The time we went to ALA

Posted June 24, 2012 by Stacee in Signings | 8 Comments

I bought tickets for ALA12 in Anaheim before I even knew what it was. I figured for $25 it was worth a chance. Plus, I’ve spent way more on less.

Leading up to the start, I made a list of various authors who were going to be there and the ARCs I was going to try and get my hands on. The ever so lovely Michelle shared her awesome chart with me and when I finally looked all through it, she had scheduled everything for me!

Saturday was the day we were planning on going. Last minute, I decided that we should go up on Friday to get our badges and when I saw Jackson Pearce would be signing, it was a definite thing.

We went into the convention center with the plan to see Jackson and go around to a few of the big publishers booths to scope everything out. From the holding area outside, we were able to see the aisle Jackson was going to be at. And when we walked in? The LBB YA booth was right there.

Everyone swarmed the booth for ARCs and I was able to walk right up to Jackson. I had my copy for Purity for her to sign. She thanked me for coming because she was worried that no one would show up. When I told her that I was there just for her, she looked up at me and asked if I was the Stacee on Twitter. I can’t stop laughing at this question.

After I confirmed that I was, she thanked me again for coming. I then walked over to the ARC table and got two more of her books to have signed. By then, Jackson had a good line and wasn’t really able to talk to everyone. She had been writing tag lines in each of the books and had to stop…

When I got back up to her, I asked if we could quickly get a picture and she said yes.

From there, it was like being dropped down the rabbit hole. People were pushing and throwing elbows and just being rude. I’ve been making jokes about this for a while, how I’m prepared to go all ninja on people and yet, I didn’t expect it to actually happen. We did see Kami Garcia in the middle of the smackdown at Penguin and yet, she still put her bags down and shook our hands.

Most booths had lines, but some were just a free for all. Some people were just standing in the aisles passing out candy or bags or books or children. Okay, not that last one…

We hit Harper Collins and I wanted to slap myself for not realizing the Rae Carson that Michelle had been so eager to see was in fact the author of Girl of Fire and Thorns. We got in line for her [after having a conversation with Rae about how gorgeous the new Shatter Me redesign is].

I bought the hard cover of Girl and got the ARC of Crown of Embers. Rae was delightful, commenting on how horribly hot it was [seriously, this is an understatement. 10 minutes in and I was drenched in sweat. Attractive, I know]. I told Rae I was going to wear a bathing suit on Saturday and she said she was going naked. We both started laughing, I thanked her for signing and told her not to melt away.

We started walking around some of the smaller booths [Less people! More a/c!]. At one point, we rounded a corner and literally happened upon Mike Mullin. I had him on my schedule for Saturday, so it was cool to be able to see him early.

I bought Ashfall and got the ARC of Ashen Winter. Mike does a lot of events at libraries and part of his event is a Tae Kwan Do demonstration. When I told him that I was planning on going to his upcoming signing in Oceanside, Mike stated that he was going to call me up to break all of the boards.

He then told us how he carried a cement block through the airport in his luggage and he thought for sure TSA was going to stop him, but they let him through without any delay.

After asking if I was a librarian and then briefly talking about my blog, he signed my books, I thanked him for coming and we were on our way.

For the most part, everyone at the booths were super friendly and accommodating. I did have several people walk away from me once they found out I was a blogger. Or that I wasn’t a librarian, or in the “industry”. Other people were happy to grab me ARCs that I made general questions about.

Two upcoming books that I’m really excited about are Betrayal by Gregg Olsen and Middle Ground by Katie Kacvinsky. I was able to get both ARCs and in both instances, the people working the booths went out of their way to get copies for me.

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After 2 hours, we had 7 bags FILLED with books. Books on top of books. And then more books after that. I felt like I had simultaneously run a marathon, given birth [even though I don’t have kids] and participated in one of those clearance sales on designer wedding dresses but it was held on Black Friday.


Saturday was all about the schedule.  I had authors that I wanted to see every hour starting at 10 am and ending at 3:30.  Usually there were more than one author signing at the same time and that’s where team tactics came in.

If you take away nothing from this blog, please take this: If you plan on going to any sort of book convention, take at least one person with you. I could not have seen as many people as I did or get as many books as I came home with if I didn’t have the help of Ava, Kim, Michelle and my ever-so-amazing husband.  Our schedules were all pretty similar, so we were able to always send someone ahead [usually my husband] to get in line at the next signing.

Upon entering the convention, Hubs and I headed right to Penguin for Ally Condie and Marie Lu.  The signing was to start at 10 and they weren’t starting a line until about 15-20 minutes before hand. They weren’t sure if there was going to be one single line or a different line for each woman.  After a few minutes, one of the girls confirmed there would be two lines and came around giving sticker numbers to indicate your place in line.  Ava and I were first for Ally, Hubs and Michelle went for Marie.

The sign I made for the booth.

Ally and Marie got to the booth right at 10.  Both ladies settled in and then they told us that I could head over.  Now.  I found Ally and her books late in the game.  I was able to catch her at a signing in NorCal when she toured for Crossed and get a personalized copy, but I had never met her before.

I thanked her for being at the event and flailed all over her. I’m sure she was super interested to know how I tracked down signed copies of her books.  *cough* Either way, she took it all in stride, smiling and just being so so so sweet.

After Ava got her stuff signed, we ran over to Marie’s line where Hubs had stickers numbers for us.  To get an ARC of Prodigy, you needed to buy a copy of Legend.  The girl who was running the register wasn’t sure if she was allowed to sell me two copies, but she did.  I sent a text to Kassiah to see if she needed either book.

When I got up to Marie, of course, I thanked her and we started chatting while she signed… And when she opened Kassiah’s copy, Marie asked how to pronounce it.  Somehow, I started flailing about Kassiah and how adorable her accent is, especially when she says her own name.  So there’s that…

While we were getting things signed for Marie, Hubs was in line for Libba Bray.  Ava and I went running over to her booth to get copies of The Diviners. He had gotten sticker numbers, but if you weren’t in line by the time you got to the author, only one book was given out.

Thankfully, we got there just in time.

Libba is adorable.  Right when I got up to her, she commented on the frames to my glasses, saying that she really liked them.  I said that I really liked hers.  They were quick to push us through the line, so I thanked her for signing and we left.

After Libba, our schedule was wiiiiiiiiide open to make sure we got in line for Unravel Me at 12:30.  All of us were stalking the Harper Collins booth and finally, [after seeing Gretchen McNeil briefly to look at her “hugging shoes”] there was an “unofficial” line starting up.  I quickly got in it and assured Michelle that I would stay in line [Ava and Kim had gone somewhere else and Hubs was wandering].

After about 30 seconds of being in the “unofficial” line, a girl from HC moved us and made it the official line.  People started running and screaming and I went from being about 10th in line to being about 25th.  There was also a rumor floating around the line that there was only going to be 2 copies to be handed out.  That was quickly squashed when the HC rep assured us there were plenty books for everyone.

I sent out a mass text informing everyone where I was in the line and that we were now official. After a few moments, they had a HC rep come by with post-its to give us our number.  Hubs was gone, so I asked if I was able to get his number for him. The woman looked at me and deadpanned, “And he wants a copy for himself?” I assured her that yes, yes he did.

Finally, we got up to the table and we were given our copies in exchange for the number.  We heard that they had cut off the line and there was only 55 copies total.  I don’t know if that’s true or not.

When we got up to Tahereh, she saw us in line before we approached her.  And when it was our turn, after I thanked her for coming out, she thanked us saying that it was always nice to see familiar faces at her events. Hubs [acting as Kassiah] handed Tahereh his copy.  She looked at Hubs a bit oddly and then I started to explain how Kassiah had rearranged her entire BEA schedule to get me Shadow of Night and getting her Unravel Me was my return gift.

After Tahereh, Hubs ran to one booth for Maggie Stiefvater and I ran to another for Kendare Blake.  The line for Kendare was insane, but it hadn’t been cut off and I was able to get an ARC of Girl of Nightmares.  Instead of numbers, they had someone walking through the line, passing them out. Basically, your ARC was your ticket.  Ava and Kim quickly joined me and we just hung out.

When we got up to Kendare, I said hi, but Ava jumped right in, telling Kendare my Twitter handle.  Kendare remembered me from stalking talking to her on Twitter and asked why I didn’t introduce myself.  I said I just didn’t do that and explained that Ava had somehow given herself the role of my pimp.

I’m pretty sure there isn’t a better inscription out there…

Ava and I were able to run over to Maggie right after Kendare, since she was signing around the corner.  I was able to get a copy of The Scorpio Races and ARCs of The Raven Boys.

When I got up to Maggie and she opened my book, she commented on how at first she thought my name said “Steak”.  I said that it wasn’t that bad, that I liked steak in general and that Apple was a pretty cool name.  Plus, I am a Stacee with two e’s, so… Maggie said there was no way that Stacee was worse than Steak.  I sort of wish I would have asked her to sign one of the books as “Steak”…

After Maggie, Hubs and I had to pull over and assess what we had.  We combined a lot of things and while he went to bag check [a steal at $2 a bag], I went back to the Scholastic booth to get in line again for Libba Bray for Beauty Queens.

When I got up to her this time, the first thing she asked me was is if she could try on my glasses or would I consider that too creepy.  My answer was that I didn’t care, but they might be sweaty and gross.  She took mine, I took hers and we got a picture of the two of us together, wearing each other’s frames.  After we traded back, she signed my copy of Beauty Queens, I thanked her and we were off for about an hour with nothing to do.

We wandered around a bit with Michelle, eventually making it to the very small graphic novel section of the convention.  After killing about 30 minutes, Michelle headed in one direction and I headed to Sarah J Maas.

Now.  Between the review post I wrote and my general flailing on Twitter, I’m pretty sure everyone knows how I feel about Sarah and Throne of Glass. Her line was a pretty good size.  I got there just after 3 and it was already down the aisle, I was on the corner.

I had planned on playing it cool.  I wasn’t going to say anything or introduce myself, just get my ARC signed and quietly walk away.  And then Sarah opened my book and saw the post-it with my name on it…We both squee’d a bit and we both gushed about how nice it was to meet.  She said that she wanted to write something really special, but couldn’t think of anything.  I told her that I’d see her for the release party, so maybe then.  After thanking her, I stepped to the side for Ava to get things signed.

More like, I stepped to the side to really start flailing. Her husband, who I was standing next to, must think I’m a total spaz.  I sort of jumped back in while Ava was there and asked Sarah if I could get a picture with her.  Ava started giggling and said that it must be just like Stephanie Perkins again. I told Ava that it might be worse than with Stephanie.  Sarah jumped in and said, “Really? It’s Stephanie Perkins, though.”

And even though Sarah wasn’t supposed to take pictures because her line was so long, she did anyways. :D

And with Sarah being our last person on the schedule, Hubs and I said goodbye to Ava and Kim and we started to head out…

But wait, there’s more.  We just happened to walk passed LBBYA where Laini Taylor was still signing.  We snuck over to the booth and picked up the last two copies of Daughter of Smoke and Bone they were selling, along with chapter samples of Days of Blood and Starlight and a super cool reusable bag with DoSaB on the side of it.  And being the last in line, we were able to chat with Laini for a minute while she signed.  She also took a picture with me.  [Her hair is even more amazing in person].

Hubs was prepared to do more walking around if I wanted, but by then, I was beyond ready to go.  Even though I have bruises all over my legs from people hitting me with bags, broken capilaries on my shoulders from carrying those same bags and welts on the inside of my arms from the plastic pieces on my backpack, ALA was a blast.  I was able to see a lot of authors I haven’t before and the books were amazing.  If you’re able to get to one, I highly recommend it.


If you’ve made it this far reading the post and you’re still with me, congratulations.  There’s just a bit more.  I’m planning on my very first giveaway.  I don’t have all of the details worked out yet, but I will show you what I’ll be giving away:

That stack has the following books:

Prodigy and Legend by Marie Lu [signed]
The Crown of Embers by Rae Carson [signed]
Ashen Winter by Mike Mullin [signed]
Betrayal by Gregg Olson [unsigned]
Rift by Andrea Cremer [unsigned]
Wonder by R.J. Palacio [signed]
Beauty Queens [signed] and The Diviners [unsigned] by Libba Bray
The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater [signed]
Daughter of Smoke & Bone [signed] & sample chapters of Days of Blood & Starlight [unsigned] by Laini Taylor
Matched and Crossed by Ally Condie [signed]

As I said before, I’m not sure how I’m going to do this.  Yet.  I expect the giveaway will be up within the week.  Keep your eye out for it!!!

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8 responses to “The time we went to ALA

  1. ooo. There weren't any arcs of Crown of Embers when she signed on Saturday (but didn't have to pay for Girl of Fire and Thorns, so can't complain).

    How Penguin did the Prodigy arcs bummed me out since I just got Legend at Festival of Books.

    That explains what Mike Mullins was doing! I wandered by a booth where he did an unlisted signing early on Saturday (looked to have been finished) And he was trying to get someone to let him show her something and I think it was something about boards. I never got back around for his scheduled time that day. I got in line for Melissa Marr early, then hurried to line up for Deborah Harkness

  2. I had four people I wanted to see at 2 on Saturday, Mike being one of them. I had to figure out who I wanted to see the most!

    I would have been at Deborah, but a friend got me a copy of SoN from BEA earlier this month, plus, I have tickets to see her next month at a local bookstore. I gave her up at ALA because I really want to hear her talk about the series.

    I wasn't surprised that the majority of the “in demand” ARCs were free with purchase… I was just happy to be able to get everything I wanted [and some things I didn't even know where available!!] Besides, now with all of the extras, I have something for a giveaway!!

  3. The line for Deborah was one of the longer ones. Maybe not as long as Tahereh's. But even for as long as some of the lines were, they all moved fast.

    I'm hoping that some of the YA will show up at Mrs. Nelson's when the books get released. And that worked well for you, having giveaway copies reasonably cheap.

  4. Jen

    I'm a librarian who was at ALA and I have to say, I'm kind of appalled that people were rude to you when they found out you're not a librarian. That's WHY they sell exhibit-only passes! I'm kind of jealous, since I missed most of the signings, having to actually go to meetings and things, but I am very impressed!

  5. Hi Jen!

    Yes!! That is my thought exactly. If “they” don't want people who aren't in the industry attending, badges shouldn't be available to the public. Or have a section that is strictly industry only.

    There were only two booths I really had problems with, everyone else was pretty amazing.

  6. Hi Stacee! This is such an awesome recap. I went as well and as one of the first in the unofficial line for Tahereh, I remember someone asking Gretchen McNeil about her hugging shoes. :) Sounds like you had a great time. Also, could you message me which pubs gave you a hard time? You don't have to but I had an especially bad experience with one of them and was wondering if it was the same pub. :/ Sigh. But the rest were so nice! Great job on taking all the pics. This was my third time and I still have a hard time remembering to take them! Thank goodness for my mom!!

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