Once again Jo Carol Jones, the RT Convention Director, outdid herself with the RT BOOKLOVERS Convention 2010. I, Morgan Doremus RT's Web Editor, was in Columbus, Ohio from Tuesday to Sunday and attended parties, panels, dinners, booksignings and more. While my favorite thing about the RT Convention was getting to meet readers, booksellers, authors, aspiring authors, librarians, bloggers, and publishers, I have to admit that my favorite event was the website launch party.
With over a year in the making, I am overjoyed with the new look and feel of the RT website. I was proud to announce the site’s new features and content to the crowd at the Awards Ceremony on Thursday and I was also grateful to be able to tell RT president Ken Rubin, publisher Carol Stacy, and the wonderful editors at the magazine how much I appreciated their guidance and help in developing RT’s web presence. I also thanked the Assistant Web Editor, Whitney Sullivan, for her contributions to the site.
Then it was time for the web launch party!
Champagne and sweets were passed freely while a table of Sarah MacLean's fantastic new book Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake was prominently featured. Avon, Sarah MacLean's publisher, generously sent every partygoer a copy of this amazing historical, which won the very first RT Seal of Excellence and has already become a New York Times bestseller.
Other giveaways included ‘genre baskets’ which contained stand-alone novels, full series (in many cases signed by the authors), as well as advanced reader copies of upcoming releases. Baskets in the giveaway included Romance, Young Adult, Paranormal/Urban Fantasy, Mystery/Suspense/Thriller, and Erotica.
Party attendees including authors, aspiring authors, readers, booksellers, and bloggers swarmed the table for the giveaway each deciding which basket would get their ticket. In the end, the baskets were distributed to five lovely ladies.
Erotica winner Mary Stubbs says she is a huge fan of the genre and cannot wait to go through the basket. So what is she is most looking forward to reading? The ARC for Lauren Dane’s book Insatiable.
The Mystery/Suspense/Thriller genre basket went to aspiring author Katherine Dow who says that she is getting ready to write a mystery of her own, so this prize could not have come at a better time.
Betty Lucher was overjoyed with winning the Romance basket which included everything from historical to contemporary and even series romances. She said she wasn’t sure exactly what her husband was going to think when she got the books delivered to their hotel room, but she was thankful that they had drove to the convention considering the fact that there was an additional giant box filled with historical romances that couldn’t all fit into the baskets.
Reader Jill Fillinger was overwhelmed with winning the Paranormal/Urban Fantasy basket. She said that she couldn’t wait to get home to show her husband what he got her for Christmas. It seems that for the holidays last year her husband had paid her RT convention registration. When I asked her what she wants for Christmas this year the answer was immediate, "A trip to the Los Angeles RT convention, of course."
Shannon Delany, winner of the Young Adult basket, tracked me down in my panel on Friday to tell me how excited she was to get started reading and sharing all of the great books she received.
After the baskets were given out, we drew for the Grand Prize a Sony Reader Pocket Edition (for more information on this fantastic device please go here). Winner Diane Stacy was jumping around so much we barely could get a picture with her and her new Sony!
I was so busy doing the giveaway and talking with readers, that I asked Jane Litte from the Dear Author blog to help me report on the event. Here's what she had to say:
Romantic Times celebrated the launch of the new RT website in high style. Uniformed waitstaff provided ensured that no guest was without a beverage (usually champagne) and plates of caramel apple slices and strawberries were passed around to the interested crowd.
There was a great mix of readers and authors present and a huge assortment of prizes. There was a Sony Reader given away as well as genre baskets of books that looked like they would topple the table with the combined weight of paper, so many books were donated for giveaways.
Reader Joy Harris, a 10+ year subscriber the magazine raved about the site. Despite the rearranging of content, Joy finds the site much more user friendly with a great new contemporary look. With pink being consigned to the romance genre, the blue color scheme allows for a more genre neutral look for new visitors. Joy says that it signals that RT is not just for romances. Plus, as a reader of Shelly Laurentson, Joy can easily find all the content related to her favorite content on one page with the site's redesigned author pages.
Joy uses all parts of the site, including early access to the reviews and the RT message boards.
Stacie Carver, an aspiring mystery author, chose to enter her name into the mystery reader basket. The prizes offered to attendees were generous and plentiful. Stacie loves the variety within the mystery genre. She loves everything from the paranormal mysteries to the gritty and spicy to the cozies, which are all covered on the site and in the RT BOOK REVIEWS magazine.
The words "professional looking" and "fresh" were most often used to describe the new site design. Congratulations to RT on a great launch.
Thank you Jane for that great wrap up and getting feedback from the authors and readers alike. Needless to say, the RT web launch party was a huge success.
Couldn't make the event, but have questions about the site? Feel free to email me at Morgan@RTBookReviews.com.
-Morgan Doremus, RT BOOK REVIEWS Web Editor