Posts Tagged Bienville
Written by Emily Bell, Page & Palette, Fairhope, AL; SIBA Boardmember
It is hard to imagine a place more dangerous for me than a book industry convention. As an unrepentant bookaholic, temptation was everywhere. Books from the top national and regional publishers, book related items, fellow booksellers and authors, authors, and more authors!
This was the 35th annual trade show for the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance. They brought together its members with education sessions, the latest technology trends and head lining authors. Other booksellers from the Mobile Bay area made the trip to Daytona Beach – Russ Adams of Bienville Books as well as Page & Palette’s President Karin Wilson with her two publicists Anderson McKean and myself.
A personal highlight for me was being chosen to introduce author Watt Key, a fellow Birmingham-Southern College alum, to a packed room for a “Late Night Reading”. With seven other authors presenting, Watt told an entertaining account of his travel mishaps in order to arrive on time for the event. It required him to switch his flight to an Orlando arrival plus hiring a rental car (one that will never be a contender at the famed Daytona track). We were blessed that his resourcefulness landed him at the venue with time to spare. I always leap at the chance to brag on the author of “Alabama Moon” and his recent young adult novel “Dirt Road Home”.
Having met so many authors through their appearances for Page & Palette, I was often seated at their tables during meals and was able to witness first hand their special camaraderie. Shellie Tomlinson, River Jordan and I were a rowdy bunch during Patti Callahan Henry’s talk for her latest novel “The Perfect Love Song”. Lisa Patton met her literary hero, Alabama’s own Fannie Flagg who had read and admired Lisa’s novel “Whistin’ Dixie in a Nor’Easter”. After hearing that news, the Tennessee resident’s feet still have not touched the ground!
Speaking of Fannie Flagg, she made quite a favorable impression of the booksellers as the final speaker for the weekend’s hottest ticket. She was preceded by Emma Donoghue, author of “ROOM”, Walter Mosley, author of “The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey” and a newcomer to the publishing world, Benjamin Hale with “The Evolution of Bruno Littlemore”. Fannie was charming funny and supportive of her fellow writers and also kindly acknowledged her favorite booksellers, my boss Karin Wilson as well as Jake Reiss of the Alabama Booksmith in Birmingham. Fannie’s official launch for her latest novel “I Still Dream About You” will take place on its publication date, November 9 during events on either side of Mobile Bay.
By the weekend’s conclusion, many attendees called it the best book industry event in recent memory. For me, it is a bit difficult to call it “work” when I enjoyed myself as much as I did. Stay tuned for some of the books that we were introduced to at SIBA this year to be on the best seller lists and named as an “Okra” pick!