Monday, June 27, 2011

ALA 2011: The Highs, The Lows, and The Embarrassing Moments

It's official:  I'm no longer a conference virgin!!!  Since I started blogging two years ago (yes - 2 years this month!!), I've seen all these great posts about book conferences and always wanted to go to one.  The books, the comraderie, the ambiance, the whole package... it always looked like so much fun!

Well it is....and it isn't.  Here's my own personal highs, lows, and an incident that will leave me forever cringing whenever anyone mentions fairies:

The Highs:
1.  Being surrounded by all things bookish and people who love books and reading.
2.  Hanging out with other bloggers like Rachel, Laura, Autumn, Christine, Sasha, Nerissa, Jess, and a few other bloggers I'm sure I'm leaving out...
3.  Meeting the authors who write the books I love.
4.  The books!  Here's a pretty good round up of what I went home with:

As you can tell from the pics, YA is hot!  So are Dystopian novels.  There are several books I'm super-duper excited about:
Forever and The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
Succubus Revealed by Richelle Mead
Glow by Amy Kathleen Ryan
The Girl in the Steel Corset by Kady Cross
The Name of The Star by Maureen Johnson
The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin
Wisdom's Kiss by Catherine Gilbert Murdock
Cold Kiss by Amy Garvey
Stay With Me by Paul Griffin

Okay, I'm excited about all of them but those are at the top of the list :)

So, what could be the lows, you ask?  Really, there were only a few:
1.  The Lines - ohmygodthelines!!!  If you wanted to meet an author or snag a popular ARC, you had to be prepared to wait for it.  And wait.  And wait some more.
2.  The giveaway information was inconsistent.  For example, a friend wanted The Predicteds by Christine Seifert.  Saturday they told us they were giving them away on Sunday.  We came back on Sunday and they said "Sorry, that giveaway was yesterday".  Wait, what?  But really, for the most part, the publishing people were really nice and wanted to talk about what I wanted to talk about - books!
3.  Disappearing publishers:  I was so excited to see Dreamspinner Press there on Saturday.  I enjoy their publications and they had plenty of books on display.  I asked if they were selling, as they had some print titles I wanted to purchase (most booths wouldn't sell their stock until Monday) and they said they were giving them away on Monday, however, they did not come back Sunday or Monday at all.  I would have paid -I bought other books I wanted- they had some great titles!!!
4.  The not-really-their-fault-but-still-disappointing-incident:  The Lost Copies of Crossed by Ally Condie. This book was the catalyst for my coming back on Sunday (I was supposed to attend on Saturday only)I waited in line for an hour, I was #65 - pretty good, right?  Well, the stock disappeared, no one knows where it went.  I heard it was around 300 copies that went missing.  Penguin was very nice about it though and took everyone's address and promised to mail a copy.  I've already started stalking my mailman.

And, the Embarrassing Moments:
1. First, my most embarrassing moment, aka How I Met Julie Kagawa. I had been waiting in line for Crossed *sobs*, and Rachel and Laura were at the Harlequin booth.  I walked up to where they were standing, and someone asked one of the two ladies behind the booth for a particular ARC.  I asked the other woman for an ARC I was interested in.  As she turned to ask someone to get it for me, Rachel turned to me and said "That's Julie Kagawa."  Me: "What?"   Rachel: "The woman you just asked to get a book, that's Julie Kagawa."  Me: *white as a sheet* Thinking, oh shit, what do I do? ...of course I apologized profusely.  I couldn't even look at her.  I kept turning to Rachel to ask her questions.  Finally, Julie graciously asked me if I would like a signed copy of her book and who to personalize it to...  Me: "To the idiot who didn't know who I was and asked me to fetch her a book?"

Here's the thing - Rachel, Laura and I were standing in line *sigh* to see Nalini Singh *squee!* a few hours later, and I made mention of how embarrassed I was that I asked Julie Kagawa to find me a book.  Guess who was standing right behind me?  Yup, you guessed it - Julie Kagawa.  Where's the hole in the floor when you need it?  Seriously, though, she was very gracious and laughed with me, not at me...really.  I think.

2. I'm sure I've mentioned before how shy I am.  Other bloggers say are social butterflies online...not me.  Don't believe me?  Well, we went to a small gathering of bloggers at a local wine bar.  Probably 20-25 bloggers.  Basically I knew about 3 people (5 if you count my husband and Rachel's husband).  I got a little anxious about socializing with all these strangers.  So I went to the restroom and texted my BFF from the stall.  Then I tweeted about my social phobia.  Yes, from the bathroom.  Go me.  But, eventually, I was pulled out of my shell and did manage to socialize with the book ladies while our menfolk drank beer and talked about being married to book bloggers.  Or sports.  Or something.

So, all in all, ALA 2011 was FAWESOME!!!  Would I do it again?  Absolutely! 


  1. I am totally freaking out that you got Succubus Revealed! I want to read that soooooooooooooo bad! I have a (signed) copy of Crossed I would trade!

  2. I'm not very social either and find those situations awkward. Glad you had fun and at least you have a great story to tell. Not much of a trip if you don't come home with a great memory you'll never forget. I'm sure it was the same for the author, she'll enjoy telling her friends about the laughs she had with you. :-)

  3. Looks like ALA was a lot like BEA in a way. Glad you got some books you wanted. Anyways have fun with your piles. Those piles rival some of what was taken over at BEA. Have fun.

  4. You did great Patti! Your embarrassing moment was great at ALA11 - it was memorable - not something you want to forget, like a few embarrassing moments I've been a part of. Luckily they usually involve Jack Daniels (which is why I stuck to the clears that night) ;)

    I had so much fun and I can't wait to do it again at Authors After Dark 2012. But, I'm really thinking about doing BEA also next year. Really really thinking about it. You game???

  5. OMG lol. Julie is one of the sweetest women you could ever meet. LMAO...I can see her reaction in my head and yours. I so wish I was there...AND YOU MET NALINI SINGH!!! GAH

  6. Lol, Julie sounds nice :) Even if you messed up a bit ;)

    And wow, I so want to go to something like this one day, alas, who would come here :/

  7. Sounds like a great time and congrats you went to your first book conference. I'm going to the Book Signing tonight at RWA with 500 big authors! I'm scared and nervous and I only know one fellow blogger that will be there! I know two authors, so that will help, but I know they'll be swamped. I plan on sticking to my blogger friend like glue until get over my tongue tied-ness. I'm worried about the lines too, and how do you buy the books, is it at each separate author's table where they sign, or do you get them to sign and them buy them all in one big batch at a register somewhere - or do you buy them first, then get in the author's line. I really wonder how that all works?! LOL! Thanks for posting this, it's made me feel a little less anxious about tonight!

  8. I'm not very social, either - I spent a lot of time at Yaoi-Con a bit away from people, recuperating!

    D'oh about Julie Kagawa!

    How weird about Dreamspinner. I'm hoping that it wasn't something like being asked not to return because they're an m/m publisher...

  9. LOL I'm with Rachel, the Julie Kagawa moment will be memorable to her, which is awesome! (But I can understand why you find it embarrassing. :))

    I couldn't believe Kensington was allll the way at the end! If I hadn't been purposely on the hunt for Succubus Revealed, I wouldn't have known they were even at the convention. But I got my copy! *SQUEEE*

    It was great meeting you and the rest of the ladies you mentioned, btw. :)

  10. Well, this sure sounds like a great time! I promise myself, one year I'll be going to America and to a big convention like the RWA!

  11. Patti I wish you could go to Dragon*Con with me! I know it's not technically a book conference per se but I think it would be hilarious to hear your take on things!

    And your embarrassing moments were pretty great by the way, and made me think of myself at D*C last year. Wandering around the sales floor (a little tipsy on wine I must admit) I get assaulted by a large Rob Thurman sign and bookmarks and book cover pictures....with 1 person in the booth. Who I don't recognize. Who I'm then forced to ASK 'Are you Rob Thurman?'. And who a few minutes later I decide to come back to because I really want a picture.

    Yeah. I'm smooth.

  12. It was great meeting you, Patti! I’m sure the embarrassing moment is something Julie won’t forget :) or you for that matter.

    Thanks for tolerating my drunken ramblings. Hopefully we’ll meet up again either when I’m in NOLA or at another bookish event! & thanks again for letting me know about Succubus Revealed. I’m in love with my ARC :)

  13. Ha! Bathroom tweeting. Love it.

    Great report. Thanks for sharing.

  14. LOVE your embarrassing moment! I'm sure you didn't but it's great that you shared it. I'm so glad you had a great time overall. How wonderful it must have been to be surrounded by all that book stuff!

  15. great ALA report patti! even through the mishaps it looks like you had a blast! YAY! =D

  16. Frankie: I'm super excited about Succubus Revealed too - I had to really look for that one! Hopefully I'll get Crossed soon ;)

    Tam: I hope you're right!

    Grace: I would LOVE to go to BEA!

    Rachel: I'm looking forward to AAD too! Would love to do BEA but hubs nixes that idea.

    Monica: Yes, Julie is super-sweet! I was so excited about meeting Nalini Singh too :)

    Blodeuedd: It was so much fun!

  17. Julie: RWA looks like a blast; I can't wait to read about your experience!

    Chris: I saw other LBGT themes there (although not a whole booth). It was weird.

    Jess: If I hadn't researched beforehand, I wouldn't have known to look for Kensington way out there.

    Aurian: If you ever get the chance - do it!!

    Dana: LOL at your Rob Thurman story - that's totally something I would do :)

    Christie: It was fun meeting you - sorry I pooped out at the end of the night, I just couldn't do it anymore, lol.

  18. Erica: Not one of my finest moments, I'll admit. Oh well :)

    Julie: It was pretty great all around. I can't wait for AAD 2012 - you're coming, right?

    Larissa: I really, really did.

  19. I love your social anxiety ... it makes me the butterfly! :)

  20. Patti, I should have followed your lead and went to sleep LOL I was so tired on Sunday :) Still so much fun. I’m jonesing for another bookish event ASAP LOL

  21. " ohmygodthelines!!! "

    LOL! It sounds like Disney World all over again. Yikes

    You're going to hate me ... but I read Ally Condie's 'Crossed' about 2 months ago. Penguin gave it to me for a top-secret mission and I can safely say that it is AMAZING. Okay. Now I feel slightly better about you book-swag :)