I was so excited when Carlyle e-mailed me about being involved in this blog post adventure! UtopYA 2014 was my first time attending the conference. It hopefully will not be the last. I attended as an author, actually as a new author. My books haven’t even been published for a year yet!
Somehow, I lucked into purchasing half a table at the con to present my books to the attendees! And then I got even luckier sharing that table with my bestie, Rachael Brownell. We had an amazing time at our Tiki table (which won an award for best table décor! Thanks to those who voted for us!). We attended the panels we wanted and connected with amazing readers, bloggers, editors, designers, photographers and cover models.
I should have felt overwhelmed. The conference is huge. It’s a nationally recognized event. I was a very small fish in a very big pond. But, that’s not what I felt at all. I was a fangirl first, author second! Meeting the authors of the books that I’d read and pined over for years was amazing. To find out how kind and gracious said authors were was even better!
What UtopYA gave me was confidence in my own writing. When bestselling authors walk up to you and tell you how much they enjoyed your book….yeah, that happened! And it was surreal and amazing. UtopYA gave me a family of support.
Meeting the readers, bloggers, fellow authors, and artists who help spread the word about our works was beyond fabulous. I smiled more that weekend than I’d ever expected! Getting to meet the people you see behind the profiles online is wonderful.
1. Don’t be shy. If you are shy, it’s hard to connect with people. I’m not shy but my daughter is, and I completely understand stepping out of one’s comfort zone. But, the people at UtopYA will put you at ease. It truly felt like I was being respected and accepted, loved and supported. I promise that if you reach out and connect, you will not be sorry.
2. Attend the panels. I only attended a couple since I had an exhibitor table. I wanted to be available if someone stopped by to see me. But, they were amazing. The panelists offered invaluable advice and if you have a question that they don’t answer, you can ask it. That’s the best part! You get to participate and ask questions!
3. Swag is important! I’ve been to a few author events and UtopYA Conference. Swag is everywhere. The more the swag you offer is memorable, the better the impression upon your fans and the more other people notice! It’s a great way to promote your work!
4. Fangirling is fun!
5. The evening events are a blast!
6. This is an event to further your profession. Take notes, pay attention and enjoy your time.
I hope to see you all at the con in 2015 where the theme is “Write Your Future!” How fun is that theme? Until then, keep typing, blogging, connecting, and smiling! <3
Love and Hugs,
Casey L. Bond
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