Reader and Author Get Together 2017 #RAGT17

Reader and Author Get Together (RAGT) is an annual conference put on by Lori Foster in

Cincinnati. It’s pretty popular because they limit the amount of entrees to 400 (or close to that) at only $50 a ticket! It’s a pretty good deal because the authors usually sponsor all the meals, you get a ton of books and swag in you bag, a $10 Barnes & Noble Gift Card, t-shirt and this year we got a pair of LuLaRoe’s as well. All you really have to have otherwise is transportation and money for you hotel room. Now that’s not to say you don’t want to bring money, but that’s a whole new subject I will get too soon.

There are lots of events like two different book signing times: one on Friday and one on Saturday for 2 hours each. Of course Barnes & Noble set up shop to allow you to buy books in case you didn’t bring yours or didn’t get one in your bag for a certain author. Now, I am not saying they have every author’s books at the event, but they have quite a few. The first day the big names were Lori Foster, Karen Marie Moning, and Jill Shalvis. I hit up Lori (with a 50 minute wait) and Jill (with a 25 minute wait). Now Jill’s line was long, I just happened to get in it at a good time. I swung around and visited a few new to me authors just so I could say hi.

The second day was the highly anticipated author signing with J. R. Ward. The line started forming right after lunch with signing not opening until 3 pm. I jumped in her line after an event was cancelled. Around 2:25 pm. I was pretty far back, but not as far as the line ended up going, as they started wrapping it down hallways. At around 3:10 pm J.R. Ward walked in with a group of people surrounding her. Not a big deals since Karen Marie Moning had a ton of assistants with her. Did I forget to mention the J.R. and Karen’s line were mixed together? There isn’t much exciting to tell about the line except it is true that J.R. Ward does have a security expert with her that blocked everyone from entering the bathroom when she did. They apparently didn’t clear it out first, but they were not letting anyone else in while she was in there. Can I just say that J.R. Ward is one of the liveliest authors I have ever met. She freely took pictures with all who asked in line. We had a super fan behind us in line and J.R. Ward broke out from behind the table and came over to her hugging her so excitedly. If you look closely at my picture you can see the security guard behind us watching 🙂

Let’s talk raffles! RAGT supports many good organizations. One is a animal rescue, which Lori Foster sells a benefit book for (no raffle for this one). The big one though is for One Way Farm. Authors, readers, sponsors, publishers, bloggers…you name it and they donate it with over 200 baskets and gifts. Tickets are 2 for $1 and people buy them in huge numbers. We put our name on them and put them in the little bags associated with each giveaway. There are so many that they have to hold three sessions to draw names. And if you think this is small, let me tell you it is not. They raised over $22,000 just in raffle money this year to help One Way Farm. It is such a worthy cause and they bring tears to my eyes with the stories they tell us. One child gets to write a letter and it will break you heart. While I wasn’t a winner with 300 tickets, I don’t look at it as bad, but as something I freely gave. I wish I had taken a picture to express just how big this really has become. Imagine a ballroom lined on the outside with tables and shelves. Completely covered. So covered they set up more tables in the hallway covered in even more.

Now to the fun stuff (if you didn’t think what I have already said was fun). Panels. I will say I have only experienced two RAGT, but this one wasn’t as well organized. The first day I went to 3 morning session – played Mad Libs and won twice, Cards Against Humanity (I suck at this game) and Telephone. It was going all good, then in the afternoon, events started getting cancelled with no one bothering to post a note. Okie Dokie. Then evening events got cancelled. I really was kinda bummed to stand in line only to not do much of anything.

The second day started off ok….once again I was playing Cards Against Humanity PG style this time and bored outta my mind. Sorry, it wasn’t even fun because we had a teenager in there thinking she was all that, sitting next to her mom. I can keep it PG, that wasn’t my problem. My problem was this teenager talking the entire time taking over the show and her mom just as bad. But ok, I moved on to Bingo, with romance places. Lost like crazy, but found some new authors I want to try out. Moving on…everything pretty much got cancelled after that and by the evening I was once again playing Bingo (normal style) with O69 making all the women breathless….or at least the announcer. Let’s just say I was ready to get out of there.

So I have give a few impressions after two years of panels. These are in small conference rooms that don’t hold a lot of people. Maybe 6-8 conference rooms packed with people sitting on the floor. Then rooms cancelling and more people piling into these room. This was the norm for both times I went. I wasn’t impressed this year with what they had us do. It was mostly games and they were all the same games, just different room.

Food – I can’t complain much because these authors go out of there way to pay for these meals and I know it can’t be cheap. Most of them to get their name in front of you. Kudos to all of them and I am very thankful for everything I got to eat, try and moan because I was too full. The first night we had pretzels and browners (which I hadn’t eaten supper). Friday morning was bacon, eggs and fried potatoes. This also happened to be the same breakfast for Saturday. Lunch Friday was a taco bar, then supper was fried chicken and ribs. Saturday lunch was make your own deli sandwich, while supper was Marco’s pizza. I don’t think my shorts will fit me this summer! And it was all included with my entry fee. Thank you very much for all who sponsored those meals.

Evening parties were a big thing. I guess romance readers like to cosplay. The first night was 80s themed with the pretzels and brownies finger foods. It was fun, but I didn’t dress up. I spyed and author we had on the blog last week cutting up the dance floor…can you guess who?

The second night was come dressed as your favorite Hollywood star. I didn’t stay long for this one as it really wasn’t my thing. Another DJ and dancing, so I headed back to my hotel a little early.

The last night was BINGO which I covered earlier.

So to wrap up, I had a great time. I connected with two women I met my first time going and made some new friends in others I met for the first time. I can’t say I made any author connections, but that’s ok. Can’t win them all. I spent time bored, and some time laughing so hard I cried. But most of all, I got to hang with like minded men and women who love books.

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Shari is the Delighted Reader. Married to her Prince Charming and mother to two Princesses and one Prince. When she is not slaving away as Cinderella she loves to get lost in the pages of a good book. Never without a reading device and a few good paperback books, because she never knows when she might get 5 minutes to read!
  • This sounds like so much fun! I haven’t heard of this event before but it sounds really well done. Love your photos!

    • Shari Delighted Read

      It’s a wonderful event. I forgot to mention it sells out within 40 minutes of open registration. It’s wildly popular. I live about 2.5 hours away so it works great for me to go without lots of travel cost.

  • Yay! I’m glad you were able to post your doing and impressions. It does sound like a really good event for the price and I do like that the numbers are kept lower. Bummer on all the cancellations, though.

    • Shari Delighted Read

      I really enjoyed my time there and it helps I am close enough to get there within a 3 hour drive. I was tired from all the standing and waiting for things. I saw J.R. Ward, so I won’t have to stand in that line next year if I go 🙂

      • That’s a great way of seeing it. You got the long line over first. 🙂

  • This sounds like a lot of fun. It is event I would like to attend to meet authors and bloggers.

    • Shari Delighted Read

      Registration opens around the beginning of March, at 1:00pm EST. You have to be on the ball or you will miss it as it sells out usually between 40-60 minutes. They do put together a wait list in case someone doesn’t pay or backs out. Most don’t though. It really is a wonderful conference with a few hiccups.

  • It sounds like you had a blast!

    • Shari Delighted Read

      I had a great time. Laughed so hard the last night I was crying.

  • This sounds like a fun event.

    • Shari Delighted Read

      It totally is!

  • Michelle

    This sounds like a fun conference, even with the cancelled events. I would love to do something like this in the future.

  • That is really sad about the cancelled events, but it still sounds like a lot of fun. Maybe I should plan this one for next year. If the attendance is limited to 400, I think my anxiety would be able to handle that. Does it move every year or is it always in Cinncinati?

    • Shari Delighted Read

      I was so tired of standing in line only to be told it was cancelled or they never showed up. So then I would get in line for another one only to have it too full to enter. I love that they limit it to 500 (100 authors 400 attendees). This year they had to have it at a different location because where they have it was under renovation. So we are back at the Marriott next year. It is always in Cincinnati and the same Marriott each year. No changing and they say they never will.

  • It is too bad about the events that were cancelled but it sounds like a lot of fun!

    • Shari Delighted Read

      There were enough events to keep me busy most times, it was just the afternoons and evenings that they got sketchy on if they happened or not.

  • I can’t believe I never heard of this. I lived most my life about 80 miles from Cincinnati. Sounds fun but I wonder why things kept getting cancelled?

  • Sounds like you had a good time even with the cancelled events.

  • Karen

    What an exciting event! It sounds like SO much fun!

    #getsocial17

    For What It’s Worth

  • oh it looks awesome! I’m so jealous!

  • RAGT is truly my favorite con–as an author, it’s an amazing opportunity to connect with readers–my tribe!–as well as with other authors from every level along the road (okay, I didn’t get to sit down for happy hour with JR Ward, but I did get to hang with lots of other authors I adore. But really, it’s about the readers.
    I’d love to know what ideas people have for boardroom activities and games BESIDES bingo and CardsAgainstHumanity/ApplesToApples/That’sWhatSheSaid and MadLibs. We did Hot Hero Jenga, but not sure that was a crowd favorite.
    What do people want to do?