Sunday, June 29, 2014

UtopYA2014 Wrap-up

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 KP

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.


  1. I'm so glad to see that you had such a fun time with your friend Shana. I'm glad that you enjoyed the event overall. Too bad, the convention wasn't more inclusive to bloggers, and some of the authors treated you that way :( That's very upsetting! They should appreciate all of the hard work that we as book bloggers do. Keep up the good work Val!!!

    1. Thanks Lindy. I did have a good time especially with Shana. I'm sure the authors were new and didn't understand. I'm hoping they were just so focused on making author connections that they didn't even realize what they were doing. Thanks for your support.

  2. It looks like you had a fun time despite it being author driven. I hope that next year it's more inclusive of bloggers.

    Books of Love

  3. Thanks for sharing and giving the info for next year. I am a socially awkward person. I guess I will wait just a little while before scheduling to go. I don't think I could handle being snubbed by anyone. I will keep watch. It looked like fun.

  4. My gosh look at those models lol. Sorry to hear about some of those clearly rude people but glad you enjoyed it for the most part

  5. First off I was sooooo excited to FINALLY get to meet you after all this time!!! It was AWESOME to be able to put a face to a name! <3 <3 <3 But after reading your post, my heart was sad to hear that you had authors treat you so poorly. It angers me to hear that because you do so much for us. I hope I get to see you again, whether it be there or other events because it was such a joy talking with you. And thanks for posting the pics of my books. You made me feel special! *Smooches*

    1. Anne - it was wonderful to finally meet you. You were wonderful to me. I'd love to see you again sometime.

  6. We already talked about it at UtopYA but I'm glad you were able to have fun and make some new connections and friends. I loved seeing you there and I think you are a rockstar! (And we will always have "Flat Ian" pics to remember it by! Lol ;)

  7. OMG Looks like you had so much fun!!! Very jealous of those hunky males you got to hang with. :D

    1. They were very fun but mostly I saw them from afar. Josh loved the attention though. Gotta love that boy just the way he is.

  8. I'm so glad you came and were my roomie! We had the bestest time together--models, minions, evil doors, smells of poo... EPIC! <3 Huggles! Can't wait to do it all again--and I agree, I hope there is a blogger/reader track next year. :D

    --Shana @ A Book Vacation

    1. EPIC! But don't forget the bathroom light! LOVE that we met and I can't wait to see you again. But our friendship will go on over text, facebook and any other way we can think of to TALK! Hehe

  9. I absolutely LOOOOOOVED meeting you and talking with you!!!!
    We definitely didn't have enough time but it was just awesome to finally meet!!!
    Love this post!!! :D <3

  10. Ahhh, I'm so jealous you got to meet Trisha! There were so many bookish events last week.

  11. I'm glad you had a good time. It's too bad that it wasn't more blogger/reader friendly, but it still sounds like a good time. I love events because it's so great to meet other bloggers and authors that you love!

  12. I love it! Sounds like you had a great time!!

  13. Valerie, I'm glad I got to meet you! I love your post, but I am soooo sorry to hear that any author would stop talking to you because they found out you weren't an author. That's kind of nuts on them, since there aren't any authors without readers and bloggers.
    Maybe it was a mistake?
    Gosh, I hope it was and I hope you'll return next year, hunt me down and hang out with me. We didn't have much time to talk and I'm excited that next year's conference will be longer, so we'll have more time. I look forward to seeing you again!

    1. Thank you, Misty. I wasn't around as much because of this issue. It wasn't a mistake and happened more than once. They just stopped talking to me when they found out I wasn't an author. They didn't say that but they turned away or walked away. Currently, I am planning to go back and I do hope we can spend more time together.

  14. So glad you had fun! Those models were much cuter than the models at Book Bash, right? (Except for Eric, of course! ;-) )