Welcome to my Texas Teen Book Festival 2017 Recap! It was October 7, 2017 in Austin, TX. Sit back and get cozy because this may be a long post.. full of pictures and great stories! (HA! See what I did there?)
This festival was at St. Edwards University again. I had only been to this festival two years before and it was a disaster. I could regale you with horror stories or share pictures but just trust me when I say it was a cluster. It made me not want to go back, especially after the horrific stories I heard from last year. Leigh Bardugo anyone? I took a chance and packed up my books. I am overjoyed to say that, as an attendee, I feel this year’s festival was wonderfully done! Other than the Texas heat and humidity, which nothing can ever be done about that, I believe this festival was really well done. It did not feel like the same festival I went to years before.
This was taken early in the morning but it was still a beautiful day.
What booknerd doesn’t love book sales??? Book People in Austin was in charge of the sales and I feel it went off without a hitch. All of the books were neatly laid out and you could easily tell what was signed and what wasn’t. I’m surprised that a good majority of the books were already signed by the authors but you certainly had the opportunity to get them personalized later if you wanted.
It was so great to see publisher tables at this event! Macmillan and Penguin were the two tables I saw but I know more publishers sent items to be given away. Festival attendees (like me!) always enjoy any presence from a big publisher.
I believe there were some Fierce Reads events during the day but I wasn’t able to attend. Unfortunately, it clashed with a signing time so I couldn’t go.
It may have been me but it felt like the attendance was not as high this year. Maybe it was because Austin City Limits was going on at the same time and people didn’t want to risk the traffic? Whatever the case, I took advantage of it. The lines were almost non-existent. The longest line I stood in was at the end of the day to see Mackenzi Lee and that was because she is a sweetheart and wanted to chat with every single person who was in her line. I can’t be mad at an author who wants to be so engaging with her readers and fans.
I try to express how important it is to make friends at these festivals. I made more friends this year and was over the moon excited about that! It also blew my mind how many people actually knew me. I have moments where I still feel like a newbie when it comes to blogging but then I remember I have been posting on my blog for two years now. Where has the time gone? I was even more floored when people asked where I blogged and I was able to hand them my card! Little moments like that is why I love blogging so much.
It is not a true Texas book festival until I see Xander!
Everyone, @heartbrekkerr! This girl was my lifeline all day! I am not sure I could have made it through the festival without her. ❤
I may jinx myself here but I don’t feel like I have to cover this topic when it comes to experience I had at this festival! Everyone was nice! Everyone was friendly! Everyone was helpful! From the volunteers (SHOUT OUT TO THE VOLUNTEERS!) to the publishers to the venders to the attendees. Everyone had manners and was respectful! I still feel like I was in a dream when it comes to not be shoved around or treated like a faker because I’m an older YA reader. Just know it was a breath of fresh air.
I did not attend any panels this year. There wasn’t time! Again, you had to make a decision – attend panels or go to a signing. (I’ll get into that in a moment.) Maybe next year I’ll go to one.
Now we get to the topic that you really want to know about (unless you have really been curious about the entire day). I am guessing that you are probably like me and want to know about the authors and the rush of meeting these awesome people. I am happy to report that this went super smooth. Both Book People employees and volunteers were on point and had everything under control – and they were nice about it. There were four different signing times throughout the day and I think that helped a lot with crowd control.
The early bird signing included E. Lockhart, Stephanie Perkins, Jason Reynolds, and Marie Lu but Marie was unable to attend this signing. I volunteered at this time so I didn’t get photos. But never fear, I still took plenty of pictures of the rest of the day!
I cannot remember the exact authors at every signing as there were so many. Instead of trying to rack my brain and possibly missing someone, I’ll share with you the photos I took:
I bought Aditi’s book signed later in the day and am kicking myself for not having her personalize it.
Lisa Maxwell was just so nice!
ERIN BOWMAN!! I simply love her books. ❤ (Notice Cindy Pon on the left!)
ONE OF MY FAVORITES!! Stephanie Perkins is just too sweet for words. This was the sixth time (I believe) that I’ve met her and it still blows me away that she knows who I am. We chatted like old friends and it warmed my heart.
Me after the first signing event I went to. Notice how organized things are behind me as that’s the signing tent. So awesome.
Third signing of the day!
Notice Jason Reynolds on the left… he was so engaging with his readers.
Jessica Taylor and Peter Bognanni
Jason Reynolds’ line never stopped! He was very popular. 🙂
The fourth signing of the day was a BIG ONE for me. MARIE LU was going to be in this signing and I was bursting with excitement! Somehow I was able to be the first person in line to meet her!
Because her line was so intense, wrist bands were handed out to the first 35 people to guarantee them a spot to meet Marie.
While waiting for the signing to start, I stopped Jason Reynolds for a photo. I’m not intimidated by a lot of authors but he kind of intimidated me.
Can you tell how excited and over the moon I was to meet Marie again?! AAAHHH!
Next on my stop was Mackenzi Lee but I was able to snap photos of other authors while waiting. Here we have Jennifer Mathieu, Julie Murphy, and Sandhya Menon
Better shot of Sandhya and Julie
AAHH!! Mackenzi Lee!! She has been one of my most favorite authors! Notice me holding an ARC of her debut, This Monstrous Thing. She was floored to see it in the wild again!
Anna-Marie McLemore was so sweet and super friendly. I have heard nothing but great things about her book.
I was in line for Ashley Poston (!!!) when the signings were cut off so the workers could prepare for the final signing of the day –every author would be available to sign books. I was just a few people away from meeting Ashley but was able to capture a photo of Ryan Graudin… 🙂
After the signings, I spotted Adi Alsaid and grabbed him for a photo!
You are seeing that photo correctly! I met Ashley at the last and biggest signing of the day and I had TWO copies of Heart of Iron for her to sign! When I told her I had these babies, she legit teared up. It pulled on my heart strings. This story is six years of her blood, sweat, and tears. She hadn’t seen but one other reader with the ARC so seeing them in the wild brought tears to her eyes. She was gracious enough to sign one to me and even wrote some spoilers somewhere in the book. She’s so evil that way and I love her for it.
My Book Haul
Would you believe me if I tell you that I carried about 90lbs worth of books all day? I even went light this year! I took one small bag of books with me to start the day
I am rather proud of myself because I only bought five books this year. All were already signed and three I had personalized by the author.
These are the books I was given throughout the day… I’m still in shock over them!
These are the books I had signed and/or personalized
All in all, this is what I carried around (proudly) all day!
Swag is not something I’m big into but I did collect some throughout the day
I am blown away by how much improvement there was with this festival. The first year I attended was the first year it was at St. Edwards University. It was a horrific nightmare. I Nobody working the festival had any idea what was going on, the signing events were screwed up, and so were the lines. Oh goodness the lines! They were stuff nightmares were made of. I am now going to be a forever fan of this festival and attend every year I can if it continues to run the way it did this year. This felt easy. Maybe the Texas heat kept people away or the ACL event, but either way it was really enjoyable and I still feel like I’m floating from the amazing interaction with everyone.
So tell me, did you attend this event? Or would you attend this event? What are you thoughts on everything I laid out about the day? I want to hear from you.