Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Mountain of Authors

Last Saturday, March 28th, I participated in the Pikes Peak Library District's third annual Mountain of Authors program at the East Library. The event started early for local authors participating in the Author Showcase. We checked in sometime between 9 and 11 am, set up our book sale table displays, had our photos taken, and socialized with the other authors. After a catered box lunch at 11:30 am, the doors opened to the public at 12:30 pm. The 100 or so chairs in the room quickly filled, and library staff scrambled to set up additional chairs.

The publishers panel kicked off at 1pm, moderated by Kirk Farber, a library staffer whose first novel, Postcards From a Dead Girl, will be published by Harper Perennial in early 2010. Covering self-publishing, small presses, and large presses, the speakers were Lisa Gilman from About Books, Doris Baker from Filter Press, and Mick Silva from WaterBrook, Multnomah Publishing Group. They did an outstanding job of covering the huge topic of how to get published and the pros and cons of each approach in a brief hour. Right after the panel, there was a rush of interest at the Pikes Peak Writers table. All the handouts that President Ron Heimbecher brought about the group and our April conference vanished in a few minutes.

The second panel, Words & Pictures, kicked off at 2:30 pm with Todd Caudle, a photographer who publishes his own calendars and photo books, Maria Faulconer, a children's picture book author (and good friend), and Michael Hague, a well-known illustrator (who produces the Imagination Celebration posters each year) and recent graphic novel author. Moderated by Karin Huxman, a romance and children's picture book author herself, the panel discussed the collaboration between authors and illustrators and the differences in publishing and promoting illustrations and photographs as compared to words. This entertaining group produced quite a few laughs from the attentive audience.

After a break, we local authors whose tables ringed the room had a chance to stand up and give a brief pitch about the books we were offering for sale before the start of the Author Showcase Booksigning. Since my second mystery novel, To Hell in a Handbasket, won't be released until May, I was there again this year with my first novel, A Real Basket Case. I was gratified that I was still able to sell a few copies to locals who hadn't bought one yet in the two years that it's been out.

I stayed after the signing to hear Beverly Lewis, the keynote speaker, at 6 pm. I have met her at local author events and admire her gracious demeanor as well as her amazing writing ability to crank out 80 published adult and children's books since 1993. Her talk about her research of the Amish culture of Lancaster County, PA, for her various Amish series books was fascinating and had the audience riveted.

I have served as an author consultant, representing Pikes Peak Writers, to the planning committee for this event for the past two years, and I was heartened to see that this year's event was just as successful as last year's. I also met the new chair of the planning committee, Kevin Hudgens, a reference librarian who, it turns out, went to high school and college with my daughter. I'm looking forward to working with him in the future. Small world!


L. Diane Wolfe said...

Sounds like an incredible day!

I love events like that...

L. Diane Wolfe

Jane Kennedy Sutton said...

Sounds like a great event!

Jane Kennedy Sutton

Morgan Mandel said...

Sounds like a fun time. I love such local events.

Morgan Mandel

Mary Welk said...

Good to know the event was so successful. It's a nice way to meet both readers and fellow writers (who of course are readers too, but you know what I mean). Sometimes these community affairs are more fun that the large conferences.