ALA Convention in Chicago

I have to thank my crit partner, Juliette, for letting me know that author Cindy Pon would be signing her book, Silver Phoenix, at the American Library Association Convention in Chicago this past weekend. Until she told me this I had no idea this convention was going on here in my fair city. And even if I had, I probably wouldn't have gone. Library Association? I mean, I love libraries and books but I had no idea it would be an incredible two days of networking.

After studying the ALA website, which was very hard to navigate, I just decided to go down to the convention center to see how much it would cost to get in. (I couldn't even find that out on their website.) I made my way there and it was mobbed with people. I had to register ($25) which allowed me in for the whole event, but only in certain places, which were publishers and authors, the place I wanted to be anyway.

So I got my badge and wandered around. I met Cindy Pon at the Harper Collins booth and had her sign my book. She was very nice and seems like a cool person. Sitting next to her was David Macinnis Gill (Soul Enchilada) who also signed my book.

So I wandered around some more and got ...more books. One is the sequel to a book I reviewed on my blog last year: Elfquest, by Daniel Kirk whom I met, he seemed nice, but a little taken aback when I said I loved his book. Maybe he thought only kids would read it? I don't know.

Met Ellen Jensen Abbott who wrote Watersmeet, and is a member at Enchanted Inkpot, along with Cindy. She was very nice and we talked for a long time. I bought her book at half price, because she was so nice and the book looks interesting. (I also felt I should give some money to authors since a lot of books were free!)

Got a lot more books and then something struck me. Dude, you're at a convention. Publishers and editors are here...helllooo?

I'm not going to name any names but I proceeded to make some great contacts from really wonderful editors.

It was an incredible networking event and I had no idea the ALA was that type of convention. It wasn't swarming with writers looking for agents, so the editors/publishers were easy to talk to.

Neil Gaiman was there but a line of at least 300 people prevented me from joining the queue. Saw Holly Black chatting with people. I think they were friends of hers. She is very striking and I was intimidated. Didn't want to be a fan wanker boy.


So day two I set out with a list of a few more editors/publishers to talk to. Success again. Yay! One highlight was getting an uncorrected proof of a book a lot of teen girls would probably kill for: Maggie Stiefvater's Shiver. Also picked up Patricia C. Wrede's new one-- The Thirteenth Child.

I have to say, I left the convention center with a backpack of books and a bunch of business cards. Suffice it to say I had a very good weekend!


Anonymous said...

SO cool, and so happy you went & it all turned out so well for you. Wish I'd been there, too! ;)

K. M. Walton said...

I hope one of those business cards ends up being the 'foot in the door' for you - how cool would that be? An unexpected day turning out so fruitful - they are the best days!

cindy said...

so happy to meet you, ron! i'm glad you came!! see you in august!

Kelly said...

I was so excited to hear ALA was in Chicago (which is somewhat near me) then disheartened when we were on a family trip that same weekend. I heard it was amazing! Glad you got to meet so many authors and contacts!