This past weekend I had the opportunity to attend the Association of Rhode Island Author’s Expo. Admittedly, I have not heard of ARIA and was planning on attending as I have my monthly Rhode Island Romance Writers Association meeting and as our group had a table, we decided to do our meeting in the middle of the convention.

This was my first author’s convention and I truthfully had no idea what to expect. Someone had told me it was a lot like Comic Con, but again I have no idea what Comic Con is either. I mean, I like X-Men and think Wolverwine is fun to look at- but that’s the extent of my comic book knowledge.

Basically the event consisted of about 10 rows of tables and each author had their own table broadcasting their books. The genres ranged from romance to non-fiction to self-help. What I loved was that there was a whole spectrum of ages as well. I met a fifteen year old author who had self-published a book about the travesties and travails of seventh grade and then a retired social worker who had crafted a mystery novel.

There were also a series of panels, including one really interesting one on Publishing with Satin Russel and Marie Force. I had the opportunity to meet Satin a bit after and was so inspired. She just published her second novel, part of a trilogy, and has such a contagious positive attitude. She had such a good grip on self-publishing and was  a wealth of good information.

Marie was also an amazing person to meet. I sat in on her keynote address where she recounted her story of breaking into the industry as one of the first few hybrid authors. She really pushed through, despite receiving literally hundreds of rejections, and now she is able to write full-time on an 8 figure salary. #Goals, right?

Overall, the buzz of the entire event really inspired me and threw a bit more gasoline into my fire. I’m excited and energized and can almost taste it on my mouth. Truthfully, I’m becoming almost a bit too obsessed. But I tell myself it’s a much safer addiction than drinking or smoking, so I try not to sweat it too much.

And unlike a lot of the authors at the convention, I really enjoy all the pieces that go into writing: the marketing, the graphic design, the formatting. I feel like each aspect is a piece in the puzzle and I get excited when I start to see those pieces fit together. Also, I am a complete control freak and I like having the ability to tweak and change things as I see fit. I’m also perpetually poor, so having a quality $500 cover is not in the cards for me right now.

All in all, it was a great way to spend a Saturday, network with other authors and learn more from their experiences. The one thing I have come to love about this industry, especially amongst romance authors, is how open and welcoming it is. Everyone is so eager to offer advice or a kind word, or even to meet for coffee and offer advice. As a still relative neophyte, I am so grateful for those who have carved the path ahead of me and am excited to learn more!

Have you ever attended an author convention? Did you find them helpful and a good resource for you and your writing?

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