I just wanted to say thanks to all of the wonderful peeps that came out to the Miami Book Fair International on Friday. I met so many fellow writers, readers, publishers, professors... it was a whirlwind. (almost literally, considering how rainy and windy it was)
The entire Miami event goes on for almost two weeks, ending with the outdoor Fair this past weekend. And when I say Fair, I mean six city blocks of tents full of authors, publishing companies-everything from McSweeny's to Harper Collins- book sellers, indie presses, writing groups, publicity companies and more. We're talking food trucks, balloon animals and shoulder to shoulder people. The incessant wind and rain didn't seem to hold anyone back and I was amazed at how many people came out.
The best moments of the Fair for me were talking to students. Friday offered many writing workshops for kids of all ages and the chance to meet some prominent young adult authors, so the streets were full of students, who were unabashedly full of questions. Instead of the usual "what's your book" about questions, I fielded a lot of "what's it like to be an author" or "how do you become a writer" questions. Student after student told me about the short stories and poems they wrote and I hope that I was able to offer both encouragement and practical advice. They wanted to take pictures with me and have me sign postcards for them and I was even interviewed for a school report. I would have given anything to meet a real author when I was their age (I'm pretty sure I didn't meet any authors until I was in college) and so I hope that I was able to pass on a little inspiration.
My one regret is that I wasn't able to stay at the Fair longer. Some of my favorite authors, including Smith Henderson, Wiley Cash and Rick Bragg were set to speak on Saturday and Sunday, but the rest of this crazy road trip I'm on was calling. Next year I will definitely plan better and be sure to attend many more events.
In a nutshell, Miami was a blast.