Armchair BEA Day 3: Networking...In Real Life?!


Happy Midweek, everyone! Hope your work week (or week in general) is going fantabulous. For the people at Javits in New York, BEA is already almost halfway over...same for all of us participating in Armchair BEA.  Which is crazy, because it feels like it just started a minute ago! But so far, there's been a lot of blog hopping and interfacing with some very neat people.

Which brings me to today's ABEA topic: networking in real life! For a book blogger, the majority of the exposure we'll have with others is via electronic means; after all, that's the method by which the book blogging actually takes place. But on certain occasions, such as at events like BEA or RT Con or Authors After Dark and the like, bloggers are given the chance to cavort and get to know one another in the flesh... a wonderful treat that (for me, at least) is a high point about being a part of the book blogging community.

Of course, there are more ways to extend book blog networking than by attending conferences; most cities have book stores that hold author signings every so often. And what's to stop any of us from participating in book clubs or holding local meet and greets?

Author Seanan McGuire (photo from SeananMcGuire.com)
I myself have not (yet!) gotten involved extensively in the bookish scene in real life. But for the right bookstore, or the right event, I'm always up for a visit and participation. Such a bookstore is Borderlands Books in San Francisco, California (in my humble opinion, the best Sci-Fi/Fantasy Horror bookstore ever. Nay, the best bookstore ever ^_^)...and one such event was a book signing for UF author Seanan McGuire (who also writes as Mira Grant, of Feed series fame). That particular experience was extremely memorable, and exemplified the awesomeness of the genre fiction bookish community.

The event was held in honor of the impending release of McQuire's (at the time) latest book release, Discount Armageddon. The event was ostensibly for a book talk and signing… but what actually ended up occurring was so much more. Friends, family, and admirers of the author (numbering about 50, I'd say) all gathered in the cafe half of Borderlands for an evening of book discussions, music, food, and lots of

By that point, I'd not yet read the book being celebrated, so I must say that I missed out on some of the context behind the general discussions and jokes. There were jocular crowd cries of "Hail!" after most every new announcement or proclamation (which totally became clear a few chapters into reading the book). ^_^ Since Discount Armageddon is all about cryptozoology, there was much talk about mythical creatures and the mythologies from which they come. Fascinating stuff.

Cupcake by Seanan!
Green Velvet w/ cream cheese frosting.
Seanan, a self-professed cupcake aficionado, forever endeared herself to my heart (as if she hadn't already by that point) by bringing a veritable feast of mini cupcakes for everyone at the signing to eat (check out the rainbow / pot o' gold cupcake she made…I hadn't the heart to eat it, for it was beautiful! But her baked goods were simply delish). During the food portion, attendees got to acquaint themselves with each other and chat. But as if that all weren't enough, Seanan brought a boatload of swag from her own personal coffers to offer up in raffle drawings that took place every half hour or so.

Most special was perhaps the least book related: it turns out that McGuire is an amazingly talented singer and songwriter. She performed some filk jams for us, including some from her own albums. All told, people left the event (several hours later) with new bookish buddies and a great respect for the amazing woman that is Seanan McGuire. It's now my favorite book signing (narrowly beating out an event I'd attended at Politics and Prose in Washington, DC,  featuring the fabulous Tim Gunn). It reminds me that there is so. much. fun. to be had when bookish-minded people get together for fun.

So that's my tale of one particularly memorable real life bookish experience. How about you; are you a big fan of book signings and author appearances? If so, how populated do you prefer the event be, on a scale from intimate gathering to DragonCon panel? ^_^

(Don't forget to check out ABEA Central; there's another Twitter party and more book talks going on throughout the day!)

9 comments:

  1. I am such an introvert lol. I would love to go to events and meet authors and join a book club or just meet people in general who enjoy reading the same things I do but I'm the quite type and that doesn't get me very far lol. I hope that when you start getting into real life blogger connections/interactions that it is a great experience. It seems like you have a great start, thank you for sharing your story :)

    Leila | The Fiction Pixie

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  2. What a great signing event!


    Shelleyrae @ Book'd Out

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  3. I love her! She is the best on my wish list of authors to meet :) I think book signings are a great way to meet people in the bookish community. You would be amazed at how many fellow bloggers you will meet as well as readers who might have book meetups. The authors are great too :)

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  4. That sounds like SO much fun! I've been to a few signings, and although there was no food [I'm now plotting to bring some food next time!], it's been great meeting fellow book bloggers. I'm glad that you had so much fun! =)

    -Aneeqah @ My Not So Real Life

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  5. book parties can be so much fun! I had one for my release and we all had a fantastic time! It's also a great way to make new friends in the book world.
    Chelle

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  6. @Leila: I totally feel you. I'm a dyed in the wool introvert, myself...insofar as my batteries are charged with solitude, drained when I'm faced with interacting with many people (something I have learned to work with due to work obligations and such). But there's something about hanging out with bookish folks that makes everything seem A-OK. ^_^

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  7. @Shelleyrae: Hey girl! ^__^ Yes, it was awesome. Totally felt the love. I actually didn't take the chance to take pictures, I was so into the festivities. (Well, that and I was in the first row...would've been weird busting out a camera from only a few feet away. lol)

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  8. @Felicia: You'll be in for a treat when you meet her! She is truly a Rennaisance woman...it seems she does it all... she writes amazing works, she sings, she crafts, she illustrates.... and she has a full time job. o.O Yet she still manages to be fabulous and down to earth. I recall how, one time when I stopped by the bookstore on another occasion, she struck up a conversation about mashup books (I had no idea that it was "the" Seanan. She was just that chill.)

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  9. @Aneeqah: Food is always a surefire way to take any event up a few notches, isn't it? ^__^ Books and food: perfect.

    @Michelle: Book parties are indeed just a brilliant idea. Since reading can sometimes be such a solitary activity, it's nice to encompass more social activities and foster interpersonal relationships.

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