Getting Personal (3): Recap Of My Time At ALAMW

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Hi all!

I hope you're having a wonderful week. Last weekend was the ALAMW conference and I attended the exhibits on Saturday and Sunday. It was my first ever book conference, so I thought I'd share a short recap of my experience.

My weekend started on Friday night when my friend, Ari (formerly The Romance Corner), also came down to Philly. It happened to be the last day of restaurant week in center city, so as soon as Ari got here, we went and got some grub at a Mexican restaurant.  The food was not all that great in my opinion. I felt like my experience last year was much better, but that's okay! We then went back to my apartment and basically fell into a food coma.

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Ari and I woke up bright and early (lol more like Ari did) and headed to the convention center on a rainy and windy Saturday morning. The registration/badge-pick-up process was super smooth and I liked that we did not have to wait in a long line. When we got there the exhibits had already opened. I was very surprised to see how not crowded ALA floor was. I had seen photos of BEA with the long lines and the huge crowds, but ALA was super chill. Most publishers had their books out for anyone to grab as they passed. Some had them stored in cabinets, so you had to actually talk to the publisher employees at the booth. I felt super awkward about just grabbing books without asking so I would try and be polite. I didn't want to be that person everyone subtweets about because of bad manners at a book conference - ha! Anyways, I didn't really have a list of books, so I was not prepared at all. I mostly just went up to the booths and asked for the most romantic books they had! I think that was a good strategy for me personally, as I got to hear about upcoming titles I had not heard of.

After about an hour of walking the floor, Ari and I decided to go get some Beiler's Donuts. Plus, I was already tired and needed a break. I love that the conference was right next to Reading Terminal Market which meant we had tons of food options! After Beiler's, we came back to the convention center where we quietly munched on our delicious donuts, then headed back to the exhibits. We walked around a little more, grabbed some books (mostly me!), then attended a Book Buzz Talk from the Penguin Random House team. After one final walk around the booths, Ari and I decided to head out for a dim sum lunch. We were too tired to do any more book perusing and my poor shoulders were already dying, so we simply headed back to my place and watched some Bollywood movies. I then made some very bland food for Ari and thankfully, I did not give her food poisoning. That first day, I came home with about 20 books, only one of which I had actually hoped to grab! I wasn't sure that I would even have any more books to grab the next day, but I was wrong lol!


We headed out a little bit earlier than Saturday on Sunday morning because the Hachette publicists had told us they would be dropping a book that Ari and I both really wanted. We went there a few minutes before the doors opened and again, I was very pleasantly surprised at how not crowded it was. We grabbed the books from Hachette and went around walking through the booths again. I somehow managed to find a few more books and I grabbed a couple for a friend at school. We also attended two book buzz sessions for children's books and I found both to be very eye-opening. I've never quite realized how deep and thoughtful children's books are. I learned about some super cute and diverse stories! We didn't stay too long on that day either mostly because there wasn't anything else I wanted to grab, and your girl was hungry. So Ari and I headed off to eat some yummy Thai food followed by dessert at Reading Terminal. I came back home with 15 books on the second day. Soon after Ari left, and I went back to my bed.

Overall, I had a really good time at ALAMW and if I were to do a book conference again, I would do this one again. It was such a lovely experience being surrounded by fellow book lovers. I also have to say thank you to Alyssa, Lena and her sister, Lauren, who were so lovely to me when we bumped into each other. :) And also to the wonderful Lili (former blogger turned awesome publicist), who I've known online for the longest time but who I only met last weekend. And really, thank you to everyone who made those exhibits run smoothly. I had the best time and I cannot wait to read all my shiny new books.

I won't be sharing my full haul because I'm not personally a fan of sharing photos of giant stacks of books, but here are some books I picked up that I am particularly excited to read!

The Best Laid Plans What I Like About You The Blackbird Girls The Trouble with Hating You Conventionally Yours (True Colors, #1)
Rebel Spy Deal with the Devil (Mercenary Librarians, #1) Keep It Together, Keiko Carter

Have you been to a book conference before? What was your experience like?
Let me know in the comments below!

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