Tuesday, September 11, 2007

All in a Day's Work

I generally post to the blog every Tuesday, but it just didn't happen last week--and for good reason (I know, I'm always full of excuses). Not only did I have to get my son on an airplane so he could do the college thing half-way across the country--whatever! But I had to turn around and prepare to abandon my family as well. (Okay, "abandon" is a strong word only applicable to children who choose far away colleges when there are perfectly good ones around the corner.) I did, however, have to leave for a day, and a night, and another day. You see, I drove up to Fort Worth, TX, with a few of my comrades who also write children's books to participate in a conference for all of the school librarians in that area.

In a nutshell, we were there to schmooze.

Along with a bazillion other vendors, we had purchased a booth (actually, a long table) and tried to engage passing librarians into a conversation about our books, why they should have them in their library, and why they should hire us to visit their school for an Author Day. I've done about 30 of these school visits over the past two years (see above picture--baseball hat part of the gig), and they are, hands down, my favorite part of being an author. But back to the librarian conference...

The vendor room was basically set up like a maze of tables (think grocery store. No, think dollar store--the rows were very narrow). Unfortunately, I was at the farthest end of our table, and my book wasn't a picture book, like the other two authors. The mobs of eager librarians tended to stall out at the picture books. C'mon--they're children's librarians! Who wouldn't be drawn to all those colorful pictures? I made a decision right there. I WANT A PICTURE BOOK! Actually, I've been working on a picture book project, if you want to see.

Even though I had to do a bit more to get noticed (just a little yodeling and belly dancing--no biggie), I felt that the day was worthwhile. I passed out nearly 40 brochures about my school visits (which, by the way, if you're a school librarian, and want me visit your school, I'D LOVE TO! E-mail me. We'll talk), sold a few books, and schmoozed till my lips were numb and my feet fell off.

All in a day's work, right?


Candace Salima (LDS Nora Roberts) said...

That must have been a total blast and I bet you were awesome at it. I wonder if we have something like that here in Utah or was that a national thing? I think I'll call my library and find out.

Thanks for posting about this. You've got my brain cookin'!

Tamra Norton said...


The Texas educational system is divided into regions. This was the region covering Fort Worth--tons of school districts. I believe almost every region has a similar conference for their librarians. There must be something similar up in Utah.

Julie Wright said...

sounds so awesome! I want to come!

Janette Rallison said...

I've been to TLA twice and it is way amazing--but at the same time it reminds you what a very tiny fish you are in the sea of children's books.

Are you going to write a bearubs picture book? The site was way cute.

Tamra Norton said...


I've written 3 Bearubs picture books. David Lindsley, the Bearubs creator, took the prototypes to Book Expo America in NYC in June. Right now, the focus in on an animated episode series. David and I wrote up a proposal for 13 animated episodes for a DVD/TV series and some producer-type folks and investors seem to be interested. I focus on the writing end, and David, the artistic and business end. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

As for the books, I think he's going to self publish them for now.