By: Joelle Charbonneau
I had heard of SIBA. I mean, of course I had heard of it. Lots of my author friends had attended the show in the past. So I knew about SIBA, but I had never been.
Until this year.
I was honored to receive an invitation to be a part of the SIBA 2012 adventure, but while I was excited I will also admit to being nervous since I didn’t really know anyone who was going. Worry was unnecessary because everyone was wonderful. Enthusiasm for books made everyone feel connected. The booksellers I talked to were engaged and energetic. The authors were kind and incredibly talented. I never noticed how long I was standing or talking until after I went back to my room and put on the hotel provided fuzzy robe. (Can you tell I thought the robe thing was really cool?)
SIBA was also a wonderful time to connect with members of my publishing team that I had yet to meet. If you haven’t met Andy Snyder and Emily Holden from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt make sure you introduce yourself. They are rockstars. As were all the sales reps I met. They are unsung heroes who champion books before they ever hit shelves.
The one thing I didn’t know, but learned as I walked around the show floor coveting items on every table was that the words trade show were taken literally. That sometimes I could get a fabulous book or a cool swag item if I bartered for it. Thank goodness I had stuff to trade because the books I brought home to my four-year-old made put me in the same category as Mickey Mouse and Curious George.
But the one thing I really didn’t know is that I didn’t have to pitch my books to booksellers or work to make connections. I just had to be myself and enjoy the people whose passion for books was overwhelming. The rest took care of itself.