First, a special thank you to Carlyle Labuschagne for coordinating this amazing event and allowing me to participate. I'm honored to be among such wonderful people. At any time, you can view all of the blog posts as they accumulate on the Facebook event page.
Let's talk about the exhibits. I have been to many conventions for many different industries. I have never walked into the exhibitor space and been completely overwhelmed. UtopYA exhibitors took my breath away! The beautiful book covers, insanely cool swag, and the fabulous authors themselves were a sight to be seen. I learned very quickly how approachable and friendly people were, and how willing this group was to share their knowledge. I met so many wonderful people, who I continue to keep in touch with virtually, and who I can't wait to see again next year. I went home with a suitcase full of books and swag - the size of the bag was the only thing that kept me from buying more, which leads me to my top three nuggets of wisdom for newbies:
1) Attend the keynotes. Sure, you can't sleep in, but you don't want to miss these epic speakers. The room was packed, and there's a reason for it. I loved both keynote addresses this year. Don't miss out!
2) Take advantage of the exhibit hall. No where else will you find so many authors who are not only accessible, but WANT to talk to you, sign your books, and maybe even share some cool swag. Don't be afraid - approach with abandon!
3) Bring a bigger suitcase. Unless you drive, and then make sure your trunk is empty. Otherwise, you'll end up like me, staring at a hotel bed covered with swag and books and wondering what clothing I'm leaving behind. (In the end, no clothes were abandoned. I fit what I could and shared the rest with my roomies who had extra space in their luggage.)
To wrap things up...if you love to read, this event is for you. If your passion is blogging, this event is for you. If you're a published author, this event is for you. If you're thinking of writing a book or you are about to be published...should I say it again? This event is for you! We all have something we can share, we all have something we can learn, and there is no better environment that UtopYA to do that. There is no pressure and no judgment. We come together with one common love - books - and that unites us above all else. I hope to see you there next year!
Random thoughts and book news. Stop and visit awhile.