After learning I would be going to the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance trade show in Savannah about two months ago, it’s hard for me to believe it’s already over with! Like Christmas day, where we work our way up to the moment and before we’ve had a chance to let Christmas dinner digest, it seems like we’re taking the decorations down.
I was supposed to fly, but after realizing the entire trip would take 8 hours with the waiting at the airport, + the layover, etc., I decided to drive. Friday morning I headed out at 7:00 a.m. By the map calculations, it would take about 4 hours and 20 minutes to get there. Admittedly, I was a little lead footed due to nerves. Couple times I looked down and I was going about 85 m.p.h. Yikes. Before I knew it, I was only an hour away.
My first event was at 2:00. I arrived at around 11:15, found parking nearby, got checked into the hotel, and finally, registered. How cool does that badge look, right? That little blinking turtle thing was for a donation of $20.00 to support bookstore owners/employees, i.e. BINC which stands for Book Industry Charitable Foundation. You can click on the link there, and read about what they do. I also voted on the Bibb Pick – which I now realize I had my badge turned the wrong way when I took this pic, so it doesn’t show the sticker that says, “Bibb, I voted!” For the Bibb pick, (named after Matt Bibb) you choose two independent bookstores to support, and then decide two ways to support them. The count is tallied, and whichever bookstores win, they are then supported in whichever manner chosen. The two things I elected to do was a $ donation, + tweeting out about the bookstore.
My first event was the all around signing at 2:00, pictured below. Things were still being set up. Me and little ole Dixie were right in the middle of the room. You couldn’t miss us. 🙂
I was also on the Southern Reads Panel which I don’t have any pictures of, because I was too nervous, the room was as tight as it could get, and we were in chairs at the front, practically in the laps of the “audience,” i.e. booksellers. We scattered to the wind before I even thought to say “Hey, how about a few selfies?”
A few of my fellow panelists gave me copies of their books, (and DESPERATION ROAD’s Michael Farris Smith offered me a few sips of his Johnny Walker and water – which I needed. I think I could have drank the whole thing) Ashley Mace Havird was kind enough to hand me a copy of LIGHTNINGSTRUCK, as did our panel moderator, Martin Pousson, whose BLACK SHEEP BOY promises to be a compelling read, with plenty of Louisiana bayou steaminess. He signed it “To Donna, with thunder.” I love that.
The other two books…one came from an author from Raleigh author, Adam Jones’ who wrote FATE BALL. He came forward to talk to me because of our Raleigh connection. And the other book “IT’S NOT LIKE I KNEW HER,” by Pat Spears, I picked up during the Publisher’s exhibits, when I found out it was edited by one of my favorite authors – Dorothy Allison.
After the two events, I spent time milling about with everyone else, having random conversations with booksellers and authors alike.
Savannah is a beautiful city. None of the pictures I tried to take did it justice by any stretch. There are huge oaks loaded with Spanish moss, and horse drawn buggies, and that salty scent of the Savannah river nearby.
Saturday I made sure to drop in on the publisher’s exhibits and it seemed everyone under the sun was there.
I made a bee line for American Bookseller’s Association – the folks who nominated DIXIE DUPREE for the Next Indie Pick, so I could thank them. You can just make out their blue and white sign (ABA) towards the back of this pic below:
In the end, I met a bunch of other authors, and was invited to come visit with booksellers, which was the whole point of the trip – so I’ll say it was a big success!