I am in Atlanta at ICRS (International Christian Retail Show). Thursday through Saturday Chi Libris had its retreat. (Chi Libris is the organization of Christian novelists.) Always so fun and refreshing to hang out with the author pals. We have two days of meetings, discussing the business, marketing, career paths, that sort of thing. Typically we don't focus on the craft of writing, but this year we had a full day with Donald Maass, agent and writing guru. His teaching is very instructive, no matter how many novels you may have written.
Saturday evening was the Christy banquet. Lovely night. Wonderful speaker. Very encouraging to us novelists. To see the list of Christy Award winners, visit the Christy web site.
Today is the first day of the convention floor opening. I sign copies of Coral Moon at the Zondervan booth at 2 p.m. Wouldn't you know it--that's the very hour that the one person whose line I wanted to stand in for an autographed book is also signing. Those of you who watch American Idol will remember Mandisa from the fifth season. She teamed with Angie Hunt to write a book about her experience at AI. That's the book Mandisa is signing. I want one for my daughter. I'm gonna have to get over to that booth early and see if I can sweet-talk someone into getting Mandisa to sign one, using my daughter's name. I can trot over later and pick it up. Hope this works.
Actually, I'm not trotting. I'm still limping a little--worse as the day wears on and the foot swells. I want to walk as little as possible, which isn't easy at a huge convention.
Tonight is the Personality Party. You know, the one I'm not invited to. Sigh.
Oh, well. After years of teasing about The Party, I may as well give you the real scoop. It's a signing party. For two hours. Publishers pay for a "booth"--a table, really, for an author to sit at and sign. It's in a big room, and booksellers only have those two hours to get to all the authors they want books from. Zondervan, my publisher, chooses not to participate in the Personality Party. Thing is, if I signed there, I wouldn't sign at the Z booth on the convention floor during the day. (1) Why pay for a table at The Party when Z can offer me a full hour of taking over their booth for a signing--for free? (They paid for the booth but don't have to pay any extra to have me sign there.) (2) Signing on the convention floor-especially on Monday, the busy day--arguably gives an author higher visibility and time with booksellers than competing with a whole room full of people during the same two-hour period. I have never wanted for people in my lines. Usually once I start signing I keep at it until the books are gone. So in truth, I believe the floor signing is a better way to go.
Man, the truth is so boring. It's much more fun to kid about not having a personality.
Did I mention new author Camy Tang is joining me for the signing? Her first book, an Asian chick lit titled Sushi for One, is just out. I figure we can do our own personality thing to attract crowds: Suspense author strangles Asian Chick.
Think that'll work?
Tonight is the ACFW dinner. I'll try to post about that for tomorrow.
For now, signing off from Atlanta.