When I go to Book Expo America, I say hello to Scott Westerfeld as he signs my book. When I went to KidLitCon Seattle, I joined him at lunch where we talked about his presentation about illustration as a strong component of middle grade and young adult literature. I think we also talked about preferred lunch meats. It was awesome.
When I go to book festivals, I spent a lot of time passing my friends as we head to different talks or signings and we promise to catch up "soon." At every KidLitCon, I spend the time with my friends - old and new - as we attend a select schedule with plenty of time for conversation, both during and around the event. No one is pulled to attend this publisher function or that committee meeting. It's all our time.
When I go to the ALA convention, I pick a few sessions that sort of cover what I want to learn. At KidLitCon, everything is what I want to learn because it's either blogging or kidlit or some combination. Plus it's being presented by the best people I know online.
When I go to any of these big shows for books, I come home excited, but overwhelmed. I am overloaded with books and less certain of my place in the world of children's literature. It's like the intensity of shopping for Christmas, where you might like the decorations and the exhilaration, but it's all so much. Instead, KidLitCon is like the Christmas Day with family and food and a few well-chosen gifts.
When I go to other conventions, I hold the real book in my hand. You know, the one I've been waiting to read that is finally out as an advance reader copy and I have it. It's pretty cool.
But when I go to KidLitCon, I hug the real people that I've known online forever. You know, the ones I've been reading for seven years and they are finally in front of me, exactly the same as they are online. It's extraordinary.
Register for KidLitCon 2013 and I'll see you there. I promise.