Good morning! I'm blogging to you live from Authors After Dark in New Orleans. I had so much fun when I came to New Orleans last March, walked the streets, saw the sights, and tasted the food. It was both hot and cold, exciting and exhausting, but unendingly ripe with stories and storytelling. I loved it. So now, back here again, it's hot, muggy, historic and yes—filled with rich storytelling. The best thing about going to a conference is reaching out and meeting your readers—including those who are just being introduced to my work. What's more, I get to meet other authors—some familiar, some new.
As exhausting as a week at conference can be, I always go home energized and ready to write. I am totally psyched for getting things done and this week will be no different. So if you were at AAD with me and ran into me somewhere, you might notice the black ribbon hanging off my badge and peer (sometimes as inconspicuously as possible, sometimes with a narrow-eyed squint if you're like me and can't read the fine print).
You might ask, "what do you write?"
And I would reply, "I write a little bit of everything. What do you like to read?"
I've been pretty good this visit, I've given out trading cards when I've met folks. I've also got some bookmarks I'll be carrying around today. As soon as you tell me what you like to read, well I'll tell you about my books. We may chat about them for a few, then we can talk about you, what do you do? Do you blog?
Do you read to escape?
I met a reader last night that really just discovered her passion for books in the last two years. How cool is that? Can you imagine just how many books are out there for her to read? It's astounding! I wanted to ask her who she read and what genres, but the noise and press made conversation hard. Trust me, I plan to find her sometime this week and ask her again!
I met another reader who just started blogging six months ago. She's excited to meet authors, new and familiar, because she loves to write about what she reads. She likes to share the new authors she finds like a coupon cutter likes to share a fantastic new deal. See, I'm already feeling the energy here.
To top that off, I got to meet face to face, the people I've only ever met on Twitter and Facebook. These real, flesh-and-blood wonders, who have passions, likes, dislikes, and quirky personalities so totally suited to my own. They laugh, they chat, they joke, and yes—I had more than one giddy little "squee" moment as I "saw" them for the first time.
But do you know what the best part of going to a reader conference is for an author? Okay, for me?
It's all those little moments—seeing someone for the first time, chatting with them, the squeal of delight at winning a prize, the harried exhaustion at trying to squeeze in sight seeing while hitting the panels, the bawdy jokes, the reunions of authors and readers who may not see each other but once a year…and the number one best thing:
Putting a face to a name, a personality to a voice, a smile to a friend—I'm having a great time at Authors After dark and I've already discovered at least three new book ideas.
Not bad, eh?
So if you're not here this week, let me introduce myself. I'm Heather Long. I write books. What do you like to read?