Tuesday, September 28, 2010

A SIBA Recap: Literary Hedonism



As some of you know, I attended the SIBA (Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance) conference this past weekend. This was my very first literary event, so bear with me if I seem like a loopy, giddy teenager. Before I forget all of the details (as my brain is wont to do these days) I want to share with you some of the highlights.

Because of family obligations (football game!), I was not able to attend the entire convention, which ran from Friday to Sunday. Instead, I drove up to Daytona on late Saturday afternoon and stayed through until Sunday afternoon. The exhibits were just closing down when I arrived, so I chased down my buddies Heather (Raging Bibliomania) and Kathy (Bermudaonion) for some drinks and dinner. Heather lives in Orlando, and I had met her before (you can't find a nicer, sweeter person), but I'd never met Kathy before. This was a huge highlight for me, because she and I have been online friends for a long time, and I think very highly of her. We didn't miss a beat...it was like we had known each other in real life for years. By the way, she is just as special in reality as you would imagine her to be. We met up with Natalie (Coffee and a Book Chick) and her husband for drinks before they headed back to their home in Jacksonville, then headed out for a chatty dinner.

On our way to dinner, we ran into Rebecca (Book Lady's Blog), Susan Gregg Gilmore (author of "The Improper Life of Bezillia Grove"), Jim Minick (author of "The Blueberry Years") and Lisa Patton (author of "Whistlin' Dixie in a Nor'easter"). They were on the way out for putt-putt and hot dogs, and were definitely a group ready for fun. A flurry of hugs and business cards and pictures were exchanged.

















Left to right: Me (with football game hair), Kathy, Susan, Lisa, Heather and Jim. Rebecca is taking the picture.

The next morning, we met early and headed off to the exhibits. I've never been to BEA, but based on what I've heard, that event is HUGE and pretty crowded. This was not really the case with SIBA. There were about a hundred exhibitors, which is plenty but not overwhelming, and included big guys like Hachette, HarperCollins, Random House and Penguin. There were also small publishers and vendors selling bookmarks, reading glasses, and jewelry. There were several authors present for book signings as well. I was easily able to make my way through most of the tables and talk to anyone I wished. There were very few lines and you could literally chat up a kindred soul for 20 minutes if you wanted to.

In three hours, I accumulated over 60 books (see my top picture). I had to make multiple trips to my car, and I think I threw my back out of joint. It was being like a kid in a candy store!!! I was trying hard not to be a pig, but everything sounded appealing. I'd love to tell you absolutely everything I got, but that would get tedious I'm afraid. But a few highlights were: Hachette's one and only copy of the newest Cornelia Funke novel "Reckless", Algonquin's one and only copy of "The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating" by Elisabeth Tova Bailey, and a copy of "The Knife of Never Letting Go" that I found hiding behind other books. (I felt like I'd found a buried treasure.) But that was before lunch...more excitement was in store there.

The big hoorah of the conference was "The Moveable Feast", a lunch event that you had to purchase a ticket to attend (Kathy my hero got me one before they sold out). One of twenty authors sat at each table, and while we were all eating, they would have about 15 minutes to talk about their newest book and answer questions, then they would move on to the next table. Each table was able to visit with six authors. After that, we all moved to a different room for a book signing of any of the featured authors' newest releases. Just about more than a little blogger can handle, right?

Heather and I were at the same table and had a great group of authors. We heard from A. Manette Ansay (Vinegar Hill, Good Things I Wish), Lou Dischler (My Only Sunshine), Mark Mustian (The Gendarme), J.S. Chancellor (Guardians of Legend Trilogy), Jim Minick (The Blueberry Years) and T. Marie Benchley (Once Wicked Always Dead). Folks, this was fascinating stuff! These wonderful authors poured out their hearts, thought processes, frustrations, muses and inspirations, plans for the future, and personal lives for us, despite the fact that they had to be exhausted and sick of talking. I fell in love a little bit with each one of them - it was very intimate. Can I just say that I found Mark Mustian one of the most humble, endearing men I have ever met? I wanted to pack him up in my trunk and take him home. I would have loved to have heard from Michael Koryta (author of So Cold the River, who now has a new book coming out called The Cypress House) and Karen White (author of a million books, including On Folly Beach). But never fear, I got signed books!

At the end of the day, I got a huge number of signed books. In my top picture, my "signed" stack is on the left. Once I have gently read these and reviewed them, they will be donated for auction for our annual Adult Literacy League silent auction next year. I fear they will regret ever asking me to help them!!!

So that was my 24 hours worth of SIBA. A whirlwind for me, that left me high as a kite, dazed and exhausted. And determined, NO MATTER WHAT, to attend next year in Charleston. Heather and I are road-trippin' baby. I want to give a shout out, from the bottom of my heart, the organizer and general diva of this conference, Wanda Jewell, who makes it all happen. If you are even remotely interested in attending, please contact me and I will convince you this is where you need to be! You can go with Heather, Kathy and I, and participate in the literary hedonism with us!



26 comments:

irisonbooks said...

Sounds like you had an amazing time :) And it seems like you got a lot of books signed. I admire you for donating them all once reviewed!

farmlanebooks said...

60 books?! Wow! It sounds like a great event. I'm slightly jealous ;-)

rhapsodyinbooks said...

Wow, sounds fantastic! And sixty books! Is this the same person who said she couldn't take on any new reading commitments?!!!! :--)

Melody said...

Ooh, what fun! I've never attended such an event before (not that we have them here anyway). Can't wait to hear what you'll think of those books that you got!

bermudaonion said...

I can't believe you've got your post up already! I haven't even finished getting my pictures ready - I still have to send you some. I know lots of people who are jealous that I got to meet you!!

caite said...

Ok, I need 60 books like a hole in the head but...it sounds a lot more do-able than BEA.
Charleston next year you say....I have always wanted to go to Charleston.

JoAnn said...

Sounds fantastic!! Makes me want to go next year. I do love Charleston, you know...

Beth F said...

I am seriously considering SIBA next year.... And Kathy is right -- I'm totally jealous that she got to meet you in person.

Gavin said...

Wow! You lucky, lucky girl. To be able to connect with all those book bloggers and take part in The Movable Feast? And those books! I an filled with envy.

ds said...

Wow. Intimate conversations with authors, meeting great bloggy friends, and ALL THOSE BOOKS. Well done, Sandy!
I'd say you got the premium from your whirlwind experience.

Zibilee said...

Wow, your post is so informative and articulate, the one I am working on is just a bunch of gushing and squealing! It was a really fun time and even though it is all over, I am still thinking about it and talking about it, much to the dismay of my husband and children! And we are so on for that road trip next year. I really want to try to entice as many bloggers as I can to come along with us!

The Bumbles said...

That rotating author luncheon is a fantastic idea. Great for both the authors and the bookies. I'm glad you were able to participate. Did they have panels/forums/speakers during the first half that you missed? Just curious what else went on. I've not heard of this event before. Thanks for sharing - your days are jam packed these days, aren't they?!

Alyce said...

I was going to say that I haven't been to a book event like that, but then realized that I got to go to ALA with my husband in my pre-blogging days. I'm going to go to the Tucson Book Festival in March and am very excited about that.

Your stacks of books look like so much fun!

Julie P. said...

I'm so glad you had such a good time, but I am really jealous!

Meg said...

While we were partying down with all sorts of bookish love in D.C., y'all were definitely having a grand time at SIBA! Really enjoyed reading your recap and wow, that is a serious lot of books. How exciting, and so fun that you were able to meet up with other bloggers, too! Kathy is one of the few I hear from often that I've never actually met in person... yet! :)

Iliana said...

How fun! I'm drooling over here over all those books. Yes, I'm a bit jealous :)

heidenkind said...

That is a lot of books! How on earth did you carry them all?

Rebecca @ The Book Lady's Blog said...

Man! You really made a marathon of it. What a great haul! It was so wonderful to finally meet in person, and I'm glad you had as much fun as I did. Next time, you'll have to join us for putt-putt and hot dogs!

Stephanie said...

Holy smokes!! That is a lot of books!

Nicole (Linus's Blanket) said...

That is some crazy stack of books. I am glad that you had such a good time. I wish I could have been down there with you and the girls.

Jenners said...

Wow!! Just wow!! It sounds a lot more personal and manageable than BEA. Charleston, you say? I love Charleston!

Molly said...

WOWZER!!! What a grand and glorious time! The book stack looks like Christmas came early - and the Moveable Feast sounds like my idea of paradise.

So glad you had such a great, whirlwind weekend.

Linda said...

Love the Literary Hedonism! SIBA was great and I'm in for next year! It was so great to meet you and Heather and Kathy -- what a trio of smart bloggin' ladies! Linda, from Great Little Books and www.travelthewriteway.com

Melissa M said...

That is an awesome pile of books! It sounds like a great event (espcially the lunch with all the authors). I'd love to go next year, but don't know how much traveling will work.

Alice Teh said...

I am jealous Kathy got to meet you and vice versa. What fun! I'm giddy just by reading your post. Even giddier when I saw that pile of books on your beautiful table. Lovely sofas and pillows!

J.S. Chancellor said...

Sandy, it was a pleasure meeting you! And thank you for your kind words about the feast. Yes, we were pooped, out of breath and my throat hurt for two days after, lol. But, it was an honor to meet all of you as well. And you're right about Mark. He sat next to me at lunch before we went into the big room and he's a doll.

I hope you get a chance to read Son of Ereubus! I can't wait to hear what you thought. :)

Best,
J.S.

P.S. Lovely blog, by the way.