Choosing Cons to Attend – How Do You Decide?

Dark SecretsI'm sorry to be missing seeing and meeting everyone this week at Colorado Gold!

I'd planned to come up and at least sign on Friday night and meet Emily Keyes from my agency, as I have an out-of-town guest the rest of the weekend. However, I talked with Nina of Who Else Books while we were both at Bubonicon, and she talked me out of it.

It would have been a tight turnaround and it's probably better that I'm not trying to do it.


Everything in moderation, I know, but it can be difficult to decide which conferences and conventions to attend. I go to more than most authors I know. Partly I like to travel and am comfortable doing it. Also, I have a day job which helps fund going to conferences. And I believe that they're productive venues for me to connect with readers and network with other writers and industry professionals.

Sure - a lot of people get into ROI (return on investment) and obsess over whether the resulting sales from con appearances make up for the sometimes outrageous expense of going. I don't believe in ROI for this sort of thing. I think building human relationships creates potential and opportunities that can't be quantified.

Let me give you a relevant example.

When I was a newbie writer, I attended the RT Booklovers Convention for the first time in 2009, in Orlando. It had never occurred to me to go, because I figured it for a reader convention to meet *published* writers. Then an author - Linnea Sinclair - who was a member of my online RWA group, the Fantasy, Futuristic & Paranormal (FFP) special interest chapter posted that all us aspiring writers absolutely SHOULD go to RT, in order to network with already published authors, who could then know and help us.

Best advice ever!

At that convention, though I pitched my book to a bunch of people, I didn't sell it as a direct result. I did not sign with an agent, nor did I get a publishing deal. It goes without saying that I had no book sales to offset my expenses. But I *did* meet some amazing people. Some of whom are my friends to this day. Including the fabulous Cynthia Eden.

Cindy was already multipubbed and doing awesomely well at that point and, also a member of FFP, was really nice to me. We hung at a party and talked. She became a friend, advocate, and my go-to person for questions. Fast forward six years and, as a direct result of that friendship, which has otherwise enriched my life in so many ways, I get to be in this fantastic collection with Cindy and four other authors who are mind-blowingly good. DARK SECRETS: A PARANORMAL NOIR ANTHOLOGY comes out on September 29 and I'm effervescent with excitement. I mean, Megan Hart and Rachel Caine have written books that are in my top favorites of all time. Like, Cindy, Suzanne Johnson is a longtime friend from FFP and I've known Mina for years.

It's like my clubhouse girl-pack decided to put on a play and everyone just happens to be Judy Garland.

This is why I feel making author friends is ultimately unquantifiable. There's simple no way of knowing what will produce a return in the future - or what form it will take.

Thus, I'm sorry not to make it up to the Colorado Gold Conference. Who knows what might have resulted? But I wish all of you well. I hope you learn new things, make new friends, and return home inspired to create.

I'll be thinking of you!



Six award-winning authors bring you this spellbinding collection of stories about dark desires, mysterious worlds, and danger that lurks in the shadows of the night. Where nothing is black and white; where things might not be as they seem; where magic and mayhem rule.

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The RT Booklovers Convention – Why You Should Be There

The Mark of the Tala
The Mark of the Tala (The Twelve Kingdoms #1) Out May 27!

By Jeffe Kennedy

Today is the opening day of the RT Booklovers Convention, taking place in New Orleans this year.

And yes - I'm there! The question is, why aren't you?

I'm guessing you'll say "because I don't write romance." I've been hearing this a lot lately, on various forums. Usually framed in terms of "While I have romantic elements in my books, I really write more fantasy/science fiction/mystery/suspense/horror, so it's not a good convention for me."

But that's where people have it wrong.

Yes, RT Book Reviews and the reader convention they sponsor, started out life as the Romantic Times Magazine. However, several years ago they rebranded to simply "RT" to convey that they review, spotlight and promote far more than romance. In the magazine's genre index, you can see that they review books in 16 genres - only 4 of them romance.

They reviewed my May fantasy release, The Mark of the Tala, gave it the highest number of stars and a "Top Pick!" (The online listing is delayed several months after the paper magazine comes out, so it's not web-accessible yet.) This is a huge boost for this book, and my new series, as they'll feature and promote it.

The convention itself is huge, attracting enthusiastic readers from all over - including internationally. Booksellers and librarians attend, as do foreign rights buyers. A giant book fair and FAN-tastic day parties on the weekend are thrown open to the public. Publishers sponsor events, too. Among other things, I'll be riding on a float in a parade, helping man a Bananas Foster dessert station at Pat O'Briens during the Pub Crawl, and cavorting at the Harlequin Dance Party.

There are also plenty of editors and agents in attendance, for those writers aspiring to find new opportunities.

All in all, it's a terrific convention for meeting readers, networking with industry professionals and having fun with fellow authors.

Something to think about for next year!



Jeffe Kennedy is an award-winning author with a writing career that spans decades. Her works include non-fiction, poetry, short fiction, and novels. She has been a Ucross Foundation Fellow, received the Wyoming Arts Council Fellowship for Poetry, and was awarded a Frank Nelson Doubleday Memorial

Award. Her essays have appeared in many publications, including Redbook.

Her most recent works include a number of fiction series: the fantasy romance novels of A Covenant of Thorns;  the contemporary BDSM novellas of the Facets of Passion, including the newest, Five Golden Rings, which came out as part of the erotic holiday anthology, Season of Seduction, in late November; and a  contemporary serial novel, Master of the Opera, which released beginning January 2, 2014. A fourth series, the fantasy trilogy The Twelve Kingdoms, will hit the shelves starting in May 2014. A spin-off story from this series, Negotiation, appears in the recently-released Thunder on the Battlefield anthology.

She lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico, with two Maine coon cats, a border collie, plentiful free-range lizards and a very handsome Doctor of Oriental Medicine.

Jeffe can be found online at her website:, every Sunday at the popular Word Whores blog, on Facebook, and pretty much constantly on Twitter @jeffekennedy. She is represented by Pam van Hylckama Vlieg of Foreword Literary.