Sunday, September 18, 2011
When Being a Writer is Social
What people who aren't directly in the book business may not know about are events geared toward booksellers. I've been lucky enough to have participated in two recently: a one-day event of the New England Independent Booksellers Association (NEIBA) and, on the 17th, to the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance's (SIBA) annual conference.
These really are special events. You have the opportunity to meet the people who help your book find its audience in the world. They want to learn about your book. You can see in their eyes that they're figuring out which of their customers for whom it would be right. Whether the resident book club might be interested. Whether you might be a good addition to a special event. They tell you about the books they've read that they're excited about. They tell you what the environment is like in their stores, what they're doing to keep book culture alive.
You also have the opportunity to meet with book bloggers, the wonderful readers who also help you connect with people who might like your book. I had the good fortune to meet up with some book bloggers I've followed on Twitter for a while (in the photo above, left to right): Kathy/BermudaOnion, Swapna of S. Krishna's Books (this doesn't qualify as 'meeting for the first time' because Swapna & I see each all the time in DC), Sandy/You Gotta Read This! and Heather/Raging Bibliomania. We had a wonderful time relaxing between panels, talking books and cooking and husbands, the stuff of our lives.
You also have the chance to meet other authors, and this is always amazing. I've tweeted about the awesome experience I had at the NEIBA event, getting to meet Joseph Monninger (THE WORLD AS WE KNOW IT) and Bill Landay (DEFENDING JACOB) and personal heroes Kelly Link and Gavin Grant of SMALL BEER PRESS, an excellent publisher of speculative fiction, and Judy Rosenberg of the ROSIE'S BAKERY COOKBOOKs, which I adore & use all the time.
These trade industry events have really been a revelation to me, as I'm by name very introverted and find it hard to meet new people, but these are such great social experiences that I'm already going through withdrawal and hope I get sent to another one soon.