Monday, July 20, 2009

RWA 2009 Last day Part 2: Checking out the goodie room

I like to do two runs through the goodie room. Writers arrive in waves that have more to do with cheap flights than logic, and it’s always an experience. Naked torso-bookmarks, naked torso postcards, excerpts (with naked torsos), key chains and lotion. Candy, (not in the shape of naked torsos) and more business card magnets than a refrigerator.

This year there were more book marks and fewer “substantial” promos like notebooks and bag clips. Someone did homemade chocolate in squished up foil cups, which—excuse me, came across like flip-flops. IMHO, they should have brought some single-serv candy boxes using the forty percent off Michael’s coupon, and run off a sheet of inkjet stickers. No matter how delicious it is, that’s no excuse for poor presentation.

More people were using promo CDs and fewer were using excerpt booklets. Nothing pulled me except Cowboy. He pulled me like a barge; pointing out things (in his brilliance) he thought were worthy. Heavy paper bookmarks (look, at this quality!), good use of covers (I like that) and those little mini-disks that look like business cards and play like CDs.

Last year, I noticed more candy. In Atlanta I saw energy drinks. This year there was a preponderance of Starlight mints.

I co-opted some of the overflow. I don’t know what people were thinking, but three thousand, one title, non-erotic bookmarks are hard to push. I always check under the tables. The room police throw extra boxes there for clean-up--like a pumpkin on the last day, those expensive bits of paper get tossed and they need something to carry the trash.

I filled box after box (in a polite way, of course), hauled them back to the room and taped them up like a killer on a torture binge.

I’ve been shipping boxes out of the Marriot for years. Maybe I have a faulty memory or something, but I don’t remember it being so expensive. Ten dollars, per box for a handling fee? What were they doing—handling it with ermine gloves?

So I said, (in a hopeful voice) “That’s per order, right?”

Wrong. If I hadn’t been the ultimate scavenger, I’d have also had an up charge of three dollars for the box itself. And the shipping table was just a front. Only special people with accounts (FedEX accounts?) could use it. "Real” shipping was across the hotel and down a floor. While I waited in line, Harlequin dumped the extra books from their autographing on the swap table. Harlequin Presents, Special Editions and Love Inspired.

There’s a limited market for inspirationals and straight up contemporary.

People would saunter up casually, in the hope no one was looking and flip the books. Cowboy and baby, baseball player (I think baseball players are starting to replace cowboys), pregnant woman and Greek Tycoon, something tasteful for the inspirational line. I didn't see too many books slide off the table into the Harlequin provided conference totes. There was already a big stack of some thriller the people from Harper were pushing, but--romance conference? Straight up thriller?

Not like there was a half-nekkid guy on the cover.

If the Ellora authors had chucked their leftovers on the table, hotel security would have had to form a cordon.


Alice Audrey said...

I started working on the thriller while on the plane. It almost didn't make it into my bag. Mostly I'm reading it to see if there is any reason what so ever to bring it to a Romance conference. It hasn't really hooked me yet.

jodi said...

I looked at it, too. Did you notice there were two by the same author? I wondered if the reason it was there was because it's written from the female pov. Still not sure. I was so tired, I paid my bills and played catch up and fell asleep again. Got a lot of sleep debt to cancel out.

Jeanna said...

"I filled box after box (in a polite way, of course), hauled them back to the room and taped them up like a killer on a torture binge."


You have the Olson pack rattery disease.

I'm surprised they didn't get more creative with Whitman's Samplers or the like. Your conference should have gotten together w/the All Candy Expo.

jodi said...

I am seriously a pack rat, Jeanna. I packed your box and had to unpack it because I was too cheap to ship it there.

Lot of torsos and a copy of the Virgin pregnantperson's something or other with Greek Tycoon. Things I thought you'd find funny. :)

Kate Pearce said...

I did candy bracelets and little red heart-shaped tins of mints this year (all from Oriental Trading post-Valentine sale LOL) and simply stuck the see-through address labels over the plastic covers-cheap and cheerful-that's me- I also put in a few bookmarks and some heart pencils with my website on the side. Everything disappeared as soon as I turned my back, so I call that a success :)

Cynthia Justlin said...

I find it sad that if it doesn't have half naked guy on the cover/bookmark/promo/whatever it doesn't get picked up. There's plenty of great authors that don't write steamy-to-erotic and it's a shame if they're missing out on readership because people only gravitate toward shirtless dudes and in-your-face sexuality.

And, okay, maybe that's just my frustration coming out because I'm one of the non-steamy writers that keeps getting passed over for not being steamy enough.

But still...had I been there, I'd have been happy to give some of those neglected books some love. :)

Eva Gale said...

I love the steamy, I just can't understand the magnetic draw of teh man boobs.

Emily Ryan-Davis said...

The next time I attend conference I'm gluing myself to you.

jodi said...

Kate, you must have had a whirlwind pick your stuff up, because I didn't see it. That "is" success. Congrats. :)

Cynthia, the books were still there as I did my last sweep looking--I mean, walking toward checkout. It's the power of over-the-top, it sells everytime.

Emily, glue doesn't work. You have to use staples.

Jennifer Bianco said...

"I filled box after box (in a polite way, of course), hauled them back to the room and taped them up like a killer on a torture binge."

I think I scared the cat, I laughed so hard.

I agree with Cynthia about the nekid covers. Personally, they're not my faves at all.

Great post, Jodi. :)

jodi said...

lol, Jennifer. I carry tape with me. I'm so cheap. You can never tell when you might want to abscond with a box of nekkid torso bookmarks. :)