This year I decided to try something different with the launch of my new book and attended the American Library Association's Annual Convention held in Chicago, June 22nd to 27th. My goal this year was to try and get the word out about RED SKY to those living outside our region. When Sisters in Crime offered member authors the opportunity to sign and giveaway books from their booth, my publisher generously donated 50 HC of RED SKY. And, adding to the fun was the chance to spend time in the Windy City with my youngest daughter, Addie. She teaches 8th Grade Social Studies in Grand Rapids, MI, so she drove down and met me for the weekend.
We both arrived at the hotel about 11 am. Amazingly our room was ready and had a nice view of the lake. We ate some lunch, then sauntered over toward the aquarium and caught the water taxi to Navy Pier. After walking the beach and wading in the water, we caught a bus back and opted for room service and a movie.
This was ALA day. I had a great time signing and giving away my books, and Addie had an even better time hauling in volumes of books for her classroom--books generously donated by the publishers. Since she teaches in a Title 1 school, she has at least 12 students in her classroom that speak no English. 4 of them speak Swahili. And while she didn't find any books written for kids in that language, she did find several books written for ESL learners that spoke about what it was like assimilating into American culture. She must have scored 50 books, and we were ready for a rest by the time we hauled them back to the Congress Hotel.
That night we dined at Remington's, a fabulous steak house on Michigan Ave. Then we walked some more, went to Navy Pier for the fireworks, rode the new Ferris Wheel and made our way back along with the mad crush of people who'd ended the night with the same idea--most of them in town for the next day's Pride Parade.
Knowing we were going to have to travel the Pride Parade route to get back to Addie's car, we headed out early. Good thing. We made the last reasonably packed red train headed north. While we boarded a different train to continue our journey, the next red train that pulled into the station had people hanging on the sides.
Did it help with sales to go to ALA?
There were thousands of librarians there, and only 50 copies of my book. But there were lots of librarians that picked up a postcard about the book instead of taking a copy, because they didn't want to lug books back home. Did they order it for their libraries? I'd like to think yes, but the truth is, I'll never know.
And just this morning I got back from a weekend in NYC for ThrillerFest. I had a great time and saw some fellow RMFW writers, but I didn't fare as well there as Chicago. I had a great day volunteering on Thursday, going to panels on Friday, but then I started feeling a little puny. I skipped the party that night, went to the drugstore, grabbed some DayQuil, went back to the hotel and ordered some tea. Saturday morning I had to drag myself to an early morning breakfast meeting with my agent and editor, went to my panel (moderated by none other than David Morrell), then arranged for someone else to present the award I was supposed to present at banquet and went back to bed. I ended up sleeping a day and a half. I missed seeing my daughter, Gin, who lives in NYC, missed seeing "Come From Away" on Broadway, and had to cancel my trip to Maine to see a friend with cancer to fly home this morning. Chemo and viruses just don't mix!
What did my agent and editor have to say?
Stay tuned. I'll make that the subject of next month's blog. Meanwhile, I'm headed straight back to bed.