Thursday, July 6, 2017

ALA Annual Recap: Day 1

Originally, it had only been Shannon and I going to this conference, but then our friend Sabrina hopped on board and decided to drive to Chicago. So we all planned to meet at her place. I spent a good five or six hours there before Shannon arrived (she was driving from PA, which was like ten hours!), and it was awesome. There was so much time to talk and just chill, and then when Shannon got there, we did a little shopping before we headed down to Chicago. Shannon had never been to Meijer before, and she thought it was just a grocery store. LOLOL. After picking up the essentials (alcohooool) we were on the road. It was honestly so fun to have a mini road trip.

Once we got to Chicago, we found our hotel and settled in. We were all so tired and didn’t want to get out so we just ordered in pizza (and cheesecake. yum). And also had some alcohol while playing a little of Cards Against Humanity, IN WHICH I TRIED TO BE NORMAL BUT THAT QUICKLY ENDED because the whole point is to be funny/dirty. So, I tried, and I think I ended up understanding this game a lot. AND I ONLY PLAYED ONE CARD WHERE I HATED MYSELF FOR IT. We may or may not have decided that playing some more rounds at 2 a.m. on Sunday was a good idea. *crylaughing emoji* I never get a lot of sleep during these conference days tbh. So much to fun to be had instead!

AND THEN IT WAS THE FIRST DAY OF ALA ANNUAL. Which omg guys I was not expecting BEA 2.0. After the chill atmosphere of midwinter, I wanted to curl into a ball in the corner. We didn’t get our badges until after 9, so it was actually good because we missed the initial crowds pushing into the booths. But SO. MANY. PEOPLE. I think in the morning Penguin’s booth was the worst because people were starting to line up for Marie Lu’s signing. I ended up not doing that and just walked around with Zoey, Sabrina, and Shannon. It was like midwinter in that you mostly asked for books, but because of the crowds, it was both hard to get anywhere and also find a publicist who wasn’t already busy.

But we got to pick up a lot of books that we all wanted. I think Bloomsbury was one of the first booths I went to and I received More Than We Can Tell and Reign the Earth. After that, I could not begin to tell you where we went or what books I got. Haha. We split up, and Zoey and I just kept walking around to booths. At one point, we made our way over to the small press area and we were like OMG WHAT ARE WE DOING HERE I FEEL SO WEIRD. We were looking for Sky Pony Press and Entangled Teen (which I did not realize was now under Macmillan) for YA Broody Hero and 27 Hours. We actually found Sky Pony when Carrie’s signing was happening, so we got to meet her and get the book.

So, then Zoey and I made our way back to Harper, and we waited awhile because we did not want to cross into their actual booth space to get a publicist’s attention. (Someone earlier that day had equated it to being like a kid at a candy store, where you can’t go behind the glass and touch what’s there. Which is ACCURATE. Haha. Though people do it anyway, I still feel weird about it). BUUUUUT while we creepily waited around, I realized the group like in front of us had Angie Thomas in it. And she saw us and was like, oh, did you need to get back here? Then when we said no bc again I FEEL WEIRD ABOUT GOING INTO THE BOOTH SPACE, she thought we’d been waiting to meet her. So, we felt even more creepy because of that, but she was SO nice and adorable, and we got pictures with her! I’m still like omg I cannot believe I just randomly met Angie Thomas while at Harper and got to tell her I loved her book. #thebest

We all finally decided to just sit for awhile and get some food, so we relaxed for over an hour with Amber from Du Livre and planned the time we’d meet up for Maggie Stiefvater’s signing at 4 p.m. I definitely know we headed back down to Disney’s booth afterward, because I wanted to ask about Alexandra Bracken’s newest (they didn’t have copies left that day). Earlier Zoey and I had gone and asked about The Belles and was told they were gone. But Sabrina saw a whole stack of copies and asked a new publicist, who was super nice and gave us all the book. It really did depend on which publicist you asked when it came to books. LOL. But it was great because I’m sure Dhonielle’s signing on Sunday filled up early, and I wanted to meet one of my fave authors instead.

I had wanted to meet Sandhya Menon and get a signed copy of When Dimple Met Rishi, but Simon & Schuster did something strange with the line and made people sign up for it??? IDK but Zoey and I were late to the party, I guess, so we decided to head out to Scholastic’s booth early to see if a line was already forming for Maggie’s signing. AND IT WAS. OVER AN HOUR BEFORE THE ACTUAL SIGNING. So it was a good call that Zoey made, knowing we should be there super early, and we all ended up receiving copies of All the Crooked Saints. Gah, I can’t wait to read it. I told Maggie that too, and she was like: I hope you enjoy it, but if you don’t, please don’t tell me. Such a Maggie thing to say, tbh.

I was really sad about possibly missing Victoria Schwab because I didn’t want to go to her panel but wanted to meet her. Whiiiich happened anyway because I was more interested in chilling out in the food court instead. AND I missed her when she was in Michigan the previous week, such is my luck. But then I found out that she was doing a little meet and greet at a local bookstore in the afternoon, so Zoey and I headed there after we were done for the day. And omg I am so glad we made the trip. Victoria has become one of my favorite authors, ever since falling in love with A Darker Shade of Magic, so it was amazing to get to gush about the series and talk about whatever with her. AND I WILL TREASURE THIS PICTURE FOREVER.

Zoey dropped me back off at the hotel, and Shannon and I headed to Umami Burger for a small get together with some other bloggers we know. I’m a picky eater, so I was surprised that I loved the food, and it was fun to chat about ALA and blogging and to be able to just rant about our standing within the community. (I have Thoughts on the attitude surrounding bloggers and the recent post-conference drama. I might write a post, but idk. Do I have that energy to defend myself going to these trade shows anymore? Not really. I’m just fucking tired of feeling like nothing I do here matters because I’m ~just a blogger~ and not a librarian or bookseller, which is so much kind of bullshit, it’s ridiculous). ANYWAY. I didn’t feel like I wasn’t wanted by the publishers and publicists, and their opinions count more, so unless they 100% kick us out, I will continue to go. I’M SO HERE FOR ANNUAL 2018 IN NEW ORLEEEEANS. So yeah, day 1 was great. :D

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