This past weekend I went to our local Teen Book Festival. It was their 10th year at one of our local colleges (one I attended for a semester back in my college days). I had been there before, because of my bookworm daughter. She introduced me to the world of Young Adult books years ago, and this time I was attending as not only a young adult book fan, but also a hopeful, new author. I had spent the week before preparing bookish swag to hand out to every eager teen I came across. My daughter and youngest son volunteered to help me, and we were all set!
I thought I would share the top 10 things I learned while there in a different capacity than just an attendee. So, here we go!
1) It wasn't as crowded as I thought it would be. I don’t know why I thought there would be more people, there were already plenty.
2) It was confusing how to tell the volunteers from the festival goers. There were groups of people in the same colored shirts, but there were so many of them. It was hard to tell whether they were volunteers, or just there with a group. I wasn't sure whether to hand them some swag, or ask them directions.
3) There are so very many Young Adult Authors! It really amazes me every time I see/meet more!
4) I am better at meeting people online than in real life. I am really quite awful at trying to strike up a conversation with…well…anyone. I should really write questions down ahead of time or something. I gave it thought for weeks before, but I couldn't come up with anything. Quite awful.
5) It’s always really great to see how many types of “booky” teens there are. They are their own, very unique species, and they should be well cared for.
6) Always wear my hair up when in a crowd. Dang it was hot! Even if it’s not hot, my stress level rises in crowds, which then makes me hot. I should have remembered this and dressed accordingly.
7) I definitely over prepared. Not that it’s a bad thing, but I came home with more of my swag than I intended. So, it felt disappointing, even though it went fairly well. I keep telling myself it was better to have too much than run out too early.
8) Seeing the range of reactions to me walking up and asking someone if they wanted something free was, and is always interesting. We had the full range of reactions. From, “Sure, thanks!” all the way to, “Mmm, no thanks.” I can’t imagine refusing a bookmark at a book festival, but to each their own.
9) Next festival I really have to find out how to get a table set up. We met a lovely young author with a table set up at the area where you buy the other authors’ books. I wanted to do that, but I wasn't sure how. I really have to get more aggressive when it comes to finding out information.
10) I was very grateful to my daughter and youngest son for coming with me. Not only did they help, but they kept me company, which was invaluable throughout the day. My oldest son decided he couldn't handle talking to strangers in any capacity, which I thoroughly understood. Apparently it’s a gene.
All in all it was a very good day. My children were so helpful and fun, and even found books to enjoy. My son had his signed by the author, and it made his day, he was so excited! Thank you, Greater Rochester Teen Book Festival! Perhaps one year I will be asked to be a participating author there!