Monday, September 18, 2006

My Midwest Literary Festival Adventure

Here are Julie Hyzy and Michael Black, who have been kindly showing me the ropes for this sort of event. Not that I didn't still make a dork-like impression.


1. Be sure to show up for all of your assigned panels. Oops. Sorry again to the wonderful Henry Perez, who did such a grand job organizing everything. That empty chair shall haunt me all my days.

2. Don't hug authors who just want to shake your hand. I think in my eagerness I may have sexually assaulted a few people (for example Libby Hellman, who looks so lovely in the photo below).

3. When you arrive at your panel table, don't grab someone else's water bottle and say, "Oh, look! They gave us waters!" Sorry, Julie Hyzy.

4. When they provide you with a lovely nameplate, don't immediately hand it to your husband, who will disappear into the throng with the children and never give it back. I was the very professional author whose name appeared on a post-it note in front of her. (Thanks for the post-it, and for sharing my ignominy, Julie).

5. When you meet someone famous, like David Morrell (pictured with me, below), don't stare at the side of his head until he gets a complex, and don't show such open envy of his long signing line. Someday, grasshopper, you too will meet people who want signed books (just not your books).

6. There are a lot of nice authors out there, such as the ones pictured above and the one pictured here: Steve Mandel.

7. It's possible to meet your heroes: here my son Graham gets to meet the author of the Chet Gecko kids' mysteries, which have brought my boys hours and hours of enjoyment. Bruce Hale was kind enough to pose with both of my children, who are rain-speckled, due to a late-in-the-day cloudburst. (Notice Bruce's cool Gecko pin).

8. Have some copies of your book with you. Sure, I had them, but they stayed in the trunk of my car (long story) and I had to mooch a copy from Michael and Julie (who kindly purchased it) to display during the panel.

9. When the moderator asks you a question, it's a real Miss America moment. At one point J.A. Konrath (the legendary) asked me "If you could go back to talk to your pre-published self, what would you say?" And I suddenly felt like I'd already done the bathing suit and talent competition (juggling flaming swords) and this was my final chance to make an impression. It must have been the microphone.

10. And speaking of microphones, I learned that being on a panel is a bit like being at a Congressional Hearing.


Anonymous said...

What is really fun is when the panel moderator doesn't show up and the panel sits there twiddling their collective thumbs!

Another good tip is never bring Frisbees to toss to the crowd. The personal injury suits can be expensive. Tee-shirts have fewer sharp edges and are much easier to toss to the crowd.

Did Konrath flirt with you? If not, I suggest you write him and protest.

Glad you enjoyed the Festival, sorry I missed it, I was in St. Louis for the Midwest MysteryFest which was also fun.

Bill Cameron said...

So what DID you say to your pre-publishing self? I gotta know, because technically I'm still there and I'd like to know what to say to myself now, before it's too late!

Hey, thanks in advance, man!

Anonymous said...

Don't let her comments on the blog fool you. Julia was great at her first panel. She was articulate, poised, funny, entertaining and warm. It was my good fortune to sit next to her at the panel and at the signing afterward. I hope we get the opportunity to do panels together again.

Julia Buckley said...

Hey, Lonnie, that is sage advice. I'll unpack the Frisbees now. No, Konrath did not flirt with me--and now I'm indignant.

Bill, that is a really good point. I guess the question for you would be, "What would you like your future-published self to come back and tell your pre-published self?" :)

And Julie, thanks to all of your glowing adjectives describing me, I'm going to giving you some sort of chocolate.

Bill Cameron said...

Hey, man. My brain broke.

Julia Buckley said...

Listen, man. If a not-yet-published tree fell in a Portland forest, would it be used for paper?

Jessica Lourey said...

I can't read enough about JA Konrath, Julia. Can you supply more insight into your experiences with him? ;)

You are the Queen Bee Blogger. I have blog envy. Mine's so small compared to yours. You rock the blog world!

Julia Buckley said...

Sadly, Jess, I do not feel the world shaking. And, since we're comparing, your Amazon ranking is WAY better than mine. :)

Jessica Lourey said...

Amazon, shmamazon. And nice job skirting the Konrath question. :) Is it because you know he's a Google-hound, hourly scouring the Internet for any mention of him?

Oh, wait. That's me.

Julia Buckley said...

Tee Hee. Konrath: no comment at this time.

Did I tell you I just bought
May Day?


Jessica Lourey said...

Thank you for buying May Day. I read somewhere that selling one book a day can zoom your amazon ratings, so yay! :)