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Monday, June 13, 2011

Meet me in St. Louis (again!)

I know, I'm a dork, but I sing that song in my head every time St. Louis comes up. I can't help it. Meet Me in St. Louis is one of my all-time favorite movies. You've got to love anything featuring Judy Garland and The World's Fair. Plus, St. Louis is a  great city, great place, and I loved going there for our ACFW spring(ish) board meeting to look at plans for this year's conference. As I have mentioned before, I am STILL bitter that there is no fair, BUT, with all the great conference stuff going on, I probably wouldn't have time. Okay, I know I wouldn't have time.

Speaking of not having time, there is one thing you MUST make time for. And that is to stop by the conference bookstore. This year, due to space restrictions and those silly people who write the fire code (yeah, okay, they only want us to be safe), we are not having a booksigning. But that doesn't mean you shouldn't go to the bookstore. In fact, it means even more that you need to stop in and buy your favorite books. THEN, you can use it as an excuse to meet your favorite authors. If the book is in the bookstore, that means the author is at the conference.

Now, if you are like me and have a high degree of stranger anxiety and approaching a total stranger to sign a book makes you break out into hives, I've got a few tips for meeting your favorite authors (and getting your books signed!).

1. DON'T be afraid. Authors really are humans, just like you and me. In fact, a lot of them are just as shy and insecure as we are, and they love meeting someone face to face who has something nice to say about their books.

2. DO be respectful of their time. Many people at conference have very busy schedules, so they probably won't have an hour to spend with you. But if you don't catch them in the restroom (ICK!) or rushing to the meeting they were supposed to be at five minutes ago, they will probably have a minute or two to sign your book.

3. DON'T harbor unrealistic expectations. Just like with meeting editors and agents, an author you've just met isn't going to hook you up with an editor, publisher, give you an endorsement, or critique your book. Use the meeting for what it is- a chance to meet your favorite author. If the two of you are meant to be BFFs (it could happen), that relationship will build over time.

And here's a tip for the authors...

If you have a newbie approach you, hand shaking, and ask to sign your newest release, please be gracious, knowing that some of us are terrified of you. You may not think you have fangs, but many newbies believe that the only reason your fangs are not showing is that you take a secret author potion to hide your super-human abilities because you don't want us to know that you're really a sub-species of humans known as supercoolusauthorusterrificus. Yeah, I know, you wish... but that's what the underground is saying.

Another thing you don't want to miss, which also happens to be in the bookstore, is the Silent Auction. Every year, we hold this auction to raise money for the Scholarship Foundation to offer scholarships to members who can't otherwise attend conference. We always have lots of great items, so be sure to bid early and bid often. You will need cash or check to pay for the items if you win, so be prepared.

In conclusion- Go to St. Louis. Bypass the non-existent fair. Head to the ACFW bookstore. Buy books. Bid on items at the Silent Auction to raise money for the Scholarship Fund. Find your favorite authors and gush over their books, then get them to sign all the books you bought at the bookstore.

Sounds like a super fun time to me! (Almost as good as the fair!)

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