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Nothing makes me love my state more than seeing it in all its literary glory. The Minnesota Book Awards is a wonderful showcase of the best this state has to offer in terms of words. Reading series and literary talks, such as those at the Hennepin County Library, attract major crowds.

The Twin Cities Book Festival is another fantastic literary event, and I attended on Saturday, Oct. 13.

Highlights of the day:

  • Attending the panel discussion on author publicity. I’ve attended similar panels in the past at different events, but this was the first one I attended where I could listen to the advice as an “author.” My book is coming out in March and I look forward to putting into action some of the advice I heard from Jocelyn Hale, The Loft executive director, Lorna Landvik, author extraordinaire (more on her later), Jerrold Jenkins, who owns a publishing services firm, and Steph Curtis, a producer at Minnesota Public Radio.
  • Feeling good about the state of publishing. I loved seeing so many authors peddling their non-mainstream books. It reminded me of what Jocelyn Hale said at the panel: “What’s your goal?” Not everyone’s goal is to sell books in the Stephen King or J.K. Rowling range. Simply getting a book published is a fantastic goal, and if you can get it in the hands of readers, even better. The authors on Saturday were working hard on the latter.

Kirstin Cronn-Mills at the Flux table with her book, Beautiful Music for Ugly Children. Photo by Rachael Hanel.

  • Seeing my friends signing their books. Nick Healy (It Takes You Over), Kirstin Cronn-Mills (Beautiful Music for Ugly Children) and Allen Learst (Dancing at the Gold Monkey) spent some time at their respective publishers’ tables. I hadn’t seen Al for a few years so it was nice to connect.
  • Meeting Facebook friends I had not met in person. Yes, I’m a person who will friend people on Facebook I’ve never met if we have several mutual friends. I finally got to speak to Esther Porter, Blake Hoena, and Kate Kysar. I connected with my friend Lisa MB Simons, whom thankfully I met in person before I friended her on Facebook 🙂 Same with my good friend Jim Rogers.
  • Chatting with Lorna Landvik. I tend to “geek out” at these types of events and have been known to gush accolades at my favorite authors. (Look for a future post about such a moment with Alison Bechdel). Lorna has a fabulous story in that she is so well-known for humorous fiction but when she wanted to write a book that features aliens, her publisher said, “Ummm, no.” It didn’t fit the Lorna Landvik “brand.” But she’s like, I’m Lorna Landvik. I’m writing this book. Therefore, it is a Lorna Landvik book! She decided to self-publish Mayor of the Universe and is pounding the pavement to do her own publicity. She currently doesn’t have a book deal for any future books. I like to think when she’s ready to write more books, someone will pick her up in an instant.
  • I thought it was funny that you can buy Pronto Pups at the state fairgrounds (where the book festival was held) even when it’s not State Fair time. Too bad there wasn’t a  Sweet Martha’s cookies booth.

Some of the info I picked up on Saturday. Submit, submit, submit! I plan to.

Do you regularly attend writing/book festivals? What are your favorite moments when doing so?