Saturday, October 15, 2011

Greetings from the Great Lakes Independent Booksellers Conference, Where the Side Streets are Eight Lanes Wide.

When I attend conferences, my brain has trouble focusing.  I get so freaked out about what I'm supposed to do when, and yet at the same time I still have all the deadlines, the emails have to be replied to, and the blog pieces have to get written.  Exhibit A!

Jason and I drove to Dearborn, Michigan for the GLIBA conference.  Next year the conference will be held in conjunction with MIBA, formerly MBA, formerly UMBA, in Minneapolis. For 2013, who knows? It's not worked out yet. It's a three day show, but being that we need a day of travel each way, we are attending two of the days.

Much is packed into these two days, including lots and lots and lots of authors.  In between our education sessions, there were three authors at the lunch, there were three more authors at the reading room, and a totally different set of a dozen or so authors at the author feast, which was followed by signings. The next day had about 16 authors at a a reception, plus three more authors at the dinner. And yes, Sunday has even more authors.

Photo #1: Daniel notes David Finch, the author of The Journal of Best Practices: A Memoir of Marriage, Asperger Syndrome, and One Man's Quest to Be a Better Husband, whose charm and sense of humor was a hit at the reading room.  The author will be appearing at Boswell this coming January.  I am so excited to read this!*

Some gigs seemed to be more presitigious than others, and there were certainly a number of folks whose hearts made me melt.  Christopher Moore finally has that novel set in the art world (Sacre Bleu)  that he talked about at his event in 2010.  Luis Alberto Urrea was there for his next book, Queen of America, a November release. Regular readers of the blog know we just read his last book, Into the Beautiful North, at the in-store lit group.

Several folks who did events at Boswell, who now seemed like old friends, attended the show.  Lisa McMann, Larry Watson, and Alex Bledsoe had all done events at/with Boswell. But yikes, I'm so sad that we can't stay for Sunday, when authors like Maile Meloy, Kadir Nelson, and Chris Raskcha, and Brian Selznick (!!!!) are at the brunch panel.

But then there are the buzz panels, one for adults and another for kids, as well as the rep around lunch, where four reps talked for 15 minutes each about their new titles.  Personally I'd prefer six authors talking for 10 minutes each, and I could have even gone an hour and a half, but I think the Winter Institute one is two hours.

Picture #2: Daniel poses Brian and Rhoda (another bookseller!) with Jan Lancaster, one of the many great authors at the show (for her new novel If You Were Here, coming in paperback next March and her new collection, Jeneration X, coming in May--note that I originally said this incorrectly and made it sound like I was Brian, our Penguin rep.  He's just another middle-aged guy with very nice hair.  Easy to get us confused). I was lucky enough to have dinner with Lancaster and another author, David Bell, who penned the just-released Cemetery Girl, along with our rep Brian, plus another rep (Bruce) and bookseller (David, from Michigan).

I have long lists of titles I should read from these, and from authors talking, and even more from the traditional convention floor, which took place on Saturday morning and afternoon. The show was quite crowded in the morning, but was, as Jason predicted, quite a bit sparser in the afternoon.  Jason reminded me that these regional shows were once two days of floor show.  Those were the days, however, of more stores, more booths, and less ways to communicate information.

And here's the place where I should mention that I could list lots and lots of books, but I am simply overwhelmed with scribbles, and not ready to digest the piles of books and galleys that I picked up.  I know I'll read some, but right now, it's hard to even know where to begin.

*We are going to have a very funny winter. Milwaukee-area's own Lauren Fox has a new novel out called Friends Like Us in February. Also note that pointing is considered bad etiquette in many cultures.  I am try to indicate direction with the full hand, which is more polite. My apologies.

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