Friday, March 4, 2016

UTOPiAcon2016 - Packing and Prepping for Authors

Happy Friday, good people of the blogosphere! Today, we're talking about all the things to help authors get ready to attend Utopia 2016. There will be posts by the other official bloggers to help those of you who are readers get your stuff rocking and ready to go, and posts by the other official author bloggers that'll give different tips than I do below. Since I'm an author, I'm hitting this post from that angle. If you're ready, let's dive in. This will be a longish post.

If you don't have tickets to Utopia yet, get them here. Right now. This isn't a conference you can afford to miss.

You can get your room at the Millennium Maxwell House here. There's a block for the conference, and the discount code is 1606UTOCON. Be sure and mention it if you call.

Transportation to and from the airport is provided by the hotel, but if you want to jaunt around Nashville somewhere the hotel won't take you, you'll want to visit Utopia's partner, Lyft. Use code UTOPIA2016 for a free first ride up to $20!

Now, let's move on to packing essentials.

What to Pack - Clothing
  • Enough shirts/jeans for the duration. You may find you want to change midday, so bring at least two more than you think you'll need.
  • Socks, underwear, and pajamas. Again, bring a couple more than you think you'll need. *I feel like I'm obligated to explain myself, so here goes. It gets hot. We're in Nashville, TN, in June. You sweat. It's gross. Enough said.* 
  • Comfortable shoes. You'll be on your feet all day. Trust me. Heels are cute, but if you can't stand up in them for more than a few minutes, leave them at home.
  • A fancy dress or outfit for the awards (don't forget shoes).
  • A light sweater or hoodie (it gets cold in the panel rooms).
  • Toiletries: Toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, hair stuff, deodorant, smelly good stuff, mouthwash, makeup (if you so choose). Good news: If you forget any of these things, the hotel has a sundries shop!
  • Bathing suit! Yeah, the hotel has a pool!

What to Pack - Exhibitors
  • Your Transient Vendor's License. Get more info here.
  • Books. How many should you bring? Well, for any convention of this kind, there's a business formula. I wrote a blog post about it here. Utopia had well over 800 people attending last year, to give you an idea. It's always wise to do a pre-order form, too. The lovely Maria Pease created a walkthrough for you on how to do that. See it here. You can also bring out-of-stock order forms (if you choose).
  • Something to put your books on. This can be a stand, a box, or something of that nature, but you want to show them off and make them look pretty.
  • Pens. For the love of all that's holy, don't forget your pens! Sharpies, too!
  • Swag. If you made it, bring it! The hotel has a rule about homemade food (you can't give it away), so be sure anything is store bought and wrapped properly. There's a contest for best swag, so be sure you kill it!
  • Your Author Banner. Yeah...
  • Table Decorations. While the hotel will cover the table with a standard cloth, you may want to bring a runner or banner to make it yours/pretty. 1/2 table = 3' and a whole table = 6' There are contests for best UTOPiA2016 REVOLUTION themed table, best solo table, best table decoration, and best shared table, so be sure you discuss with your table mate.
  • Your Smile. This might be the most important thing on the list.

Remember to transport your books in a way that prevents them getting banged up or damaged in any way. I usually put mine back in the packing material they came in after I check them over for defects. No problems yet.

If you need to find a roommate or need to ship your books to Nashville ahead of you, here are a couple of resources:
We Are Going to Utopia. This is an unofficial Facebook group for the folks attending the conference. Just post in there that you're looking for a roommate, and you'll get responses. Same for shipping your books ahead. Several folks are willing to accept the shipments and store the books until the conference date arrives.
If you want, the hotel will also hold your books for you until you arrive. There's a fee for this, but you can find out more about it here. It's on the bottom of the page.

Leave bad attitudes at home, please! Ain't nobody got time for drama.

If you'd like to go ahead and plan your schedule out, visit the sched website here. Confused about how it works? That's okay! The bloggers will be discussing it next month.

Be sure and pay all the other official bloggers a visit this month! You don't want to miss a thing!

Week 1: Jo Michaels and Maria Pease
Week 2: Shana Benedict and Delphina Miyares
Week 3: Toni Lesatz and Ren Reidy
Week 4: Ashley Bodette and Kathryn Grimes

Sorry this was such a long post, but they're gonna get longer! I hope you're ready.

Well, that's all for today, folks! Until next time, WRITE ON!


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