I have heard really good things about Sara Humphreys from a co-worker, so that's why I picked her book.

So, the last day, there were two signings left. These were individual publisher signing, meaning they weren't held at same time. The first one was Ballantine Books, i.e. Random House publishing. Surprisingly, they didn't have many authors present... Laura Moore was the must see authors at that signing for me :) They also had their LoveSwept books in printed ARC for the signing. That was cool, but at the same time, the paper used is different and so, the books were really heavy ^_^;

Last, but not least, Montlake Romance, i.e. Amazon. I'm familiar with a few authors only... so most of the books I picked were Ames' suggestions and also, the covers :P


 And there you go, all the books I got. In case you are curious, here is the final count:

127 print books + 35 e-books

Yep, that's pretty insane ^_^; At the start, I thought I was doing so much better than in 2011 where I just took everything... that I was in control and restrained myself. I mean, the first two publisher signings, I had less than 20 print books... Not bad at all. And then, I really don't know what happened LOL. But yeah, end result is that I have 5 print books less than in 2011... and back then, the publishers hadn't started given out e-books ^_^; So not too much restraint. Especially when you consider that I left a box of books behind to the NJ bloggers. Although in my defense, I think there were more authors this year... Just saying. The good news is out of those 162 books, I have already read 15 books - almost 10%!! And since I came home, I read two more :P Hopefully, I'll do a better job this year than in 2011. And I think I will. I was really careful this time around to take books I really wanted to read - that's why you're seeing so much contemporary romance... So we'll see.

And of course, aside from books, I brought home a ton of swag. I thought I'd share with you some of the cool ones :P

The stuffed dog was courtesy of Diane Kelly and is the K9 dog in her series. We call her Brigit because that's the name of the character and had a lot of fun with her as Ames, my sister and V brought her with them on their sightseeing tour of NYC :P I'll try to share some of those pictures with you all. I got a cowboy cookie cutter from Lisa Bingham and I know we'll use that one :P I think the spatulas and measuring spoons were cool ideas. Oh, we also had a lot of fun with those purple rulers. They changed to bright pink with heat (you can see a bit on the 2nd picture). Pins are always fun... Carina Press/Harlequin had 6 and the one saying "My TBR pile is bigger than yours" was in very high demand. I thought #teamHEA was cool too. Love the Keep Calm and Hoard Books as well as Nalini Singh's mini. So that's just some of it, but I thought I'd share with you :)

Phew, sorry for the long post. Hope you enjoyed it!! Now, next, going to try to review a book :P


  1. OMG. Amazing haul! I still think you showed self-restraint ;-)

    Thank you for the incredibly detailed post - so fun to read your take on publishers (and your strategies!).

    That Harlequin app for ebook signings is amazing, I hope it takes off.


  2. You are a better person than I am - no way I could have done such an organized post and remembered details from each signing. I tend to take everything tied down when I don't have to pay for shipping - but I kind of hit saturation levels late Friday and was a bit more restrained on Saturday. I thought I had only grabbed a few things for myself (most of what I get goes to work) - but then I got the boxes open and saw just how much damage I did in the Harlequin signing. Oy!

  3. Nath! Long time! I'm trying to get back into the swing of things (after 4 years!). Looks like you had an amazing time in NYC and all those books!!!! WOWZERS!!!

  4. Li - LOL, thanks! You're the only one thinking that I believe LOL.

    Yeah, you know me, always over-thinking. Sometimes, it's pretty useful though :P and it's instances like this one, I'm glad I pay attention to publishers :P

    The Harlequin app was really cool! I hope they consider it for their other imprints too!!

    Wendy - Okay, this is so weird. I'm not getting notification whenever you comment, Wendy :( Any idea why?

    And LOL, I always enjoy sharing my loot. I guess I haven't been enough to these events, so it doesn't blur in my mind :P And if you don't have to pay shipping, go for it!! I was so lucky because I was driving. Otherwise, I wouldn't know what to do.

    Seriously, it's really hard to go in Harlequin and not do any damage. The amount of books and authors? I think Harlequin is my favorite publisher signing :)

    Mollie - Hi Mollie!! LOL, yeah. Can't believe it's been 4 years!!

    NYC was great :) Always love going to there and seeing friends :P

    1. Re: why you're not getting notification when I comment - I have no idea. I've had the same problem on my blog with certain commenters. A Blogger glitch?

  5. I agree with Wendy - very well organized. I try to think of the literacy signings as the time to pick up the books I really want and the publisher signings as a chance to try books I might not otherwise read but sound interesting. It's more of a risk thing at the publisher signings. Since it's costing anything to pick them up, why not be adventuresome?
    As for me, I picked up WAY less books than at past conferences and as it was I got too many judging by the weight of my suitcase and the fact I nearly took someone out when I lifted it down from the shelf. I shipped a box back BUT IT STILL HASN'T ARRIVED - grrrrr. I'll have to double check deep in the mailbox to see if maybe there is a notice that they tried to deliver but no one was home.
    And I was very glad that for the most part there weren't a long of long lines to wait in although a few times I was feeling constrained a few times once in the room with the crowds.

  6. Nath, your post is fantastic. The books look so neat and beautiful in the pictures! I'm still amazed at the amount of books you gathered, it's an amazing haul! I am particularly thankful though because you left me with more than a few great prezzies and coveted author signatures. Thank you for your thoughtfulness and for taking the time in the middle of all that craziness, Nath!

  7. Damn! Good thing you drove but was your car big enough? :) So happy for you that you meet all the authors on your list. Great post and wonderful pictures!

  8. I'm so envious. I'm very impressed with your choices. How I wish I could meet some authors too...
    Probable silly question here: did you buy all those books?

  9. Kristie - LOL, that's me :P Organized, that's me for some stuff only though :P

    This time around, I went to my authors and asked them if they were going to the be at the publisher signings ^_^; And I actually do the opposite. I discover new authors at the literacy signing. At the publisher signings, I'm too busy running to both and grabbing all the books I can LOL.

    Did your box arrive yet, Kristie? You shipped it through Fedex right? So at least, you should have a tracking number, no?

    I think one of the room they chose was too narrow. Or they shouldn't have put authors in the middle row. But oh well.

    Hilcia - Thanks Hils!! I know, the books look awesome :P Can you imagine, it doesn't count that box of books I left behind with you guys... Yep, I'm really happy :P Especially since most of them are signed :P

    Leslie - I know!! That's the beauty of being able to drive. You just grab and figure out the space thing later. I did leave a box behind with Hils though... and we just fit everything. Keep in mind though I didn't have anything in the car itself with the passengers. I think if you fill up the backseat, that's a sure way to being asked questions. Also, we were 4 and had gone shopping. I'll try to post a picture of my trunk eventually LOL.

    S. - You only pay for the books you pick up at the Literacy signing. All the rest of the books at the conference are free. So I paid a total of 80$ US at the literacy signing and 525$ US for the conference registration. I made it my money :P

    You should keep an eye on signings in Europe. You'd be surprised....

  10. Hi!
    So, books from each publisher you visited were free? Wow...
    Ahh not much happening where I am and even if I had the time, I might not have the means... maybe when I win the lottery...

  11. S. - Sorry for the late reply... Yes, books from each publisher were free LOL. That's why I have so many. If I had to pay, I'd have holes in both pockets!!