Yesterday was my first B&N event, which thankfully involved lots of teachers and booksellers and folks who *love* to talk books. These are my kind of people!
I know that, as a newbie author, I should focus on things like self-promotion or presence or pushing my books (and there were mighty impressive stacks of LUMINOUS and DEAR BULLY flanking me at the table) but what I look forward to most is meeting new people and having passionate conversations about the books we can't wait to share!
Although, I'll admit: seeing this in the window made me pretty happy too!
I sat down and warmed my hands around a mug of tea and let the magic happen. I got to speak with someone who loved my book (and admitted that she was glad Consuela finally freaked out in the bathtub scene*). We talked about the Nook and e-books and access. I met a middle-grade teacher and we talked about bullying and programs and that outside of bullies and victims, it's the audience of other kids that can really make a difference. I met Chrissy, a teacher and writing student at Simmons, and we gushed about our mutual admiration of the fabulous Jo Knowles. Someone was interested in writing "southern genre YA" and I gleefully recommended Myra McEntire's HOURGLASS and BEAUTIFUL CREATURES by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl both for their stories as well as their great voice. Seeing folks write these down makes me as happy as recommending a great restaurant or new movie to a friend, yet somehow it's infinitely better because books feel more personal and often, I know something about the person on the other side of the page. Paying It Forward and Giving Back is gold! So I sat at my table, signing a couple of books, and beaming the whole time (although that might have been the complimentary chocolate chunk cookies at work...) surrounded by books, people who love books, and talking about books. Basically: bliss!
Fortunately, I wasn't alone -- just ask any author who's had a solo event. It's *so* much better with company! -- meeting other local authors, Vicki Hathaway and Jane Schoenberg (author of the Stuey Lewis stories). We talked about publishing and different markets, publicity and promotion, and our collective awe of the masters of crossing categories like Jane Yolen, Neil Gaiman, and MT Anderson. (I'm in awe of all three and have now met every one of them in person!) We talked about the controversy with SHINE and Lauren Myracle's incredible poise and class, the very small world of astonishing authors living in Western Massachusetts, and how the publishing world is changing. I left feeling stimulated, satiated, inspired and excited (right before a great #YALitChat session, too!) and really, that's what I love most: meeting great people & sharing the smiles!
Me in front of a bunch of smile-worthy stuff.
Inspired? Excited? Go Write Now!
* I swear, it's the bathtub scene and the final skin that really freak people out the most. In my mind, I'm going: *tee hee hee*!