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Author Robin Wasserman Dishes on Winter Institute 7

January 27, 2012

Last weekend marked the 7th annual Winter Institute event organized by the ABA (American Booksellers Association).  The event, which was held in the great city of New Orleans and was attended by 500 booksellers, over 60 authors, and many publishers, is a great opportunity for industry folks to mingle, see old friends and meet new ones, share great ideas and good books, listen to dynamic speakers, and eat delicious food! 

This year, the two RHCB authors in attendance were David Levithan whose latest book, EVERY DAY, is scheduled to pub this fall, and Robin Wasserman, whose new YA mystery novel, BOOK OF BLOOD AND SHADOW, goes on sale April 10, 2012. 

In a preview post we ran last fall, Kate wrote this about Book of Blood and Shadow:

For the reader who loves a good mystery, The Book of Blood and Shadow will not disappoint. From the opening scene, yup it starts with a murder, through the fast-paced chases in Prague, “secret societies and  shadowy conspirators”, keep everyone guessing about who they can really trust. This book is a wild ride, a smart, literary thriller with enough twists and turns that you’ll want to stay up late to find out what happens next and who really did it and why. Think DaVinci Code for teen readers, and a great book for the grown up mystery lover too.

Today, we’re delighted to have Robin join RAoR to give us the WI7 scoop, from an author’s perspective.  (And to remind us what an amazing writer she is….)  We also share tons of pictures from weekend – you may see yourself if you keep reading!        

When my Random House publicist got in touch with me to ask whether I’d be interested in going to Winter Institute in New Orleans this year, I sent back some supremely professional email expressing polite interest and gratitude for the opportunity…and then I leapt out of my chair and starting dancing around my living room, squealing about getting a free trip to New Orleans. In the middle of winter, no less.

(I should mention here that I get unseemly giddy about the prospect of any kind of business-related travel. I’ve been known to do the dance of joy over a trip to Altoona.)

At some point in the midst of my dancing and squealing, I think it occurred to me to wonder: What’s this Winter Institute thing? 

But then I probably just shrugged and went back to plotting my beignet tour of the French Quarter. (Which was, I’m proud to say, exhaustive.) 

I’m admitting all of this so that you know what it means when I say: The free trip to New Orleans was great. The experience of attending Winter Institute was even better. (And would have been even if it had been held in the basement of my Brooklyn apartment building, although I’m forever grateful that it wasn’t.) 

It turns out that the Winter Institute is when a giant horde of independent booksellers all descend on one city and spend the week swapping trade secrets about the business of selling books. That’s what I’m told, at least. I only caught a one day glimpse of it, and what I saw was a ballroom full of people incredibly passionate about books and an enthusiastic collection of authors eager to meet them. (I love almost nothing more than signing books, but I can’t tell you what agony it was to be trapped behind a signing table when KA Applegate, Buzz Bissinger, and Richard Ford were sitting at tables of their own, only a few feet away.  Nathan Englander had the misfortune of being at the table next to mine; I tried not to drool all over him and his gorgeous new book, but I can’t promise I succeeded.)

I’ve never met so many booksellers; I’ve never had so many wonderful conversations about books and writing and publishing, all in one night.  I would have happily given up my heaping piles of beignets to have spent more time inside the conference area. (And not just because it would have given me the chance to leap at Ann Patchett and hang on until security pried me away.) 

Writing books can be a very solitary endeavor–and sending those books out into the world, having pretty much no idea about (and absolutely no control over) what’s going to happen to them, can be terrifying.  But spending just one day with this community has given me faith that my terrified little book is going to be in good hands.

People kept coming up to me to introduce themselves–people who’ve devoted their lives to getting books into the hands of readers.  And these people, who work tirelessly to keep their stores afloat, who care more about their communities and their customers than I ever would have guessed, who’ve made it possible for me to live this dream-come-true life with its book signings and free trips to New Orleans–these people would, unbelievably, thank me for writing books, and then run away before I could convince them that I wasn’t the one who needed to be thanked.  Fortunately, I get the last word. So, to all the awesome booksellers I met last week, and the ones I didn’t: Thank you.

 Authors Robin Wasserman and David Levithan at the WI7 Author Reception.

Heather, Bookseller at Children’s Book World, holding a newly signed copy of the Book of Blood and Shadow ARC.

Robin poses behind a stack of books with Jill, co-owner of the children’s bookstore bbgb.

Greg Ferguson, Editor for Egmont USA Publisher, holds the signed copy he got for his wife.

Delicious New Orleans cuisine and Robin on Bourbon Street after dinner.

Octavia Books, one of New Orleans famous Independent Bookstores!

To read more about WI7 click here and here.  Also, we have signed copies of the Book of Blood and Shadow ARC and we’d love for you to read it, so please comment below if you’d like a copy!

3 Comments leave one →
  1. January 27, 2012 8:40 am

    I loved reading about this event, about which I knew nothing. The energy in the room must have been amazing. I’d love a copy of the book; it sounds like a great mystery. Thank you very much!

  2. January 27, 2012 10:01 am

    Getting together with booksellers is so much fun. It always gives me hope!

    • Erin permalink
      January 27, 2012 9:38 pm

      Congratulations on getting Freshly Pressed! Exciting!

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