This year’s RARE London was aptly named “Once Upon A Time” and I certainly felt like I was in a fairy-tale. With so many of my favourite authors in one place how could this not be a magical experience.
My day started very similar to last year’s RARE. Up early ready to catch the train. I think I may have caught an earlier train this year, or I was just more aware of what I was doing and where I was going, as I definitely arrived at the venue earlier than last year. The weather was also a major improvement!
Waiting in queues is not everyone’s idea of fun but I like to take this time to talk to the people around me. Everyone is there for the same reason but not always the same authors, so it’s nice to hear who they enjoy and why.
This year the registration occurred at the queuing stage which made entry into the building much quicker and more efficient. Great work done by the RARE Team and Volunteers (this will not be the last time I congratulate them on their hard work).
Upon entry into the room an overwhelming sense of awe takes hold. Moving away from the lift I had to pause for a moment to take in the room and the atmosphere. Ladies, let me just say that although 5 hours does not seem long to get round all your authors it really is worthwhile to just stand still and take it all in for a few minutes, the atmosphere is amazing. When you are ready consider you attack plan, have your table map to hand and then delve right in. A really good idea that one lady had, actually I think her husband did it for her, was to laminate her table plan. Mine was a screwed up mess when I finished but this would make a really good keepsake.
I knew exactly where I wanted to go as soon as I’d taken it all in…Tiffany Snow, one of my favourite authors for this RARE. Sometimes things do not always go to plan and I found this as approached the table where Tiffany should be…it was empty! No sign of her anywhere. Don’t Panic! I knew she was there because she had posted on Facebook just that morning but now the fun began tracking her down. This was actually really good as it gave me a chance to have a look around and see where all the other authors where situated.
My day progressed in a procession of autographs, photos and fun. I visited all the authors I wanted to and I met some new authors I haven’t read yet. Please don’t avoid an author just because you haven’t read their work yet, it is a fantastic opportunity to discuss their work with them and find new reads. Also don’t forget the Swag. I will admit that last year I was a bit hesitant when taking swag, I only took something when the author offered it but I was much better this year. They lay it on their tables with the intention of you taking it, so take it!
I did make an epic error in judgement this year. I decided to take some books for signing…7 in total plus my autograph book. I carried everything with me in a rucksack as I was travelling by train and thought this would be easiest. It may have been easier but that bag was heavy! It also meant that I was unable to buy any books while I was there as I had no room to carry them. Do yourself a favour and get either a crate or suitcase with wheels, you will be grateful for this little piece of advice.
Onto my authors. I had several circled that I wanted to visit and my absolute favourites I managed to have photos with. Authors are more than happy to have a photo taken and generally with have someone on hand to take it for you, this is normally a volunteer assistant. So here are mine and I thank each and everyone of them for making RARE19 a fantastic experience.
Jane Harvey-Berrick and the very lovely Gergo Jonas
Melinda Leigh, Catherine Bybee and Kendra Elliot
An amazing experience and fun time meeting wonderful authors and readers alike.
Thank you to Amy Jennings and all the Team at RAREvents, and a massive shout-out to all the volunteers who helped with author tables, line management and registration.