Romance authors, readers unite in Atlanta at book convention this week

Bookworms, rejoice — the Romantic Times Booklovers Convention is in Atlanta all week, with plenty of author meet-and-greets, parties and even workshops for readers.

“Saturday is specifically open to the public,” said Tere Michaels, LGBT romance author and convention coordinator. “It’s a really great way for readers and authors to meet and chat and get to know each other; for authors to expand their networking.”

More than 500 authors will be set up at a giant book fair that day, including gay romance writers Damon Suede, BA Tortuga, L.A. Witt and Julia Talbot.

“It’s a great way to officially meet an author you’ve always wanted to meet,” Michaels said. “It’s a lot of fun to walk around and look at books and put a face behind the book cover.”

In addition to the book fair, Saturday is split into Teen Day and FAN-tastic Day, with two tracks of classes open to the public, and one of those specifically for young adult readers.

The convention started as part of Romantic Times Magazine and brings together industry professionals, publishers, aspiring authors, readers, cover design models, writers, cover designers — everyone who is associated with the romantic publishing industry, Michaels said. Readers can attend the conference as well, and there’s a speciak track of workshops and classes available. However, they are welcome to attend almost any workshop, even if it’s not on that track.

“It’s a cross between a big party and an industry event, which is something I think is pretty unique,” Michaels said. “We were an industry event for a long time and we thought, readers would love this — look at all these authors in one space. Let’s bring the readers in. We have separate opportunities for them, but plenty of opportunities to bring them all together. We thought that was something missing from other types of conventions.”

The convention travels each year, allowing fans who can’t travel long distances have more of a chance to attend.

“Atlanta is a great metro city where people can get to it very easily,” she said. “We want to have as many people as possible have a way to get with us. Atlanta was really a great spot for us.”

Workshops run the gamut — there are classes on handling critiques, advertising and marketing; socials like “Petticoats & Pistols” and “Cinema Craptastique;” chances to learn about fan fiction and business and more.

“I always say romance publishing is something that you discovered at some point in your life and the fact that you get to make it your job is amazing,” Michaels said. “It’s an industry that is constantly growing and evolving. It reflects a lot of social changes. Romance novels, in the beginning, were sort of a woman’s way of having some power in publishing. … I think it’s much bigger than people might expect it to be. Whatever your tastes might be, you’re probably going to find something in romance.”


RT Booklovers Convention giant book fair

Saturday, May 6 at 11 a.m.

Hyatt Regency Centennial Ballroom, 265 Peachtree St. NE, Atlanta