My Experience at North Texas Teen Book Festival 2015

Hey y’all! As many of you know, yesterday was the very first NTTBF, hosted by the Irving Public Library. I went with my sister, and it was a lot of fun!

(My sister Mandy, Mary the amazing book rep, and me!)

I got five books (two were free! I’ll expand on that later), five buttons, and some awesome promotional material. This is my haul:

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So here’s my breakdown of the festival.

What I Liked: 

– The only required cost was the five dollars per car for parking. They put this whole thing on for free, y’all!
The authors we met were SO nice! After panels, they stayed for a while and answered questions, took photos, and even signed stuff! This was awesome for school groups that might not get to stay for the signings.
The Simon & Schuster book rep was AMAZING! She talked to us quite a lot, and she was so fun! We’re now facebook friends, and she gave us a total of five free books, as well as some awesome book promo stuff that might make an appearance in a future giveaway! Isn’t that so sweet?! You’re the best, Mary!!
The lines for book signings started way early, so our wait for Jenny Han and Stephanie Perkins wasn’t bad at all. When the signings actually started, we were done with four authors in half an hour! What what?!
–  The book shop room was very organized, and I loved that they had some pre-signed so you could get them personalized or just skip that line if you wanted.
The volunteers seemed to have an awesome grip on things. As far as I saw, everything ran smoothly. Of course there were some crowds, but you’re going to run into that no matter what convention you visit. I saw a harsh comment about that on the fest’s instagram, and I was just floored by the fact that someone let that ruin their trip and made them decide not to come back. I mean, I was with a pregnant sister and she was okay with the crowding. It’s a fact of convention/festival life.
The panels were so much more interesting than I thought they would be. This sounds really bad, but I’ve never liked being talked at, and I expected the panels to be like a multi-lecturer class. Yuck. But they were so fun and I learned so much from them, especially:
— Varian Johnson, who talked about why diversity and representation matter in characters AND authors.
— Tera Lynn Childs, who gave me advice on writing my own retelling.
— Claire Legrand, who showed me that you’re never too young to be successful.
– Everything was so easy to find! They had signs outside of the rooms so you could see what panels would be in there and at what time. From someone who struggles with maps and every kind of navigation, THANK YOU.

What I Didn’t Like:

– One author was crazy annoying. I’m not going to name names because I don’t want to get hate from the fans and it just wouldn’t be nice. But seriously, she was the worst. She spoke way too loudly and too much. She rambled in every single answer, wasting time so people couldn’t ask a lot of questions at the end of the panel. She made every single question about herself, even when they were directed at other authors. Like, when the question was “If you had the opportunity, who would you throw darts at?” And she said her past self. When asked who inspires her, she said her past self. EVERYTHING WAS ABOUT HER. She was just so frustrating, to the point where we considered not going to a panel when we thought she was going to be there.
The ‘swag shop’ was SUPER disappointing. It was just buttons and sharpies. We expected things like shirts, totes, posters. But since it was a first time festival, I can see not wanting to get a bunch of stuff that may not sell. Hopefully next year there will be more offered.
We had an interaction with the ballsiest girl we’ve ever seen. We were in line for Stephanie Perkins, one of the biggest authors at the fest, with only about three people ahead of us. This chick was kind of weaving through lines, and asked us to excuse her so she could get by. We moved, since she was polite, but her destination was THE FRONT OF THE LINE. Like seriously, she walked up to the side of the table and caught Stephanie before the next person could, talked to her for a while, and finally left by SQUEEZING PAST US AGAIN. We were too shocked to say anything. Did anyone else encounter this girl? She had really long red hair and glasses, I think. Let me know if she cut in front of your line too!
Some of the people were SO greedy! When we were talking to Mary the S&S Rep near the end of the day, this girl kept trying to sneak away books with absolutely NO shame. At one point she legit said “Shame isn’t in my vocabulary.” Mary kept telling her to stop, that she couldn’t have the books, etc. And then she said “Girl, you already got a full set of the Mortal Instruments series.” THAT’S LIKE SIX FREE HARDCOVER BOOKS, Y’ALL. AND SHE WAS STILL TRYING TO STEAL MORE. That is super not okay, and it’s totally taking advantage of the reps! Mary even said that two of her books had been stolen, one of which was signed personally for her by the author that SHE REPRESENTED. At the end of the fest, we watched her table so she could take a bathroom break. And at the table next to us, a girl was trying to get a sympathy ARC. Here was the ridiculous exchange:

Girl: I want this book sooooo bad….
Rep: Well, it comes out in June, so you don’t have to wait too long!
Girl: But June is soooo far away…I wish I could read it now….
Rep: I’m sorry! June will be here before you know it!

And the girl just kept going! That poor rep. I would not want to deal with these people, and if you acted like one of these people, you should add shame to your vocabulary because those reps deserve to be treated better and you need to stop acting like a greedy thief. Do you think that behavior makes the reps want to come back? No. So be nice and STOP STEALING so that the rest of us can continue to have a good time with these awesome workers that took time to be at the fest and be awesome. Ugh.

As you can tell, the fest was amazing, and most bad experiences I had were the result of individual people. Of course, these frustrations didn’t even come close to ruining the experience (though it took me a while to shake off the shock of the line-cutter. Who does that?!), and I cannot wait to come back next year!!

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Thanks to the Irving Public Library and all of the sponsors for putting on this AWESOME event, and I can’t wait to see what you have for us next year!! (Hopefully Kiera Cass and Rainbow Rowell will make an appearance!)

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4 thoughts on “My Experience at North Texas Teen Book Festival 2015

  1. DANG! You encountered a lot of not so awesome people! i didn’t see any of them except for one of the volunteers who was being a total jerk because he was put in charge of a crazy long signing line. and you could tell he was over it. But that’s the only bad experience I had. But man, you encountered a lot of the greedy people, and I’m sorry for that. I agree, the swag shop could have gone down a little better. I also think that they should have had a few greeters in the morning to tell people what everything was about and where everything was located, even though there was a flyer/bulletin thing. And beside the Reading the Rainbow panel where people were being turned away because it was in such a small room was a bit frustrating for some, but I think they will change that next year. As far as I’m concerned everyone did a bang up job! I was surprised at how smoothly the event ran overall. I can’t wait for next year!

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    • Yeah, those people weren’t so great. But I knew they were probably few and far between, so I tried to ignore it. Haha. I’m sorry your line leader was a jerk! I bet by that point in the day, everyone was getting tired and grouchy. The greeter idea is really good, especially since there were other conventions there that day! I thought the Rainbow panel was going to be a clear popular one, so I’m surprised it wasn’t held in one of the ballrooms. I totally agree, I thought it would have a lot more snags, but for a first time event it was amazing! I can’t wait to see how they rework and improve the planning next year so it’ll be even better!!

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  2. Great blog post!! I had one of the best days of my life at the festival.
    GAH I can’t believe some of those stories! I didn’t encounter anyone like that! :O At least it didn’t ruin the experience for you!!

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    • Thanks!! It was so much fun, and definitely made attending more book events a higher priority. And seriously, I was floored by the behavior some of these people had. But hopefully they mature by next year, haha!

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