Written by Tina Susedik.
I’ve been to quite a few book signings over the years, not to mention conventions. This past weekend, on November 6th & 7th, I participated in the Southeast Wisconsin Festival of Books (SEW) in Waukesha, Wisconsin. Fellow author and friend, Beth M. James and I met in Eau Claire, transferred all my goodies to her vehicle, and headed south on I-94.
With all the gabbing we did, the three and a half hour trip went fast, and before we knew it, we were winding our way around the streets of Waukesha trying to get to our hotel. We could see it, but our directions were rather funky so we had to use our “expert” navigational skills.
That evening there was a reception at the University of Wisconsin-Waukesha for authors and presenters for the next day’s event. There, Beth and I came across P.J. Fiala and Val Carizio. Neither of us had spent time visiting with them, and found them to both be delightful women. Patti’s knowledge of marketing was invaluable to us. Val’s stories had us in stitches.
Dasha Kelly, Friday night’s keynote speaker, followed the reception. Her speech was humorous as well as enlightening. She read from some of her works and talked about working with young people. I believe it inspired all of us authors to write and help others to write.
After the speaker, we met Val and Patti again, spending several hours talking, eating, and having a few drinks. Saturday dawned bright and early. Since my panel as at 9:00, I had to be at the university at 7:30. People were scurrying around getting ready for the event. WisRWA authors had our own room where all our panels were held for day. Beth and I put up our new signs and set out brochures, pens, and pads of paper for those interested in our group.
The tables set aside for WisRWA authors were way – and I mean way, way, way – down a hallway. Originally my table was the last in a long row of tables. When I came back from my panel, my wonderful friends and fellow WisRWA authors had rearranged our area so we were next to and across from each other. It made for a much more cozy setting for us. We were able to talk with each other easier, too.
The schedule had each of us at our signing tables for a half an hour after our panels, but after Virginia McCullough talked with the organizer, we were able to keep our tables up all day. It was so much fun meeting and visiting with new authors and those interested in our books.
At the end of the day, we all felt we represented WisRWA well. I know I talked with several authors who’d never heard of us and took our brochures to join our group.
All-in-all, I thought this was a wonderful day. Getting together with WisRWA members is always fun. We have a great, supportive group. I heard over and over how we are not in competition with one another, but need to support each other. And it’s true. Thank you SEW and WisRWA for a day I’ll never forget.