Wednesday, January 30, 2013

"What The...?!" Wednesday #2: What is ALA, and What is the ALA Conference?

Funny you should ask, as I happen to have spent this weekend at the ALA Conference in Seattle.

There will be pictures and everything. Hold on to your hats!

(Okay but seriously feel free to jump in with your own questions anytime. This one's kind of a gimmee.) ------>

Anyway, ALA stands for the American Library Association, and the ALA Conference is a week-long event in which librarians, publishers, authors, book reviewers, book bloggers, school teachers, publicists, marketing directors, avid readers, and even library suppliers (those enormous "return" bins outside libraries have to come from somewhere) meet up at a convention to discuss the state of the industry from several angles.

Me and Mom outside our hotel in Seattle
The conference I attended was the Midwinter Meeting and Exhibition. The ALA Annual will occur June 27 - July 2 in Chicago.

Some publishers use their booth to give away advance copies of their upcoming books, plus posters, calendars, and other swag. Others host book signings and buzz panels to showcase established authors or introduce debut authors to the world.

Image Blatantly Stolen from AbramsKids Instagram

My Very First Book Signing! Photo Credit: Mom

Bonus WTW Question: Why on earth would publishers want to give away free copies of their yet-to-be released books to hundreds, nay, thousands of librarians?

Bonus WTW Answer: In the hopes that those librarians will fall in love and purchase final copies for their libraries.

Bonus, Bonus Answer: Forging personal connections with librarians isn't just good business, it's fun.

My publisher, Abrams/Amulet, very generously arranged for me (BRUISED), Cat Winters (IN THE SHADOW OF BLACKBIRDS), Patrick Jennings (BAT AND RAT), Tom Angleberger (FAKE MUSTACHE, Art2 D2), Nikki McClure (HOW TO BE A CAT), and Margi Preus (SHADOW ON THE MOUTAIN) to participate in the convention.

I've never done a book signing or spoken publicly to strangers about my book, so needless to say, I was excited but nervous. Luckily, I had a secret weapon: my mom, a former librarian, traveled with me. Yay, Mom, you're the best!

We had a lovely time, and I'm grateful to the Abrams team -- Maggie Lehrman, Jason Wells, Cecily Kaiser, and Laura Milhalick -- for including me in the festivities.

Jason, Cecily, and Maggie Introduce the Spring '13 Catalog
I spoke at a book buzz panel, a librarian luncheon, and a local bookseller dinner. I also signed copies of BRUISED at the awesome Abrams booth, and flew home with a bag full of books from throughout the exhibit hall.

Want more scoop from ALA Midwinter? Check out Cat Winters' blog for her take on the weekend.

Cat Winters (IN THE SHADOW OF BLACKBIRDS) and me outside the Abrams Buzz Panel


  1. Looks awesome! Thanks again for the photo of the INSOMNIA ARCs! :) It made my day!

  2. I had so much fun attending this conference with you, Sarah! I hope we can get together again sometime.