Every year in October, Las Vegas has Vegas Book Festival. It is put on by our local libraries and there are tons of authors, book signings, speakers, workshops, vendor booths, all the goodies you want in a festival or conference. Apparently, Book Fest has been going on for over 17 years and I only found out about it 3 years ago. I’m not okay. I’ve missed 15 years of book goodness.
I’ve gone the past two years (the first year I discovered it I couldn’t make it) with my best friend and occasionally we’ll bring other book lovers with us. We mark our calendar the moment we get the date and we tell our husbands that they are on their own for that day. We brought my son with us the first year he went and he had a blast.
I love Book Fest because it brings readers together to meet the awesome people that create the books they love. Growing up, I read the Series of Unfortunate Events consistently. I bought the books the moment they were released at Borders and I stuck with it almost as well as I did Harry Potter. I got to meet Lemony Snicket (Daniel Handler) and had a chance to talk to him and even had him sign the Bad Beginning book that I have had since I was 10. The reader heart in me told me that Vegas Book Fest is the happiest place on Earth.
I still believe it is. As a writer, I look forward to book fest because I get to listen to writers talk about writing. I get to learn from the people who have been there and done that. I get to talk to them. I also get to discover new writers and authors and support their books. As a writer though, the information I get during book fest is invaluable. I learn more each year and I’m always looking forward to the next one.
As a writer, it is becoming more apparent to me that writers need community. Writing itself is such a lonely job. It’s important we make friends and connections with other writers so when we need to talk about it, someone who understands can listen. I have great friends, but most of them don’t know how hard it is to force myself to sit down and write page after page of words. This is where book fest comes in, I ask these authors where they make friends, how they stay motivated, what does their writing schedule look like. Do they outline or do they just write and hope for the best? Last year I got to hear Sara Shepard speak and I asked her how she tracked the plot lines of 16 books for Pretty Little Liars. It amazes me how she was able to add plots and twists based on what she got approved for in continuing the series. I also met Kasie West last year, who writes books like a maniac. Seriously, she is always putting out new books. It is very impressive. I got to pick her brain a little bit. I also got to meet the author of the Uglies series, who has a normal daily writing schedule. What? Teach me how to do that please.
As much as I love book fest and it feeds my little reading heart to the top just because I love books and I love reading them, book fest is my place to feel like a writer. Like, I already know I am a writer but being surrounded by other writers and being able to pick their brain for a few seconds is what sends me back every year. I would go even if I wasn’t a writer, but being a writer is what gets my heart the most excited to go.
In the next few years, I would love to go to a writing conference. Apparently, we have one in Vegas, I just discovered. These sorts of things don’t get advertised very well. I am always seeing author tours and conferences and wonder “why can’t things like that come to Vegas?!” Turns out they do, I just miss them. Maybe next year I can go to the writer’s conference.
As a writer, what kind of events do you like going to?