I had the pleasure of attending the Southern Independent Booksellers Association conference in Tampa, Florida last week. We closed the bookstore for four days so we could all go north to be with the best group of book lovers and book sellers on earth! The excitement in the weeks preceding the conference was palpable as we prepared for what was coming.
September is notorious for hurricanes here in the South. And, of course, Florence appeared to shake up the coast along the Carolinas and beyond. It caused all sorts of havoc and prevented some of our favorite authors and publishers and bookstore owners from arriving. But onward we went. No stopping us.
I was thrilled to get to meet and bond with Lisa Patton who recently published one of my favorite books of the season, RUSH.
She is lovely inside and out. Sadly, most of her wonderful books did not arrive with her. Weather issues. But she got to wow the crowds and tell her story.
Thursday was filled with informative hour long classes where we learned good stuff to help us bring more to the book table. We met authors and publishers. We made connections. We are better already from having attended. We even got to hear wonderful authors tell the story behind their books. Made us want to read them all!
On Friday afternoon we got an amazing surprise. Mary Kay Andrews arrived. She had very graciously agreed to stand in for an author not able to attend because of the storm. What a treat for us. Cathy and I had the pleasure of speaking to her about coming to Copperfish. She would love to!! Happy. And then they announced her new book cover would be revealed at the trade show later in the day!
Here you have it! SUNSET BEACH is the title of Mary Kay’s novel coming out in May. Much jumping up and down and shouting.
Our own Karen was last seen making off with a poster of John Grisham’s upcoming blockbusting novel! You go girl. It will now live in our store.
I have to say one of the highlights of the conference for me was hearing Rick Bragg speak on Friday night. We all laughed ourselves silly. He made the night. Rick is the winner of the SIBA Conroy Legacy Award. He stole the show. This photo of him with Wanda Jewell speaks volumes.
Wanda Jewell is the woman who IS SIBA. She is the person mostly behind the scene that makes it all come together and happen. She is beloved by Indy booksellers everywhere. Wanda, you are loved. Thanks for all you do.
To say a good time was had by all is way too trite. It was overwhelming, totally over the top, filled with more books than you can imagine, and all-consuming. Was it worth it? Sure! You betcha. And some of us will do it again next year. Until then, happy reading.