Event Recap: ALAMW 2013

Note: I’m writing this very late at night and I know I’m going to be forgetting things and probably won’t use proper grammar and spelling.  But I realized I had nothing ready to post Wednesday and wanted to get this written up anyway.  So please ignore any errors.

As many of you know I was able to attend ALA midwinter in Seattle since I only live a few hours south of there.  I was VERY excited to get to meet so many awesome people and to just have the experience.  I was able to leave my kids with their grandparents so an entire weekend away was exciting (though a bit scary since my youngest hadn’t slept away from home yet). 

I drove up Friday night and it hardly even rained (which is kind of amazing in January around here) but when it rained it poured.  Still, I enjoyed the 2 1/2 hours of dryness before it hit.  I went straight to my aunts house to get some badly needed sleep.  I was all wound up though, so I didn’t sleep so well. 

Saturday morning I arrived at 9 AM to meet with a friend who is a publicist for Walden Pond Press (they are an imprint of Harper Collins and publish middle grade books).  We had a great time talking books so it was around 10:30 when I got to the exhibition floor.  Right away I met up with Bailey at IB Book Blogging.  I was SUPER excited to meet her because we’ve known each other a few years in the blogging community.  She’s also an old hat at the ALA experience so she showed me the ropes a bit.  Not long after we met up with Sara at Novel Novice who is an old friend of mine who lives nearby (so I see her fairly often).  I actually spent most of the weekend with Sara since we are old friends and know each other pretty well and we also were more relaxed in that we didn’t care about being close by for every single time they set books out.  So we chatted with publicists a lot and spent more time talking with people, I guess.  I also met Katie from Katie’s Book Blog, who I have also known for awhile though I’m not real close with her I was excited enough to give her a hug!  I’m not sure if she expected it, but got one anyway! I actually spent almost half a day kind of hanging around her without even knowing who she was.  AWKWARD.  It was all good though.  There were SO many people and with so much going on it’s hard to even try to think of figuring out if you know people.  There were lots of familiar faces of Seattle area bloggers who I said hello to and I spent a bit of time chatting with a group of bloggers and some girls from Canada in the afternoon when my feet wouldn’t move any more.  Sara left early and most people were still doing the circuit of checking out the booths over and over again.  I was happy to sit and chat as people came over to rest for periods of time.  I did meet quite a few authors who were signing, but I can’t even remember everyone now! 

Okay, let’s see if I can come up with a list of authors I met… (this is for both days)
Nick James (Starship Academy #2)
Olivia Samms (Sketchy)
Karen Kincy (Foxfire)
Karina Cooper (Tarnished)
Catriona McPherson (As She Left It)
Janet Gurtler (If I Tell) ~ I actually had coffee with her and she signed it then.
Jessica Park (Flat Out Love)
Amity Gaige (Schroder)
Maria Semple (Where’d You, Bernadette)
William Dietrich (The Barbed Crown)
Cat Winters (In the Shadow of Blackbirds) ~ I actually had this at home so I didn’t get another but I stopped and said hi.

I know there are at least 4 more that I’m not remembering.  I also got Level 2 signed because Lenore Appelhans was there enjoying the convention and I was lucky enough to meet her and chat with her a bit. 

Anyway, Saturday I had been dropped off so when my aunt picked me up I had to somehow carry 7 bags of books to the car.  It was very interesting since she was a block away.  I had been storing them in the coat room.  I managed but the next day I drove and I could just stash them in my trunk.  That was MUCH better.

After seeing the books I got and hearing about the convention my aunt decided to attend on Sunday.  She works for a non profit that does literacy for adults (among other things) so she was looking for books at a third grade level that would appeal to adults.  She planned to stay a couple hours and ended up spending most of the day there. She went her own way but I met up with Sara right away.

Sunday I met Jean BookNerd, which was extremely exciting to me!  I haven’t known her long but we really clicked in the blogosphere and have been working together on lots of different projects (some news coming soon!).  So yes, big huge hugs took place!  She had her friend Patricia with and she was nice as well.  We had coffee (it was lunch time) with Janet Gurtler (it was Sara, Jean, Patricia and I) and that was a lot of fun.  There was another gal there too and I didn’t know her and then forgot to ask.  I’m bad about stuff like that.  For all I know she’s someone I talk to online all the time!  If you are her, please tell me!  

We had a great time sharing ghost stories and stuff and never once lacked conversation.  I’ll tell you right now, Janet Gurtler is the nicest person in the world!  Loved her!  (She also writes amazing books!)

After that Sara and I had a quiet (ish) moment and after a book drop ate some real lunch.  Then once rejuvenated we hit the floor again. It was a very short time later that we were once again about ready to drop when I realized that I thought Stasia Kehoe (Audition) was there so Sara texted her and we met up for a quick hug before she rushed off to do some authorly thing.  I know that I met others but I’m blanking.  Oh, I met Lauren from 365 Days of Reading for a brief moment Saturday before she left. 

After a bit of chatting with Jean before the end of the day I took off and left Sara to enjoy the last day on her own.  I was sad to leave but even if I hadn’t had to get home I’m not sure I could have handled another day on my feet.

I’m very thankful I had Sara as we seemed to be in the same mind-frame about things. We both enjoy talking with people and yes, we like the books a lot, but we’re not quite as gung-ho about stalking the booths.  And it was fine, because I got plenty of books as it was!  And I loved having the chance to really talk with the publicists about the books they were looking forward to.  And we usually ended up with those books and we were always excited about them when we left the booth.  And we learned about a lot of books that haven’t got as much press. I’m excited to share my thoughts about these books with you all in the coming months!

I’m very bad and I didn’t take any pictures until right at the very end when we were literally leaving the convention center. 

Jean, Candace and Sara

If you ever attend a convention like this my advice is to wear comfy shoes.  Bring a backpack or wheeled bag (if you are allowed) along with tote bags (which are also usually generously provided by many).  I wore tennis shoes but still ended up with very sore feet.  I didn’t bring my back pack the first day but did the second and it was much easier to carry on my back.  It also had wheels but I didn’t really wheel it much.  I can’t speak to anything other than ALA, but if possible stay close or have a car close by to stash your stuff.  I didn’t want to carry a coat or a purse and the books got heavy fast.  It was a great experience and I think I was actually pretty well prepared!

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  1. I am so excited you had such a great time! I hope one day I will be able to go to one, not just for the books but because of all the wonderful authors and bloggers that are there!

  2. I went to my first ALA conference a couple of years ago and I remember how awesome it was. Meet some of my favorite authors and got to meet new ones and awesome panels. So thrilled that you had a fabulous time!

  3. AWESOME CANDACE!!!! This sounds like such a fun event, I’m hoping I can make it to one at some point. It’s just so much fun to be surrounded by books and to finally meet bloggers you’ve been talking to online for months (and sometimes years). I always go around at BEA staring at peoples’ chests (yes it’s awkward) trying to make out the name on their badges so I can pounce on them if I know them. I hope I get a chance to meet you one day!!!

  4. Wow, sounds like a great event! That’s so cool that you got to meet so many authors. I can only imagine how nerve-wracking it was to leave your child that’s never slept away from home before. The first time I did that I was totally anxious! But kids always seem to survive, don’t they? :) Glad you had a great time.

  5. I wish I could have gone to this but it just wasn’t in the cards. Another time. looks like you had a fabulous time and I am glad you got to meet some other bloggers. I loved Jessica Parks’ Flat Out Love!

  6. How fun! I’m so glad you got to meet new people, see sone friends, and talk about books. I’m going to RT this year, and I’m so excited, but also nervous.

    Thanks for sharing your experience!

  7. Lenore, it was so great too meet you as well! It was a lovely surprise!

    Jenny, I was really bad about looking at badges. I think I was just looking in so many directions at once I didn’t even think of it! I realized later that there were some there that I do know online and didn’t even realize it was them.
    But I found Jean by looking at her badge, but I also knew to look for her and was determined to find her right away.

    Camille, yeah, he actually ended up doing great and didn’t have any problems at all. And I was so busy when I was gone that I didn’t even think/worry about him too much. Luckily it all went good so I know next time should be fine as well.

    Melissa, we WILL meet! I figure when my kids are a bit older it will be easier to take off for the weekend. So hopefully I’ll be able to fly to conventions in a few years.

    Heidi, Jessica was SO nice! I’m glad you loved the book cause I was just thinking that I need to read it really soon!

    Katrina, well there are some internationally but maybe not anywhere near you. I’m sorry. I guess we US people are really lucky!

    Savy, I had a whole bag full of bags, lol. But the first day I didn’t have anything to transfer them to since I was storing them in the coatroom so I ended up needing to grab totes from the booths that had them. I have LOTS of tote bags now! lol.

    Andrea, I don’t know RT is like, but I have heard it’s AWESOME! I get so nervous too but once I was there I realized I had no reason to be. I had through I would end up alone at times and not know what to do with myself, but I had more than enough people to hang around with and was never in need of more company. You’ll find a crowd (or person) and all will be good!

  8. I should have went. I should have made a vacation out of it and went. Ugh. Jeyn Roberts was there. I can’t even …

    Glad you had fun, though. Even if it was a bit painful. :)

  9. Aw, I’m even more jealous. It sounds beyond amazing. The books, the people- meeting Jean face to face. She’s one of my favorite people, period. Palling around with Sara all weekend. Sweet. I may have to hitch with you next year, lady. I’m pretty sure the other gal with Jean was my little Bella Colella from Paranormal Book Club. She’s a total sweetheart.
    I’m glad you had such a great weekend. Now go soak those feet. See ya Monday. Yay! 😉

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