Tuesday, July 2, 2013

That Time I Went to ALA Annual

Last week, I was lucky enough to attend two days of ALA, and I had a marvelous time. You can find a day-by-day breakdown on Lit Up Review, but the entire experience was too fabulous to leave off this site.

After driving in with my dad on Thursday evening, spending the morning at the Field Museum, and meeting Willa of Willa's Ramblings (you will be seeing a lot of her in this post) for lunch, Willa and I headed to a session all about YA book blogging. We listened to panels about reviewing, marketing our sites, authors and book blogs, and publishers and book bloggers. I gained new ideas about how to blog, and I loved hearing about the way the four author panelists view book blogs and what publishers look for in a site when deciding whether or not to collaborate. If you want a sneak peek into what we learned, head over to this post on Lit Up Review, in which the hardworking Willa transcribed her notes.

Almost as interesting was the way everyone loved Willa and me for being the only actual teens there. When Willa asked if we, as teens, would be more likely to receive books for review, every head in the room turned to us and many exclaimed, "You're actual teenagers?" We ended the meeting in smaller groups through which attendees could wander, and we were greeted at each with, "It's the real live teens!" Every group. Those exact words. We became quite popular, and one of the organizers even filmed us at the end, asking us to share our names and our favorite part of the event.

It was sad to leave, but we had to get in line for the exhibits, and we headed over to wait for an hour and a half.
Me, Erika, and Willa outside the exhibits
Going to ALA reinforced my idea that bloggers are the nicest people ever. I spent most of my time on the floor with Willa and Erika of Rescue Reads, and I also met Katie of Katie's Book Blog.

Although I left too early to meet Lauren Myracle, Ally Carter, or Elizabeth Wein, I was lucky enough to talk to a few other authors, if only in a passing book signing. Emily M. Danforth signed my copy of The Miseducation of Cameron Post, one of my favorite books ever, saying she approves of my name, and I also got signed ARCs of Elizabeth Scott's Heartbeat and Annabel Pincher's Ketchup Clouds, both of which I cannot wait to read.

All the publishing employees I met were so nice, so responsive, and so generous. And I pretty much want their jobs. I briefly talked with one sweet lady from Sourcebooks about how much she loves her career, and she agreed to answer some emailed questions from me following the conference.
I was worried about felling pressured into taking books I wouldn't read, but I ended up being able to say "no" and getting a decent amount of books that continue to induce books shimmies. I grabbed a bunch that I have been wanting to read for ages, and I also stumbled upon a few books I had not heard of, but am now looking forward to picking up.

If you are interested in all the books I received, you can watch book haul vlogs from Willa and me here and here.
At one point during the conference, I recognized more than ever before that the people around me were my people, a beautiful group of individuals who love books as much as I do.

Willa, Erika, and I were walking the exhibit hall, talking to people, snagging ARCs, and fangirling, when I saw someone walk by with an advanced copy of Rose Under Fire. Naturally, my immediate reaction was to squeal, "Oh my gosh, ARCs of Rose Under Fire!"

And as we dashed into the Disney-Hyperion booth to ask about them, I was thinking four things:
1. I am so freaking excited for this novel because I love books and I know I will love this one! 
2. I also love my in-person friends, but, um, if I were to say, "Oh my gosh, ARCs of Rose Under Fire!" to them, they would look at me like I was speaking Romanian.  
3. But I'm with by bookish friends and so many other bookish people, so when I say, "Oh my gosh, ARCs of Rose Under Fire!" to them, they react with commensurate amounts of passion. 
4. These are the people with whom I want to work. I will get a job promoting books for a publishing house in seven or so years, and I will get to live in this atmosphere of love for stories every single day.
We didn't even get copes of Elizabeth Wein's upcoming novel. They had run out before we got there. But I didn't care because one, I can easily read it when it comes out as I would have done had I not gone to ALA, and two, all I noticed in that moment was the ecstatic environment of enthusiasm present not only in me for once, but in everyone around me. 

Nothing feels better than that.


  1. Book blogging conferences seem like so much fun. I'm glad that you had a great time at ALA! All Our Yesterdays has had some pretty good reviews so far, so I hope you enjoy it... and all of your other books! :)

    Krystianna @ Downright Dystopian

    1. Thank you, Krystianna! They definitely are tons of fun and I hope you get the chance to go to one someday. I had not heared of All Our Yesterdays before ALA, but it sounds amazing and we will have to chat once we have both read it. :)

  2. I am so incredibly happy for you and I LOVED reading about it, I felt as if I was living excitedly through you. The haul looks fantastic, the experience sounds amazing as do the people and I love your thought process for the Disney Hyperion people (who are my favorite publishing house). YAY!

    1. Your happiness for me really did make my experience that much better. I cannot wait to meet you someday at a book conference we are both attending (it WILL happen!) and we can totally stalk Disney-Hyperion.

  3. ALA sounds amazing! There's nothing better than being able to squeal over books with bookish friends. :) It's one of the best parts of the book blogging community.

    1. Yes, it absolutely is. That is the whole reason I started blogging; I needed people who would understand me when I gushed about books, and this community has proved to be perfect. ALA's in-person intensity feels even better. :)


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