Monday, August 09, 2010

What I Took From NBCC 2010

The National Book Club Conference has been around for 8 years and I have attended 6 of the conferences. I missed the first one because I thought the price tag was too much for a conference billed as the “biggest book club conference in the world”. At the time, conferences were running about $100 - $175. And I was attending a conference several times a year. However, looking back and thinking about what is happening today, NBCC is one that has outlasted many of those other conferences.

This year some of the really big names were not in attendance, so I wasn’t expecting much, except some sleep and rest. What? When I can take a nap, baby, I will and I did. However, even with a smaller attendance it was a pretty good event. I mean how often do you have camera opts with an author as elusive as Zane. I didn’t take a picture with her, but I did take a picture where she was one of the subjects. How many of you have seen Drucilla aka Victoria Rowell up close? I have managed to see her several times. And let me tell you, she has good skin and a body a 20 year old would be jealous of and she is 51 years old. Although they failed to take an author group picture, there were several well-known authors in attendance. I would name them, but um just go to the website at for the listing. There were self-publish and small press authors in attendance as well.

Last year, I remember rushing to get to the dining room because folks would save whole tables for their book club and if you didn’t get their early, you were SOL. This year we didn’t have that problem. I hate standing in line and I hate rushing. I know the small press and self-publish found that the room they were in was less profitable and less visible than the previous years. So I heard a few rumblings about that. However, as an attendee last year, I am glad I didn’t have to walk through numerous author booths because frankly it is intimidating. Most folks come with a limited budget and they surely cannot buy everyone’s book and sometimes the aggressiveness of the sellers was a bit much. I personally support self-published authors, but I am still finicky when it comes to spending my money so the book has to be of interest, have something appealing about it such as its cover or title and sometimes I take my time before I purchase anything. So not having to deal with the sometimes pushy sellers, was good for me and from what I hear several other folks as well. Folks didn’t like that we had only two meals. Frankly, it was okay with me. I got to eat when I was ready and what I wanted. Read my previous review of the Awards menu. Curtis and I are not on the same wavelength when it comes to food choices. But I know some attendees felt slighted. We got great bags this year, which didn’t seem as flimsy as last year. Sorry, but the last few years I was scared to really carry the tote because I thought it would break. This year’s was sturdy and better looking. Now we didn’t get as many free books as in previous years’, but we did get about 5 free books, who can resist “free” books. Um, dare I say that one book was the same as last years’? :::kanyeshrug::: The bookstore was Barnes and Nobles and they had a good supply of books, but when I saw several folks with Kindles I felt a little sad because many books weren’t going to be purchased. If you wanted books signed, it wasn’t as organized as in previous years because a lot of signings were being done impromptu. I don’t do lines, but I did want to talk to Pearl Cleage about the play and what book clubs could garner from it. I know more than a few folks were not happy with the hotel. Now as far as breakout sessions, it wasn’t ideal. I was in Karyn Nolan’s meeting and either next door or across the hall the folks were so loud we could barely hear ourselves think. And folks standing in the hallway of the breakout sessions weren’t considerate of those of us in the sessions because, although they were told to hang out in the area near the escalators, folks didn’t heed the directions so every time the doors opened the loudness of the hallway was incredible. I had a good room with a view. As mentioned already, the did a f-effort for the bathrooms, but my bed and room were comfortable. I do appreciate the free internet, because I used it faithfully. I wished more people had done like me and read the reviews because it would have given them a point of reference so they could have better rooms. I mean, serious, Curtis was put in the Radius tower. Now as the conference founder, I would have raised hell. LOL! There were plenty of places to get a quick bite to eat, even healthy items during the conference. There were a number of restaurants in walking distance as well. And no panhandlers. Yes! Thank you baby Jesus! Panhandlers are a scary bunch and can make anyone uncomfortable and fearful of going out at night.

I had a few memorable moments from the event including Marc Lacy trying to bully me into another event this year, Ntzoke Shange saying Madea wasn’t going to be in this one and Pearl Cleage’s stories about Bebe Moore Campbell. Eating crab legs watching Law & Order, working out while everyone else is getting ready to go out and looking out onto downtown Atlanta in wonderment and thinking, I wish we had this type of skyline at home. I am looking forward to next year with my book club members and all the good friends I have met at the conference.

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