Monday, September 27, 2010

People really do love books.

I went to the National Book Festival on Saturday. I was impressed. I knew it would be big, but I didn't know it would be this big.

Due to delays in the Metro system, we got there later than I had planned. I missed the first panel of authors I wanted to see. I stuck around the children's tent, though, long enough to listen to Margaret Peterson Haddix and Linda Sue Park speak about the 39 Clues Series. They talked about the joys and challenges of writing a series with a lot of other authors.
One young person asked them their advice for future authors. Linda Sue gave one of the best and most original answers I've heard. She suggested aspiring authors attach themselves to a losing sports team. The constant cycle of hope at the beginning of a season and disappointment at the end is good practice for the life of an author.

After the presentation I headed over to the book signing area, where they were both signing books. They were to be in Tent 8, over there on the left. See all the people standing in lines?
That's not the whole line. If we turn to the right, you can see some buses back there. That's about where the lines ended. I decided I didn't need my books signed that badly. We went to the Pavilion of the States tent instead, stopping to peek in a few other tents along the way. I said hello to Fran Cannon Slayton, who was representing both Virginia and West Virginia. The crowds were so dense I waited in line to say hi, and then moved out of the way for some other folks who wanted to talk to Fran. She looked like she was having a great time.

By the time we finished at the States tent, we were done with the crowds. So we retreated to a nice, quiet museum with flush toilets and air conditioning. (The high in DC on Saturday reached 97!)

I'm glad I went to the Book Festival, but I much prefer the intimate setting of writing conferences.


Anonymous said...

great to learn about the event through you!~ thanks for sharing.

Tess said...

I've never been to a full on book festival, but I would like to give it a try someday. The weather looks lovely in these pics and it gives my heart joy to know so many people would stand in such long lines for a signature.

Michelle said...

Yes, the enthusiasm was palpable! We have our annual Virginia Festival of the Book, which I love. It's spread out over several days and venues, so it's much less overwhelming to both attendees and authors.