Every other week, the AJC DBF will have a different literary blogger share their "Inside Scoop" on various tracks, authors, and opportunities that will be at #dbf2016. Stay tuned for these curated sneak peeks into all the magic at this year's festival!
In recent years Labor Day Weekend has become one of my favorite holidays. This holiday used to not mean much more to me than an extra day to sleep late and the opportunity to gorge on more hot dogs than usual. That all changed when the AJC Decatur Book Festival (DBF) jumped into my life and demanded attention. Now every year I abandon my family for three days and head to Decatur, where I gorge on books, authors, publishing houses and food that is much better than a couple of hot dogs.
Three days to absorb the sights, sounds and smells of books and book related people. If you love books, you simply cannot top this experience. Authors of all varieties and notoriety are running around smiling and having no issue with stopping to share a quick word, autograph or photo opportunity. Publishers are more than happy to share their books with you and discuss each one in-depth. There are so many opportunities to attend speaking events that you would need two clones of yourself to attend them all.
That is where my dilemma always begins. What speaking events are “musts” for me? Which ones would I be crushed to miss? I study the event guide and make notes like I’m working on my thesis to decide who, where, when and how much time I have in between to leave one event and get to the next.
When I attend DBF, I not only want to rub shoulders with the authors, but the publishers are very important to me also, as that’s where most of the books overflowing from 8 bookcases in my house come from. (I think my husband cries when the mail lady comes to the house and drops yet more packages all over the front doorstep.) Many people have told me that book reviewing shouldn’t be treated as a job, but I disagree. It’s a truly enjoyable job that allows me to be in the book industry without actually trying to figure out how the heck to write a book and then speak in public about it, but it has deadlines, communication needs and reliability issues just like…a job.
So as a reviewer and book pusher in general, while trolling the event pages for this year’s DBF, one panel leapt off the page and screamed for attention.
When I saw that this year there is a panel titled, “Book Publicity: How the Sausage is Made” (Sunday, 12:00 in the Marriott Conference Center, Room C) I was instantly smitten. This panel is going to discuss the ins and outs of the book publicity and book reviewing process, offering insight, advice and cautionary tales along the way.
In my line of work — or book pushing as I call it — having a panel of experts sit together and let you know what they are looking for when approached by peons like us for books to review or when they reach out and approach reviewers themselves is a HUGE learning opportunity. I strive constantly to work with publishers and publicists in a productive manner, but I’m sure that there are improvements to be made.
The fact that Michael Taeckens, who I have worked with forever, since his days as Publicity Director at Algonquin, will be on the panel was an extra bonus. Michael is a co-founder of Broadside PR and has an extensive knowledge base involving getting those books out in front of the readers. He also took on a little known reviewer early in her “career” and brought her into the Algonquin stable, for which I will ever be grateful. Kate Tuttle, Director of the Decatur Writers Studio, and Whitney Peeling, whose career path included Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and W.W. Norton, are also on the panel. This is a fabulous, and to me very important, group of people to be able to get up close and personal with. The opportunity to absorb some of their knowledge is huge.
Therefore, even though I plan to attend as many events as possible and become an exhausted puddle of a person by Sunday afternoon, this is the one panel that I will be sure to arrive at early, be extremely attentive and yes, take notes. I may even become bold enough to ask a question for the first time ever.
Kinah Lindsay, aka Idgie @the Dew
Idgie started Dew on the Kudzu, a book review and short story website, in 2005 as a labor of love and is proud to say that to this day it’s still a mad romance. She considers herself a "Book Pusher" and yes, a “Book Bully” when trying to get great stories into readers hands.