This was my first time attending UtopYA and it was kind of a mixed bag for me. I've decided that I just need to deal with this like a do a review. I'm gonna tell you what worked for me and what didn't. You can decide from there.
What worked for me...
I loved meeting a few people that I've known online for a while and finally got to meet. And seeing old friends.
|with Kathryn Grimes|
|With Rachel Harris|
|Between Tiffany King and Shana Benedict|
|With Catarina from Reading and Things|
|With Devri Walls|
|Between Heather Self and Shana Benedict|
|With Trisha Wolfe|
Meeting the cover models. No doubt they were loving the attention. At the Friday night Karaoke event, the guys went out in the hall and took off their shirts. Really drew the crowd.
I told you about Jesse on Friday but Josh McCann was right across the hall from us. He's a cutie who LOVES the attention. He came looking for it by knocking on our door while partially clothed and a towel on his head. There is an instant gram video out there of poor Shana answering the door but I'm NOT linking to it. But I still laugh just thinking about it.
Here's what she saw!
THEN as we were going to the awards ceremony that night, he heard us and came bounding out of his room like THIS!
Yes I did make him let me take his picture and while I was at it, let me see those tats!
You never know who will be across the hall from you!
Who could not love THIS!
Oh course the BOOKS!
|Given to me by authors|
|The books I bought|
|In my welcome bag|
|Shana gave me|
Most important was meeting my INCREDIBLE and AWESOME roommate, Shana from A Book Vacation. We laughed so much that I thought I would pee my pants. This wasn't just a couple of times but EVERY time we were together. Gonna see her again at Book Bash. We will have to find LOTS of ways to get together because we are so besties now!
What didn't work for me...
A lot of my friends wanted me to go to UtopYA based on last year. Apparently, last year this event was very author AND reader/blogger driven. Not so much this year. This year it was clearly an author event. ALL the panels were geared towards authors. Most of the door prizes were author only. I felt very much like an outsider because I'm not an author. Even a conversation that I had with one of the organizers had me feeling this way.
Which leads me to the biggest issue I had. I started talking to people (like I do at BEA and other events) and I had more than just a few authors stop talking to me when they found out I wasn't an author. I was pretty surprised. I will say this didn't happen every time but it happened enough that I just decided to stick with people I already knew or who were introduced to me by someone I knew. I have enough to read, I don't need to meet more authors.
Will I go back...
I probably will. I loved meeting and rooming with Shana. We are a perfect fit, both being teachers and bloggers. We have similar book taste and I just really enjoyed my time with her.
I do hope that the organizers will hear the feedback and go back to having the focus be on author and reader/bloggers.
If you're looking for all the deets on how to early register and book that hotel room, then check out Shana's post about it HERE.