Monday, April 16, 2012

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

by Alan

MaliceIt’s that time of year again. Spring, yes, but also the beginning of book convention/ conference/festival/loll-apalooza season. (For me, anyway.)

I love book events. Each one seems to have its own, unique vibe. Some are huge, others intimate. Some are craft-oriented, others are geared more to fans. Still others are free-for-alls where just about anything goes.

This year, my book event season began a little early. I had the opportunity to attend the Sleuthfest conference in Orlando at the beginning of March. This one is aimed more toward mystery writers and attendance is limited so it’s a nice, cozy group. I was on a couple panels, met a lot of writers, and re-connected with some writer pals. I also learned a great deal about both craft and business. Plus, early March in Florida beats early March in D.C.

Next Sunday, I’ll be at the Kensington Book Festival, staffing the MWA booth. This is a free-for-all festival. Writers of every ilk will be there: self-pubbed, small-pubbed, trad-pubbed, e-pubbed. All genres. Fiction and non-fiction. Writers and fans. Purveyors of food, makers of music. The whole shebang. It’s a lot of fun and you never know what, or whom, you’ll see there. Last year, there was a guy wearing a bright yellow suit, a Miss Maryland (I think it was Maryland, I didn’t get a close look at her sash), and somebody in a cartoon character outfit high-fiving little kids.

In two weeks, there’s the Malice Domestic convention. This one is fan-based, and I’m looking forward to seeing a lot of my fellow MInkers there. Attendance is capped at about 500, and there are five tracks of panels over the two-and-a-half days. (I’ll be on a panel Saturday morning at 9:40 (with our Maggie Sefton) and I’m moderating refereeing a panel on Saturday afternoon at 1:30 (with our Beth Groundwater).)

Next month, I’ll be appearing at the Gaithersburg Book Festival. This one is modeled after the National Book Festival, held on the National Mall, and it’s all about the readers. There are six or seven large pavilions, and author presentations run all day long. It’s a great atmosphere and I’m proud to say I’ve participated all three years of its existence.

If you’re a reader or a writer, I encourage you to attend a book event. Writers are a friendly bunch (mostly), and they love to interact with other writers and readers (usually). So check out your local listings today to find an event near you!

Did I mention I love book events?

What’s the craziest thing you’ve seen at a book event?


Robin Allen said...

I've participated in only one book event--the American Library Association's Midwinter Meeting--and the craziest thing I saw was the number of books publishers were giving away!

Good luck with this year's fest season, Alan.

Unknown said...

Oh, Alan, you make me want to pack my bags and go somewhere! You're right, most bookish conferences are inspiring, informative, and great fun. The craziest thing I've ever seen was a panel leader who knew barely more than nothing about the subject but couldn't shut up long enough to let panelists who did get a word in. Why assemble people in the know....oh well! That really happens very rarely - hope to meet you at a conference soon!

Lois Winston said...

Well, the craziest thing I ever encountered was at a design seminar many years ago. A group of us had gotten together in one of the suites after dinner. We were all sitting around talking when one woman, who was facing the windows, pointed and said, "Omigod!" We all turned to look out the window. In the high-rise across from the hotel stood a man in front of a floor-to-ceiling window. The story gets triple-X rated at this point, so you'll have to use your imaginations.

Beth Groundwater said...

All I can say is that I'm looking for some craziness to be coming from YOU, Alan, at our Malice Domestic panel!

Alan Orloff said...

Robin - I attended an ALA conference once. That was crazy! And I think I met the Cat in the Hat. (Or maybe that was at BEA--also crazy!)

Sheila - Panel stories are always fun to hear. As long as it wasn't your panel that was the train wreck!

Lois - You can give me the details at Malice...

Beth - There's a differece between "crazy" and "fun." At least I hope there is!

Linda Hull said...

I found myself hugging agent Janet Reid in the ladies room after an author literally had a mental break in front of us while we were all chatting at the bar. At some point, after she finished telling us she read physics texts just to keep her super-intelligent brain fed, Janet and I both ran to the bathroom together to regroup.

Kathleen Ernst said...

See you at Malice!