Authors After Dark was the very first author convention I ever attended. Actually, it’s the only author convention I’ve ever attended. Not knocking the other conventions out there, but many of the others I researched were either too small and expensive, or too big and therefore too likely to lose me in the shuffle. Having some experience with overwhelming cons—and, in my experience thus far, nothing beats Anime Expo—I wanted to have a chance to meet people instead of be pushed around by the tide.
All that said, Authors After Dark was a blast! I had a ridiculous amount of fun last year meeting crazy/funny bloggers like JoJo (link: http://jojosbookcorner.blogspot.com/), Larissa (link: http://www.larissaslife.com/), Joy (link: http://www.joyfullyreviewed.com/), Ali (link: http://simplyali.blogspot.com/), etc. I met the lovely Leanna Renee Hieber, Jacquelyn Frank, Stella Price, KT Grant, and many other authors—too numerous to mention. Many of these people have become good friends and stayed in touch since then. My fancy-schmancy business cards and new series logo came courtesy of Robin (link: www.rldprint.com), who gave me her card at AAD. I took a truckload of books home with me.
We did fun things like charity raffles (which are always near and dear to my heart), I both sat on and attended interesting panels on everything from writing sexy shifters to interracial romance, got to drool over some amazing costumes at the ball, and I had loads of fun dancing like a dork until the wee hours on Saturday night! The atmosphere was relaxed and all about having a good time. What isn’t to love?
The best part of going to Authors After Dark was getting to meet my fans. Getting to know readers, not bloggers or authors (though they are also awesome, and often started out as readers), always makes my day.
I’m talking about the people who came because they love our books, they love us, and they wanted to have a chance to rub elbows with their favorite authors. It was an amazing opportunity to get to know people I might otherwise never have met. Twitter and Facebook and email are great ways of contacting and staying in touch with fans, but it makes all the difference in the world when you get to shake their hands, give them a hug, or swap naughty stories over dessert. Where else will you get to pop by the hotel bar at any hour of the day and not have to worry about imposing if you stop by to say hello to one of your fellow attendees—no matter their occupation?
I’m looking forward to more of the same in the coming year. Come say hi to me—I promise I don’t bite—and get ready to have a great time! Panels, parties, and swag await!