BookCon and Vending as an Author

BookCon was an incredible experience.

When I say that, I don’t mean just the convention. It’s a huge event and of all the festivals and conventions I’ve attended, I felt the most at-home there as a reader than I ever have before. There were reading nooks, book giveaways, inflatable bean bags, and of course, plenty of Starbucks to be found. But what made BookCon incredible for me wasn’t just the event, it was the people.

You see, we had a group of determined indie authors get together and decide that yes, we were going to pitch in to get a booth at BookCon. And yes, we were also going to find a way to get to New York City along with a bunch of books. You know, without going broke. So we did just that. It was really a tough decision, and we all had to budget and plan and coordinate. We had to figure out what we could bring, who could bring it, where we would stay. We had flight delays, panic attacks (have you seen the traffic in New York??), parking woes, and somehow found a way for seven women to share a single bathroom.

I think when most people see an author at a convention, they’re super excited, but they don’t always understand the work that goes on behind the scenes to get there. Writing a book is a truly difficult process. Stolen was a work of love that started back in 2013, but some authors work on a book for even longer.

At these events, I have to get in front of strangers and talk to them about the books available at the booth. Most seem interested, and that lifts me every time. Others give you a polite shake of the head, say “no thanks”, and move on. Some people might internalize that kind of reaction, but you have to learn to smile and nod, understanding that every reader has different tastes.

It’s still tough though. That’s your book baby that’s been incubating for eight years. It’s a piece of yourself in physical form, a world you’ve glued together, characters crafted out of thin air, and scenes that would possibly blow people’s minds… if they gave it a chance.

We live in strange times, where writing a book alone usually isn’t enough. You have to work to convince people that it’s good, then you have to continue writing. Wash and repeat. I personally love doing this. I love talking with fans about my work and seeing them light up when I describe the premise of Stolen. That’s the response that keeps me going. That excitement is what pushes me to keep grappling with manuscripts, whether it’s in the writing, editing, or proofing stage. That glimmer of curiosity is what motivates me when I can’t sleep and watch dawn come through the curtains of a New Jersey Airbnb on the last day of BookCon.

BookCon was an incredible experience, and I hope you’ll watch the video I’ve put together that shows what it was like. At the end, I list out all the amazing booth members and booth helpers we had, but I wanted to list them again because they were amazing. Go check out their work!

Here it is, our final day of BookCon!

BookCon Day 1 – Getting There

BookCon was just an absolutely amazing experience. We learned so much, we met so many amazing people, and we had such a great time. Of course, you know me, I had to film and photo a TON of it.

Our first struggle though was just getting to New York City! Check out the first leg of our adventure at BookCon 2019 – just trying to fly there!

Alabama Book Festival Part 1

A 4-hour road trip.

A beautiful riverfront.

A bunch of books in the trunk.

Join me in Part 1 of our trip to the Alabama Book Festival this year, including a lovely trip on the Harriott II Riverboat! This was such a fantastic trip and I met so many amazing people. Montgomery is a beautiful city and I already miss it!

Festival Kick-Offs

I think one of the awesome things about being a local author and a co-owner of a small business is that you get the chance to be part of the kick-off for some awesome events. Last year we got invited to the 4th of July Family Fun Fest and that was one of the best events we attended last year. I not only got interviewed live on the local radio but I also sold copies to folks who would go on to be some of my biggest fans.

It’s like you get an preview into a place that you know is going to be filled to the brim in a couple of years. That’s how I felt at the First Annual Sewell Mill Storytelling Festival a few weeks back. They only had ten vendors for the event, and we were lucky enough to be part of it!

It was a small event, but since the center is attached to the library, you get to see all the excited kids who walked through. For the first year of it running, I was thrilled to see the turnout that we had!

Hope you enjoy my video (with a lovely cameo with Q)!

A Long Love of Hardback Books

There’s something incredible about seeing your name on a hardback book.

I didn’t think there would be. I thought it would be just as amazing as having my name on a paperback or on an ebook, but it really is completely different. I think it taps into some childish excitement to hold something so strong and sturdy in your hands and to know that the book is filled with your words, your characters, and your story. It’s surprisingly difficult for me to describe it as an author.

It makes me think of being a kid and dragging my fingertips over the hardback covers of my parents’ home library. They are book collectors just like I am, and for as far back as I can remember we had a study in the house which used to be only for bookshelves, books of all shapes and sizes, and encyclopedias (until we got our first computer). Some of the books in there were from when my parents were children, series they just couldn’t bear to part with. When I wasn’t sure what to read next, I liked to browse them and see what I could find. As a kid, I had no worries about how old a story was or how new, how well known the author was or how unknown, all I wanted was a good story. I wanted a book to catch my eye and my interests. I liked the feel of hardback books the most, I liked how the covers had different textures and even smells.

I think that’s why when I first held a hardback copy of my debut novel, Stolen, in my hands, I got a little speechless. I think that’s why I got a little choked up. I never expected it, but moments like that tend to creep up on you, don’t they?

I hope you’ll enjoy watching my unboxing of my hardback copies of Stolen below! They’re now available to purchase at Barnes and Noble.