Tuesday, June 26, 2012

ALA Annual in Anaheim

This past weekend was the ALA annual conference. I always read about these big, huge book events and I'm always jealous that I can't go, but this year the big ALA happened to be right down the freeway from me in Anaheim! YAY!


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. 

Representing YAConfidential
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.

Sunday: I was exhausted. I didn't get off my couch or out of my PJs until 4pm. All that socializing was a little much for this introvert.

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 had a good time walking the exhibit floor by myself, and I was happy to find it a lot less frantic and crazy-making than the first day. I could tell that things were about to get nuts with people trying to snag all the display copies of books, so I hightailed it out of there before I got caught in that crazy rush.

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.

29 comments:

  1. "what I get most out of these events is inspiration and motivation"--> <3!
    So well put! It's amazing to see those events dreaming/knowing/thinking that one day we might be the one there.
    (Those ARCs are a cherry on top :D)
    By the way, Jessica, you don't look TIRED at all on those pics, you're rocking them!!!! I would have been next to you, I would have looked like a sad mouse :D
    Glad you had fun!

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    1. Sad mouse?! Oh please!

      And, yeah, the books were just a bonus. It's all about the kick in the pants I get from seeing my friends being so successful. I know some people battle jealousy over things like that, but it just motivates me like crazy!

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  2. Wow, sounds like you had a ton of fun! I'm totally envious. :) One day that'll be me at one of these events. Can't wait! Great photos, and thanks for sharing. :)

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    1. YES! You'll be there with your book on display by your future publisher!

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  3. I think those crowds would have just totally eaten me.... I love hearing about ALA and BEA, but for serious, crushed Chelsey would happen.

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    1. It was SO MUCH less crowded on the last day. It was that opening of the exhibit hall on the first day that was total madness.

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  4. Looks like a blast! Thank you so much for sharing pictures! (Even if they *do* make me jealous.) Seeing twittersphere friends IRL must be so wonderful :)

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    1. It really is so great to see my online friends IRL. That's always my favorite thing!

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  5. Sounds like a blast! I totally hear ya about the crowds though--def not my thing. It would have been awesome to see some of the other authors though!

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    1. Oh yeah...I don't do well in crowds, so I wasn't really at my best. But it was still super fun.

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  6. Looks like so much fun. I look forward to meeting you one day, Jess! I'll be able to help you not feel so tall (I think, I'm 6'2", so you'd have to be pretty tall to tower over me).

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    1. Well, I'm pushing 6'1", so we'll at least see eye to eye ;-)

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  7. Looks like you had such a good time!!! Love this. :)

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  8. Loved reading about it and seeing all the pictures! I can't wait to go next year. I do have a couple questions, though--can anyone go? Do I need to be a member? How/where do you get the exhibit pass you mentioned? I guess I don't need to know this all NOW since it's a year away, but I figured I'd ask!

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    1. You don't have to be a librarian to go...and you can buy the exhibit pass on their website when the conference goes on sale. I think it was in Jan when this one went on sale, so keep an eye out. :-)

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  9. Those events are SO great for motivation! It looks like you had a total blast, and I'm so glad you rocked ALA! Seriously bummed I wasn't able to go this year, but ALA next year in Chicago, yes?

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    1. I really need to make that happen...I LOVE Chicago.

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  10. Looks like such a blast, and I can't believe how many ARCs you scored, lucky girl! Next time there's a YA Confidential or Bookanista meet-up, I'm going. I don't care if it's in Greenland. :)

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    1. YES. It would have been so much fun with you there!

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  11. Yay! I'm glad I was able to hang out with you at ALA. :)

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  12. Sounds so fun! I love being able to meet up with writer/blogger friends IRL. :)

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  13. So glad I got to spend time with you! And I will be one of the first in line when you are signing your book :)

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  14. Awesome!!! I'm glad you got to go, too. I agree, totally inspirational. I get to go to a conference this weekend and meet someone who offered me a publishing contract for my first book. That'll be cool. Plus a lot of other authors I've met online, but not in person. Not the same as ALA, but still looking forward to it, and quite nervous!

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  15. I'm whacking myself on the head for missing this. I was blinded by a graduation. You've inspired me to chase ALA down next year.

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  16. Oh, I am so happy for you and so jealous at the same time and kicking myself for not going because I didn't get to go and meet you! I'm SO glad that you had such a wonderful time though!

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  17. This is so awesome. I hope you come to ALA next year bc it will be in CHICAGO. WHERE I LIVE!!!!

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