Sunday, January 22, 2006

Bloggin' from ALA

So, why am I sitting here, back in a dark corner, at one of this year's most important library/publishing conventions? Because I've been walking nonstop for two days; I'm tired; I've had enough, and there ain't nowhere else to sit down but this internet cafe -- unless you'd want to sit on the floor. Don't put it past me, my feet hurt so bad yesterday, I copped a sit-down right on the floor with a bagel, and a cup of coffee -- eyes so menacing, they dared anyone to question me. This is a great convention -- don't get me wrong -- if you are a librarian. But if you're a wannabe half-way famous artist trying to make a hook up with an editor/publisher/art director, then this internet cafe is probably your best bet since I keep getting referred to publisher's online submission guidelines.

Turns out, I should have done my preliminary homework. This conference is strictly a business conference without the fanfare and star appeal of the summer conference (so I'm told). There's not many authors or illustrators here to sign books, and the few that are here have been doing the same thing I've been doing -- wandering the floors, chit-chatting and networking best they can. I did learn a little trick today, though. I was advised to get a little green author's sticker to mount on my name badge. This signifies to everyone that I'm not a librarian, but an author, or in my case, an illustrator. It worked. Yesterday, I was practically begging folks to talk to me. Today, folks are walking up introducing themselves. I was even approached by two publishers, both of whom didn't even notice me yesterday without my magic green sticker.

I did have a few memorable moments including a very productive and cordial sit-down meeting with Louise May, Editor In Chief at Lee & Low books. I'll post more later but, for now, I just need an excuse to be somewhere, anywhere, anyplace but the exhibit floor. I think I'll make this internet cafe my home for the next few hours. I'm sitting here with the most determined expression I can fake, hunched over this keyboard, pretending like I'm doing something really important, while CB is out hob-knobing with the big cats.

I wonder if anyone would be willing to give me a foot massage? *looking at those around me*



Susan Taylor Brown said...

Oh Don, yes, I've heard the same thing, that midwinter is a different thing from the summer one. The only times I've ever gone to ALA were in the summer. The best thing I found to do was to talk to any editors there about what they were most excited about in the new line, just to get a feel for what they liked.

And oh how I remember those aching feet.

rindambyers said...

Don, you are tougher than me! I wimp out at all conferences or shows or whatever early, usually a half day, because those fluroescent lights which they ALWAYS have, just drain the energy from me. I now carry foppy bunny, slippers in my bag, to these places so I can sneak slip on something soft when I'm sitting, for a rest, but I'm sure you can find something more stylish! But that can fold up, slip into a briefcase/portfolio.

When you get to that hotel or home, what you do for tired feet that is out of this WORLD, ask them for a small dishpan, washbasin, bucket, whatever or get a cheapie one; fill it with hottish water and just soak those feet. It is HEAVENLY. At home, do it with Epsom salts. When I broke my foot, it was the ONLY thing that really helped ease the pain so I could sleep at night. OOOHH! ALA!! Can't WAIT for your further reports on this one....