Anyway, here's my post about the whole shebang (and I apologize that the youtube videos are not embedded. Blogger and I are having a fight. You can either click the URLs to see the videos, or click here and see them embedded in the post on my personal blog):
I should really start this post off with a picture of my bruises and blisters. Showing off your war wounds is a good way to measure the success of an event. And, you guys, my feet are going to FALL OFF. Also, I have mysterious bruises all over my legs. My right shoulder is a good three inches lower than my left shoulder now, and I have to drag one leg behind me when I walk. Basically, TLA has turned me into Quasimodo.
(Very tired, blistered, wet feet)
But this is OK.
Over this past Thursday, Friday and Saturday, I've had the chance to talk with librarians and booksellers not just about my books, but about books in general. About the industry, about censorship, about budgeting and school visits. We talked about what ARCs we're excited about, what the trends seem to be, which books teens and kids like... and these were just random conversations with strangers on the exhibit hall floor.
Seriously. Book nerd valhalla.
(Please note the made-up Klingon in this video. Thanks to Jenny Zieglar for coming up with that. Hilarious. t'LAH, nerds! And also thanks to E. Kristin Anderson for shouting the Klingon and braving my driving on an early, rainy Saturday morning.)
AND, I had the opportunity to meet some amazing authors. Ellen Hopkins, Mary Pearson, Lisa Schroeder, Helaine Becker, Kathleen Duey, Matt de la Pena, Rick Riordan (though I stalked him from a distance at a cocktail party). Plus so many more that my addled brain will think of later. The Austin contingent of authors was there in full force, too, with kick ass panels and plenty of signings.
We were our own little (friendly) mafia, running into each other, comparing ARCs and stories, introducing each other to out of town authors, collapsing from exhaustion and blister attacks... it was a great time.
Plus - and this really blew my mind - it was so stunning to be walking the exhibit hall floor, peeking into publisher's booths, and to have people point at me (random people!) and say, "Mike Stellar! The blue book!" Or, before I could even introduce myself, "Brains for Lunch! Roaring Brook!" And I would just stand there like an idiot with my mouth fish-gaping until I could stammer out, "Yes, yes, that's me!"
(we did not stage that. nope.)
As an author who spends much of her time in a corner on the couch, hammering away at a laptop and never leaving the house, these kinds of encounters really put everything into perspective. I had an incredible discussion with a young man, who had seen me at a school visit earlier in the year, about the Mike Stellar cover art and some discrepencies with the text that he wanted to point out. For me to get out in the world and meet people who've read my books, or want to read my books, or who have heard of my books, it really makes me want to work harder and be better, and get out more to keep meeting people. Brian Floca and I were talking about this when we were signing at the Texas Authors Table (or selling puppets at the Texas Authors Table - it depends on who you talk to about this) and he was saying how it's such a shot in the arm. I can't think of a better analogy.
(Taking a break from the puppets)
And so, I think by now you have all figured out this was my first conference. I was truly blown away. Exhausted, bruised, rained on, but also uplifted and amazed. For a few days the rest of the world disappeared and everything was about books. Is there anything better than that?
Here are a few more videos from the conference... you can see how I conducted myself as a professional AT ALL TIMES.
(The Texas Sweethearts prove that librarians love books. And brownies.)
(Super dork, part II)
So. Who's sponsoring my trip to ALA? Anyone? Ah, that's OK. I have books to write!