Monday, June 1, 2009

Meeting OLIVIA!

I met one of my literary heroes this weekend. This may sound silly...but it's true. I got my picture taken with Olivia, from the picture book OLIVIA, by Ian Falconer. Olivia actually stars in a whole series of books. Among her many attributes are boldness, independence, determination and creativity.

I could go on and on about the wonders of Olivia, but first, let me backtrack a moment. This weekend was Book Expo America, one of the biggest annual conferences in the book publishing industry. The Expo filled the Jacob Javits Center (NYC) with several football fields worth of books and book-related merchandise. Bibliophile heaven. And a minefield of contact-building opportunities for a newly-published author (yours truly) to take advantage of.

My encounter with Miss Olivia occurred quite by chance, smack dab in the middle of a weekend of heavy networking, shameless self-promotion (not to mention a little shameful self-promotion...), book-talking, walking and fighting through crowds. For three solid days, I'd boldly and repeatedly approached teachers, librarians, fellow authors, editors, publishers, booksellers and everyone else you can imagine, promoting my novel.

By Saturday afternoon, I was exhausted, dragging a giant bag of books and flyers, and generally feeling ready to be done with the whole mess. I'd begun to feel socially awkward, pushy, inarticulate, ineffective and downright ridiculous (in varying degrees of severity). I was proud of myself for networking so hard, but at the same time, I felt small and rather defeated by the throng.

When I rounded a corner and came face to face with Olivia, instantly, my spirits lifted. I practically accosted her, poor thing, because I was so happy to see her. In my sea of stress, Olivia was a beacon of humor and possibility. A reminder that all this networking won't do me in, because I, too, can be bold, independent, determined, creative.

Long story short, I was beyond thrilled to have my picture taken with this little pig. It was a perfect and serendipitous moment that I very much needed just then.

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