SCBWI’s presence at ALA Midwinter in Seattle was a great success in getting member books in front of librarians, and in giving them information about how SCBWI can be valuable resource they should use.
A constant stream of librarians inquired about the display of our members’ books and were impressed with all the high-quality and in some cases award-winning titles. The author video reel was viewed by the thousands of attendees who walked the aisles looking for information about new books. We also had the captive audiences of the librarians who were standing in line at the signings at our booth, and those of our neighboring booths, which prompted conversation with our team. What we found was that having physical copies of the books and our members speaking to them engaged the librarians in a positive way we hadn’t seen before. On hand, too, were copies of the Recommended Reading List, which attendees were eager to peruse.
Signings with our PAL writers and illustrators proved to be another successful way of bringing focus to the quality and diversity of SCBWI membership. Participants at the autograph booth included Suzanne Kaufman, Martha Brockenbrough, Jessixa Bagley, Aaron Bagley, Justina Chen, Kim Baker, Corinna Luyken, and Board of Advisors member Arthur A. Levine. Our stellar mix of picture book, YA, and middle grade creators drew overflow crowds at each signing. We gave away every book that was generously donated by the publishers.
Our Director of Special Projects, Kim Turrisi, was a featured panelist on one of the main stages around the topic “Our Own Voices: YA Authors Share Fiction Based on Their Own Stories.” Kim is the author of Just A Normal Tuesday, published by KCP Loft.
HQ team members at the SCBWI booth–Lin Oliver, Sarah Baker, Kim Turrisi, and Tammy Brown–had incredible support by the western Washington regional team, consisting of Co-RAs Julie Artz and Holly Huckeba, Assistant RA Kary Lee, Illustrator Coordinator Kevan Atteberry, and monthly meeting coordinator Lily LaMotte. The regional team took the opportunity to promote the authors and illustrators in western Washington to the local librarians with their regional visit directory. A big thank you to the region for their help!
We also took a couple of social opportunities to meet with members, librarians, agents, and editors. It was a full house at the regional members event where Lin gave words of praise and encouragement to all the members who attended. The social event at our booth on the show floor that was packed with friends and colleagues of SCBWI.
With the exposure for our members’ books with librarians and publishing industry pros, meeting regional authors and illustrators, and having the chance to promote SCBWI within the industry, ALA Midwinter proved to be an event that was worth the time and resource investment by SCBWI.