One last event that celebrates romance novels and their grand following. It was time for me to say hello to RT Convention and goodbye at the same time.
I attended my first Romantic Times Convention this past week, fulfilling a longtime dream of mine. I have been an avid reader and lover of romance novels since high school, and had few friends who loved the characters and authors as much as I did. My friends and I would exchange books and count down the days until the latest release. One day while looking at the magazines in the local bookstore, I saw a magazine that had romance novels front and center on the cover. It was called The Romantic Times (RT), a magazine that listed out the latest releases of romance novels. From that magazine I learned there were thousands of books that peaked my interest. They had reviews and awards for subgenres I didn’t even know existed, and I learned there was a convention for romance readers.
I remember staring at the advertisement for the convention for months, looking at the list of authors whom I loved and wishing I could be there. But I was a teenager with little money and I couldn’t even imagine asking my parents if I could take a week off school for something so amazing. So, I told myself I would do it later. Someday. It would happen.
And now that day has finally comer. Last week I attended the Romantic Times convention in Reno. Unfortunately, it is also the LAST RT convention. The website, which now works as a electronic version of the old magazine, and the convention will be closing down at the end of June.
We wish RT a fond farewell. Today is truly the end of an era. RT Magazine and the RT Convention have uplifted the romance genre for so many years, and we thank them for their service to the romance community. https://t.co/12hCJAgFqN
— RWA (@romancewriters) May 16, 2018
While the news is disappointing, I am so grateful for the opportunity to have been at the last one. I want to give teenage me a high five and let her know the dream was achieved (and it was awesome!) I’m so glad I listened to my gut nearly ten months ago when first deciding to commit. It would cost money and time, but after suffering serious FOMO from last year’s RT I knew I had to go to Reno.
RT is a convention for the readers. The panels centered mainly on having fun with authors, asking them questions, and geeking out over common romantic tropes. There are parties, free books (so many free books) and drinking. It was awesome to be surrounded by ladies who all celebrated love triumphing over all else in books.
And there were still events for aspiring writers such as pitch events, a boot camp, and spotlights with publishers.
There really is something for everyone.
Even an introvert like myself made new friends. I discovered new authors and got that writing fire in me ignited.
Now that it is over it is time for the sad reality that RT is over. Next year it will change its name to Booklovers Con. The spirit sounds like it will still be the same, a con for the readers, but who knows what else will change. I hope not too much.
I do think it is great that a convention for readers will continue on. We need that. We need more of it! Reading is a solo hobby, sometimes we’re lucky and we meet someone who loves the same genres we hold close to our hearts. But conventions like these show us we’re not alone and celebrates something we love.
This was a first-time experience for me, but it definitely won’t be the last. Thank you RT for showing me I’m not alone in my love of romance. Thank you for this last hurrah and finally, thank you for the books.
Note: The RT Book Reviews website will remain up for a year so readers can go and look at their vast list of reviews and past award winners. Check it out before it is too late.