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