Friday: Got to the convention center, picked up my exhibit pass, and waited around with the ladies of YAConfidential and some of our other friends for the exhibit hall to open. I thought I had an idea of what to expect, but, uh...I really didn't. There were so many people entering the exhibit hall at once, and MAN was it hot in there! So the crowds of people and the temperature and the overall frenzy of people running around really left me feeling overwhelmed. I lost my friends almost immediately, and since I don't do so well in crowds I was really sort of floundering for a little while. I clearly don't have what it takes to hang at these sorts of events. Luckily I am ginormous and have this glowing hair, so it didn't take long for my friends to spot me and for us to be reunited.
Saturday: I got to the exhibit floor a little late because I had my bff's baby shower to attend. That wasn't a big deal for me, since, although getting ARCs and all of that is nice, the main reason I was at ALA was to see all of my writing / blogging / Twitter friends in person. So the highlight of Saturday for me was meeting up with the Bookanistas, the YALSA meetup, dinner with my YAConfidential girls and friends, and then the YAHighway mixer.
I started the evening by meeting up with some of the Bookanistas in the lobby of the Hyatt...it was awesome to meet the ladies I hadn't met before and see the ones I had met again. From there we moved on to the YALSA meetup which was PACKED. I had wanted to do a little mingling, but I physically could not move from my spot at the bar. I saw lots of awesome friends walk by and I was able to wave at a few from my perch, but I didn't get to roam around the way I had been hoping to. It was really awesome that so many people showed up. It was nice to have some breathing room at dinner and relax with some of my favorite ladies. (I'm so glad Sara took some pictures because I was a complete fail.)
The YAHighway mixer was also packed, but there was a little more room to move around. Again, I was a total fail at taking pictures, but check out YAHighway for some great pics of the huge crowd of awesome there.
Sara, Cristin, Cambria, me
Oh man...can you tell how exhausted I was by this point?! I look like I'm about to fall asleep on Lauren's shoulder.
Monday: I went back one last time, mainly to say hi to Tamara Ireland Stone and snag a signed ARC of Time Between Us.
Me and Tamara! YAY!
(OMG, I still look so tired. I am too old for this, I swear.)
I was exhausted at the end of it, but I really did have a great time at my first ALA. The best part of it was seeing all of my great friends from all across Twitter and the blogoshpere.
And really, what I get most out of these events is inspiration and motivation. There is nothing like walking the exhibit floor and seeing people I know and love signing their own books that makes me want to run home and work my butt off on my own writing. Every time I saw a book with a familiar name on it I thought, "If I just keep working hard, this WILL be me in a couple of years. It WILL." Getting that kind of motivation is so worth the cost of the exhibit pass, the daily cost of parking at the Hilton, and the complete exhaustion at the end of the weekend.