I had a fantabulous time walking the exhibit halls at the Texas Library Association conference, today. I also had two very fun and successful book signings with Lee & Low Books. We sold out of all hardcover copies of SUMMER SUN RISIN', and all but two copies of BLACK ALL AROUND. My line of fans -- well, there wasn't really a line -- varied from more people than I could address at one time, to no one at all (mostly the latter).
Since moving to Texas 8 years ago, I've met so many people in this business and made so many friends that, at events like this, I feel at home. Fifteen minutes didn't pass that someone didn't "Hey Don!" me. Too many people to list in a blog, but the first group of people I ran into were my friends from Dallas -- Diane Roberts, Sue Ward, Jan Peck and S.P. Lily .
Not too many publishers were selling books, though I did get a few good buys: Grace Lin's Year of the Dog, Diane Robert's Puppet Pandemonium, a signed copy of Loren Long's and Phil Bildner's Barnstormers, and Tomie DePaola's 26 Fairmount Avenue (a recommended read by an editor at Dial). I also picked up a handful of F&Gs -- or ARCs, or whatever you call them. I call them color copies.
I hadn't planned to talk (sell myself) to any editors, but because I was wearing an "authors badge," they kept talking to me. I left with several invitations to submit my work. I gladly will. One thing I found particularly curious was the number of wordless picture books, and the number of editors who shared examples of them with me. Maybe because I'm an artist, but I'm really not interested in doing a wordless picture book. I've been trying too hard to develop my written word. I didn't know wordless picture books were so popular. I thought they were rare novelties.
The highlight of the day had to be when S.P. Lily says to me: "Congrats, I heard your book is going to get published." When I asked her if she'd read the clues I dropped on my blog, she said, "No, I mentioned your name to your publisher, telling him that I was a friend of yours, and he said that they were soon, likely, to publish a book you'd written."
I was shocked. And she quickly backed off not wanting to disappoint me, since I hadn't received any definite news from the publishers myself.