A Bookish Weekend in DC: Meeting Readers and Librarians at ALA

2 am at Penn Station in NY is always entertaining. Mostly, it’s people like me wondering how you managed function that early in the morning. Other people were completely wasted, clearly enjoying their Friday night…Saturday morning. You see far more skin than you’d like. Even during winter when it’s less than 20 degrees outside. Never understood that one. I’m dressed to my eyeballs and they’re half naked.

Why was I awake well before the sun on a Saturday?

Over the weekend, my publisher and I had a table at the American Library Association’s Annual Conference in DC.  It opened at 9 in the morning. I had to arrive well before that, which meant a 3 am train. I’m used to it.

The was the first year my name was on the booth.

In the past, Aubey ran the show, which I’m totally okay with. This time, I was at the helm with Aubey footing the bill. I manage (tried to manage) all the details behind exhibiting at a big conference while working a full-time job. Don’t know how authors do it.

We added some new things to the table. I already showed you my new business cards, which are gone now. All 100 of them. So, I guess the new design worked.

And we did mugs again! I love these.

I used 4imprint instead of Vistaprint. 4imprint is cheaper and they have more options.

We also had bags!!

We displayed it under the mugs and away from the edge of the table. We tried tapping it to the edge of the table to draw people in. But, one person ripped the bag off the table while were we busy talking to others. When we tapped a new bag, another person came by and took it. The bags were tapped, TAPPED, to the table. And they took it anyway. How triflin’ is that? They could’ve at least asked.

Bags are not cheep. I understand why some booths are stinging about them.

People were eyeing the mugs. We kept them at the back of the table so people wouldn’t just walk away with them when we were busy.

Now, let’s roll back a bit. I grew up in SE DC. Yet, I spent most of last weekend stunned at all the changes. I didn’t recognize most areas. One place reminded me on a park near Union Square in NY. It seems DC wants to be NY and I am not okay with that. I actually needed Google Maps to guide me. With some areas, I couldn’t even tell what they used to be. Everything is so different.

At least it was pretty to photograph.

Back to the conference.

 I didn’t plan that color scheme for my table but it worked out well. Those colors attracted a lot of attention. We even ran out of The Sciell.

We gave away a mug and bag to anyone who bought a book. And, someone left a nice review about me on Square. Didn’t even know you could do that.

It exhibit hall was huge but not annoyingly packed.

They even had a Gaming Lounge. Though, when I heard that, I was picturing a room with a lot of screens and devices. Didn’t know they meant tabletop RPGs. Kinda appropriate now that I think about it.

I didn’t walk around the conference hall until day two. Library of Congress’ booth had to be one of the favorites.

ALA even put an indoor park in the middle of the conference hall with live entertainment.

I found the nerdy section. Games, manga and graphic novels/comic books. Fortunately, and maybe, unfortunately, people were more focused on other sections that the lines and DC and Imagine comic were short. I didn’t have to line up an hour beforehand to get a comic book signed.

Got one book, one comic and a graphic novel. I also bought some awesome bracelets made from book spines.

Both days were exhausting, of course but that’s part of the job. I had a great time.


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