This past Saturday was the Austin Teen Book Festival held in our lovely and weird state capitol. What better setting for readers of all ages to gather and hear about books while meeting amazing authors? And believe me, there were a LOT of readers from single attendees to whole families to book clubs from high schools! I have proof below!
The great thing about attending a book festival is that everyone there is as crazy about books and reading and authors as you are. It's very easy to strike up conversation with the person standing, sitting, or leaning on the wall next to you.
Now going in there, I had to have a plan. I'm just one of those kooky people that needs to know what to do and where to go at what time. Having seen the list of books for sale at the festival, I'd made my decisions for purchasing while also bringing in my own copies of a few books to be signed. I had my eyes on the prize and I figured it would be best to get my books ahead of time since the line would be crazy long in the afternoon closer to the Author Signings. (See below: Boy, was I right!)
Luckily for me, the volunteers asked if anyone knew exactly what they wanted, and I raised my hand saying, "Right here!" I bought a copy of Sweet Venom and Goddess Boot Camp both by Tera Lynn Childs, Texas Gothic by Rosemary Clement-Moore, and Dash & Lily's Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan. Despite seeing all the other pretty books, I was a good girl and stayed within my book budget.
The festival had 5 different panels to attend, and the first one I hit was the "Supernatural Suspense" panel featuring Tera Lynn Childs, Jackson Pearce, Heather Brewer, Sophie Jordan, Andrea Cremer, and moderated by Cynthia Leitich Smith. Needless to say these were some funny and informative ladies.
Just before the panel finished, I headed over to the concession stand to pick up some food since lunch time was from 12:30-1:45 pm. Rather lengthy, so after eating, I did what a lot of other attendees were doing, namely reading.
At around 2:30 pm, I snuck inside to listen to the "Pen Fatale" panel featuring Gabrielle Zevin, Mary Pearson, Jessica Brody, Alyson Noel and moderated by Margo Rabb. Again, these ladies were full of advice for writers (and readers). I've really got to check out some of their books, particularly Zevin's All These Things I've Done in which chocolate and coffee are *gasp!* illegal.
Once the panel was finished, I headed to the Book Sale area since the Author Signings would be next to it. I also read more of Texas Gothic while waiting, and it didn't take long for the Author Signing area to be cleared. Somehow I managed to get into Tera Lynn Childs' line quickly enough that I was close to the beginning. I chatted with a couple of high schoolers in line, talking about books of course, and when the authors started filing inside, you knew by the many people who were sitting down that were now standing up.
All of the authors I hoped to sign my books were very nice, and they each had to read my T-shirt: "If you can read a book, thank a teacher. If you can find a book, thank a librarian." When I'm not wearing the signature denim jacket, this is my shirt of preference. ^_^ Rosemary Clement-Moore was such a southern peach, I was rather surprised there weren't more people in her line (though that was a boon for me to get to Andrea Cremer and David Levithan's lines quickly afterward). All in all, I was happy to have attended my first book festival, and I'm hoping next year to bring a few friends with me to experience the excitement of the books, authors, and just the people. Til next year, Austin!