I had a fantastic weekend in Naples, FL with my husband and mother-in-law at the Southern Independent Bookseller’s Association trade show (SIBA). The weather was great, we had a lot of fun and came home with tons of new books to read!
This was my first experience with SIBA and a book tradeshow, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. I think it’s one of the best things I’ve done thus far in the book world. I met some amazing authors, got great advice and walked away with more books than I know what to do with right now (I’ll read them of course, but storage is going to be an issue).
The first day of the trade show were panels of different authors and other workshops. I attended the mystery/magical panel of mystery and paranormal authors, where I won a book (thank you Sandra Brannan) and got some great tips.
On the second day, the ballroom in the hotel was filled with booths from authors and publishers. There were literally thousands of books lined up on tables. We started looking around, unsure of what to do (this was a learning experience for me). I picked up a book and told my husband “Oh, this looks so interesting.” Seconds later someone behind the table tells me to go ahead and take it…as in for free. Soon after visiting a couple of tables, I learned that I could have almost any book I wanted for free, and on top of that most of them were signed. And to top it all off, these were all books that were not out on the market yet. Needless to say, I felt special.
After learning free books are a part of trade shows, means if for no other reason than free books, I’m going to go to BEA (Book Expo America) in New York next year (three floors full of books!). But on top of getting free books, I made connections with a lot of authors, traded stories and marketing ideas.
I also met a great team of publicists who were very interested in my book. When I showed them my book cover they almost drooled, fighting over who would get the chance to take it home and read it. But more than what they had to say about The Kings of Charleston and it’s beautiful cover, was what they said about my husband. When he introduced himself, they all couldn’t believe it because they said it was so rare for a husband to be so involved in their wives writing, let alone come to shows with them. They were blown away to learn that he makes calls to book stores and set up book signings for me. They couldn’t compliment him enough, to the point it almost brought tears to my eyes. In that moment, I truly realized how lucky I am to have such a supportive and amazing husband who believes in my book as much as I do.