Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Upcoming Events

Mid-April, the Month When Everything Happens. You won't see me at BEA, Bologna, or London Bookfair. Even if I had a book to promote, I'd be unlikely to have the sort of book that inspired publishers to cover expenses to go to such places, and besides, there's plenty going on right here in San Antonio. Everything's blooming or about to. Weather fronts are playing holy hell with my internal gyroscope. Fiesta starts this Friday, preceded by Fredstock, the live music festival hosted by the only real radio station in town (KSYM); but I'll barely be able to notice that because it's San Antonio's turn to host TLA!

Yes, for $20 plus round-trip bus fare of $2.20 per day (drive and park downtown? As if!) I can wander the floor, see what's coming out, snaffle up as many freebies as I can carry (and thanks to superior backpack design, I can carry quite a bit), discreetly schmooze the editors and marketing people and librarians, meet up with other authors, and generally overstimulate myself from Wednesday morning to Saturday noon, if I'm up to it all. I'm getting a bit of an early start, because an online friend of my husband's is coming in a day early and we'll be going downtown this afternoon to play native guide. On Thursday I'll be on the floor from 2:00 to 5:30, manning the SCBWI booth, #2649, so if you're in town, too, that's where to find me.

Despite our historical anti-intellectual track racord, Texas by virtue of its size is ridiculously influential in the American school market. A lot of publishers that would send only sales reps to most regional library conventions will spring to send editors and authors to TLA; and they're usually happy to come. After all, who wouldn't want to be in San Antonio in April! It was at TLA one year in the early '90s that I experienced what is probably my lifelong high point in terms of celebrity: a librarian I ran into at a booth looked at my name tag, did a double take, and informed me: "You wrote Switching Well!" Yes, I did, ma'am, and thank you for noticing.

Hey, I'm an author. I'll bask in any flickers of limelight I can.

SCBWI booth attendants will not be there to promote their own work, but to give out speaker booklets to interested parties and educate people about the resources SCBWI offers - to librarians and to writers. We are, however, holding a raffle of signed books by local authors and illustrators. Most of the booth attendants, naturally, are locals, but in addition to San Antonio authors we'll be representing, and represented by, people from Austin, the Brazos Valley, Houston, and North Texas.

If you've never done a TLA, my advice is to spend most of the day Friday working the dealer's floor systematically, entering raffles, collecting free catalogs, and making notes of the booths with the most interesting products. These will include not only books, but audiovisual resources, teaching aids, jewelry, toys, and librarian-themed clothing. Concessions are expensive and unhealthy, so carry a backpack with trailmix or something in it! Wear comfortable shoes. Keep purchases to a minimum. Then, come back Saturday morning and hit all your favorite publishing booths, because they'd rather give away their display copies than carry them back to New York!

See you there.

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