The Southern Independent Booksellers Association conference was this weekend in Charleston, SC — four days of food, free books, and figuring out how on to help independent bookstores duel with Amazon, electronic books, and big box sellers. Un-Chain America is the basic battle cry — and they mean it.
Some highlights from #SIBA11:
~First 180 Days Celebration, a sort of meet-and-greet for the booksellers and authors whose books came out in the first half of 2011. As someone who has had her share of quiet book signings, it was nice to have a line of rabid book lovers waiting for a copy of my book.
~The Exhibition Hall: Booksellers who dress in costume! Charms from The Hunger Games. And my favorite find: “A Little Can of Whoop Ass,” which I plan to purchase and put into use right away. (You have been warned.)
~I met fellow Candlewick author Allan Wolf, whose book The Watch That Ends the Night, follows the story (in verse) of an undertaker who came to attend to the dead on the Titanic. Look for it next month.
~I got a present: my very own necklace made from the cover image of Tía Isa Wants a Car. It’s made by All Things Small Pendants, and I plan to wear it proudly. ¡Muchisimas gracias!
~I slipped into the panel discussion called Not Your Mama’s Teen Reads, a fantastic YA panel of Simon & Schuster authors, moderated by Richmond’s own Kelly Justice, owner of Fountain Bookstore. The panelists included Ellen Hopkins, who writes two novels a year. (AHH!) She was joined by Brandon Mull (Beyonders: Seeds of Rebellion), Michelle Hodkin (The Unbecoming of Mara), and Margaret Peterson Haddix (Always War). Each and every one was funny, insightful, and charming.
~You know, I love to eat, so the children’s book luncheon was double whammy of joy. The Quote To Keep came from author Avi (new book, City of Orphans, Atheneum), on the difference between how children read and how adults read. “A child reads a book and says, ‘How did that writers know so much about me?’ The adult reads a book and says, ‘There are other people out there like me.’”
~I also did an interview for heardtv.com with Robin Reshard. It airs in Octoboer, so I’ll share the link then.
~And last, but not least, I got to eavesdrop on this quirky, driven, book-lovin’ group of businesspeople who help make your city and mine a more interesting place to live. They love books, adore authors, and are fighting for their lives.
So, in the spirit of loving Indies, I’m inviting you to support one this weekend. Please join me at Fountain bookstore this Saturday, 2 pm for a celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month. You don’t have to be Latino…just Latino-curious. We’ll have some snacks, share some book picks featuring Latino main characters (picture books to adult). We’ll even have ticket giveaways to Latin Ballet of Virginia and Havana Restaurant and Lounge. See you then!