Friday, November 06, 2009


Yesterday, I blogged about my surprise at having a photographer come up to me at the Texas Book Festival and thank me for blogging about his book - and how this reminded me that we bloggers are not alone.

Today, I’ll tell you about something else that happened at the Festival, although not at the Austin Museum of Art.

On Saturday, the first day of the Festival, I arrived about 8:30 a.m. The museum wasn’t expecting me until about 9:30, so I decided I had time to walk two blocks and grab a coffee from Starbucks. They weren’t open. So I thought I’d run to the Exhibitors’ tents and see if I could catch some friends to yell “hi” at them before I headed to AMOA (once I’m there, I’m there for the day). I headed that way, but didn’t get far before I got a call that my big posters showing the line-up at AMOA for the two days needed to be picked up since no one was available to get them at the museum. I u-turned, met the staff member trying to deliver them, carted them to my car and locked them in the trunk, then u-turned and headed back, fast-walking to the Exhibitors’ tents (stopping along the way at the Exhibitors’ hospitality tent to grab a cup of free coffee). Fast-walked through the first tent of publishers, stopping briefly to look at TSTC Publishing’s table. No one was there manning it yet, but it was all set up, including …. My book, Automotive Technicians, right up front. Yay!! Woo-woo.

Zipped through the next tent - more publishers - then in the third tent, I found the Sisters in Crime Heart of Texas booth. Dave Ciambrone and Sylvia Dickey Smith were both there. We yakked and I got to see their books on display, then I headed to the next tent and ran into Russ Hall at his publisher’s table (and his many, many books on display). We talked way too long, so I hugged good-bye, then began backtracking. Paused at the SinC HoT booth again. Joan Upton Hall was there and I gave her a running hug.

Zipped into my publisher’s tent and found Mark there. Before I could get to the table, my phone was ringing again. Another delivery; told them I’d be walking down Congress headed their way. Hugged Mark. He asked if I noticed my book. I told him, yes, and picked it up. He said, not that one, and pointed to the book next to it.

There sat, propped up on display, the next one in the TechCareers series - Avionics. Bright blue cover, and I’d missed it! So, I hereby officially announce that Avionics is not only available but has an ISBN. Woo-woo.

Mark whipped out a copy and gave it to me, then I hurried off to meet the staff with more supplies, then raced off to the museum.

All that power walking started out as a trip to get a Starbucks. I ended up with about half of a small cup of coffee (I threw it away ‘cause I was spilling more of it than I was drinking), a chance to hug friends, and a copy of my latest book. Not a bad way to start the Festival.

And, what does this tell you, other than that I will dance around on a broken toe at the sight of my name on a book cover? If you’re an aspiring author, it tells you that the Texas Book Festival (and probably the Festival in your state), can be a good place to introduce yourself to small publishers. The TBF doesn’t have agents, that I know of, but there are small and regional publishers who set up their booths and stand around waiting for buyers …and aspiring authors to come talk to them. And it’s free. It costs you nothing to walk through the tents, buck up your nerve and introduce yourself.
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  1. Wish we did have something like that here! Closest festival is in Virginia, and it's gotten too big to enjoy.

    Guess it was a good thing the Starbucks was closed - be a shame to waste expensive coffee!

  2. Diane and I are in the same state, so I'll back her up on that wish!

    Sometimes SEBA comes to NC, and that can be a good place to network.

    Congratulations, Helen! I bet you DID do a little dance...broken toe or not!

    Mystery Writing is Murder

  3. Hi Helen! Man you were one two-stepping gal! We don't have a provincial conference of that sort but we have the wonderful Word on the Street - a book festival that is in every major city in Canada. It is a love fest for readers and writers and I did buck up my courage and chat to publishers my last time there. How thrilling to see your books in print! I've never had such an experience but I'm hoping - I've seen my plays on stage though and that is pretty amazing too. A bit more ephermeral perhaps.

  4. What a great opportunity. No book expos here either, just a few smaller writing conferences. Congrats on your books both being published and displayed! Definitely reason to celebrate, raising my coffee cup in a toast to you :)

  5. How cool - and you met some bloggy buddy/author colleagues in person too. Sounds like a neat event - I gotta look into seeing if there's amnything like that in Michigan.

    Marvin D Wilson

  6. Jan, I think it would be very exciting to see my words spoken and enacted on stage! So cool.

  7. Not aware of a book festival like that here in New Mexico, but it sounds like you made the most of that one. Congratulations on your two books! Woo-hoo.

  8. I would've danced, too. In fact, I just got up and did a little happy dance for you. Did you see? Congrats!

  9. Wow, I was exhausted by all that you did.

    And congratulations! What a heart-thumping rush to see your books in print, eh?

    Though do hope you got a decent -- and BIG -- cup of coffee at some point!

  10. How fun! That must have made your entire week.


  11. Good for you. Hope you eventually got some caffeine, well...that would be my priority, I guess I'm projecting. Have a great weekend.

  12. Marisa, I didn't get a cup of coffee, but on Sunday, while I was waiting outside the museum for it to open and standing guard over the sandwiches, cookies, & fruit that had been dropped off for the author's hospitality room, the wonderful A/V guy showed up and went to get himself a cup of coffee at Starbucks - and he got me a cup of Chai tea. What a sweetheart!

  13. Aren't those surprises the neatest things. (no question mark because I really mean it. :-) ) I can just picture you dancing on your sore toe when you saw the new book. Congrats!!

    Maybe next year I can make the festival.

  14. If you do, Maryann, come see me at AMOA.

  15. What a wonderful moment! Rejoice! I've never seen one of plays performed; luckily none of the productions have been near to where I live. I'm not sure if I'd be filled with pride or with horror.


  16. Absolutely that want to meet authors! I found several friendly publishers talking to all kinds of folk--even me! Fun!

  17. Hi Helen!

    Are you in Austin?

    You mentioned Congress and it got me thinking. Now that I am entering this world I love hearing about things like this.


  18. Congratulations, Helen! What a fun way to discover your book. I have attended several great conferences and book fairs in Florida but I would like to be able to attend events in other states, too. The Texas Book Festival sounds like it would be a good one to put on my wish list for next year.

  19. Hah! That's pretty freaky.

    My nephew was just talking about getting into avionics when he leaves university. He has an eye on a commercial career but wants to learn his trade with the RAF.

    He's colour blind (family curse apparently - not me but two siblings) or he'd want to pilot. It's almost a shame he can't put all those video game hours to good use.

    I didn't even know books like this were available. Mind is officially blown!

  20. Cool. I guess Wordstock may serve the same function here. I certainly met quite a few small publishers and got invited to send my novel to one. Fingers crossed.

  21. Anton, the third in the TechCareer series that I wrote is on Gaming. (As in Game Design - yes, you can get a degree in that - or game programming or game design). Your nephew can put all those hours to use, but it's a degree that is not easy and is much more than just playing games.

  22. Oh what a lovely surprise for you, I bet you did dance a jig!


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