Michael's Musings

GLiBA weekend

Sorry for the mini-hiatus — I’m hard at work on the Latasha sequel, so that’s been using up all my writing muscle as of late.

But here I am to report on my visit to the Great Lakes Independent Booksellers Association (GLiBA) tradeshow! After my fabulous school visit in Battle Creek, my wife and I drove back east to Dearborn, MI, so that I could meet booksellers and other authors, sign a whole ton of books, and completely geek out when I saw Brian Selznick walk past me in a hallway.

Well, I hadn’t gone to Dearborn for that last purpose…it just happened. (All eye-bulgy, jaw-droppy geeking out was done after Mr. Selznick had passed me by, but in full view of about two dozen grown men and ladies.) It was probably my favorite tradeshow moment — thus surpassing the moment I had at BEA this past May, when I nearly bumped into Ice-T as he was walking and eating a hot dog.

Anyhow, let’s back up and wind through the weekend in a chronological fashion. On Friday in the early afternoon, my wife and I arrived. She, on account of that whole driving-all-night thing, was quite tired, so she re-tired to our room, while I wandered about to get a feel for the place.

One thing that I especially enjoyed about GLiBA was how accessible everyone was. It was a relatively small event, with a maybe few hundred attendees — a much more intimate affair than the aforementioned BEA. Thus, it was easy for me to immediately strike up a conversation with a handful of kindly booksellers, who made me feel immediately at home — thanks, Linda from Fundamentals Children’s Books!

It was just as easy to meet authors, such as the quite-generous novelist, Saundra Mitchell, who sat down to chat at length with me about the writing life — all this despite her having a way cooler business card than mine. What makes it cooler? Inspired by my recent diet of Wimpy Kid and Origami Yoda books, I made a diagram:

“Purveyor of fine wishes, dreams & nightmares!” “Author” just can’t compete. It’s like fine china amidst a sea of paper plates.

So that was Friday: booksellers and authors mingling and making plans for when the show would officially open the next day, and information sessions about exciting new releases.

Saturday was a different animal. The booths had all sorts of goodies on display, and authors were doing signings all over the place. I had two signings myself, both of which went exceptionally well. The first was at the AtlasBooks booth — they are the company working with my publisher to distribute Latasha and some of my other work, and it was as their guest that I got to attend the show in the first place. The second took place in the evening, in a big conference room with author-lined walls. We all sat in pairs at tables. Well, everyone that wasn’t me sat in pairs. My table-mate never arrived, and his books lay largely untouched for most of the night. Pity, because I actually would have loved to meet the author of Zombie Nursery Rhymes.

On the plus side, I had great back up from none other than the first person I met at the show — Linda from Fundamentals offered to be my helper, driving passersby to the table, and helping me keep the line moving as I signed copy after copy.

Afterward, I got to hang out a bit with some more great authors. One, C. Alexander London (author of the “Accidental Adventure” books, which you MUST READ), I had gotten to know a bit through Twitter, and finally got to meet in the flesh — and give some home repair-related reassurance (don’t ask). Another, I’d never met before, and honestly I’d never heard of until the weekend, but now that I know a bit about her, I can’t wait to read Maile Meloy’s The Apothecary. I’m frankly ashamed that it hadn’t gotten onto my radar, so up my alley it seems.

Sadly, there is no photo documentation of these events — because if my wife isn’t around to remind me to get footage, I’m just terrible at it.

On Sunday morning, my wife and I packed up and raced home (lawfully, I might add), trying to get into Pittsburgh-area radio range by 1pm to catch the Steelers game. (We succeeded.)

All in all, GLiBA was an absolutely worthwhile event to attend. (And hopefully my book sales will reflect that!)

By the way, I’m not the only soul to have written about the weekend. Here’s a blog about it that I quite enjoyed: That’s What She Read. (For good measure, here’s one last sentence that is in parentheses, since that appears to be a running theme today.)

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