Sunday, June 26, 2011

From ALA in New Orleans

The American Library Association convention is running for a week in steamy, colorful New Orleans. I'm here just for the weekend, and I'm enjoying it. After various plane delays I arrived at 2:15 Saturday morning, and the taxi crept through a French quarter still packed with revelers. The sounds of music and laughter rising from the street had no effect on a most welcome sleep thereafter.

Saturday afternoon, out of a field of fourteen finalists, Lost in Lexicon was awarded Honorable Mention for juvenile fiction by ForeWord Review's Book of the Year Awards. Can one say "another feather in its cap" about a book? No, certainly not.

Last night I drankmy first Hurricane, ate the best crab cake I've ever encountered, and took a warm and breezy stroll along the Mississippi.

Today marked the coming out party for the second edition, with its colorful cover and new endorsements. I signed 93 books for eager librarians to give to their schools, libraries, or relatives, or to read themselves. We charged a whopping dollar per book, which all seemed to appreciate. Visitors referred one another to our booth.

Finally, Scarletta Press took nine librarians, all recruited by our distributor PGW, to lunch at Grand Isle restaurant. Most of us dined on some version of seafood salad. Ian (Scarletta's publisher) and I both gave brief remarks and then chatted at length with the librarians, who came from states all over the Union. They asked how and why I wrote the book, how I met Ian, what he's like as a writing teacher, and whether I miss medicine. We asked their advice on everything from audio books to cover design. They were a friendly, astute audience, and we left all very good friends.

One thing the past couple of days have shown me is the value of a distributor (and publisher) who truly support your book and hope for great things from it. The PGW folks have been helpful, organized, enthusiastic and only slightly harried as they manage their traveling circus of small independent presses. They are pleased that advance orders from bookstores are going well, and we are all eagerly awaiting the second edition's official launch day August 9.

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