SCIBA – 2010

This past weekend, Scholastic sent me to Hollywood for the annual trade show of the Southern California Independent Booksellers Association, where I got to meet lots of book-loving people, and had a wonderful time.

The night before the trade show, I went out to eat with my publicist, Lauren, and Roz, the Scholastic sales rep for the Southern California area.  (Though her territory includes much more than Southern California.  She gets to go to Hawaii on business!)  Dinner was delicious, and the restaurant was decked out in cobwebs and spooky candles for Halloween.  I think Lauren referred to the style as “haunted bordello” or something like that.  Over our meal we talked a bit about my presentation, and afterward we walked back to the hotel, trodding upon the Hollywood stars (not the people, the pieces of cement).  As we walked, Roz commented on the placement of certain stars, and how some of them are kind of off to the side all by their lonesome.  Then Lauren pointed out that Dean Martin’s star now sits in front of a lingerie store, and we all agreed that Dean would likely have approved of women seeing his name and thinking of him as they go to buy their intimates.

We went back to the hotel, and as I walked to my room I noticed that each of the room-number plaques also featured a welcoming picture in silouette.  Like a hand holding a doorkey, or a champaign glass.  Well, this was the picture by my door…

…and it made me kind of vaguely nervous the first time I opened it.

The next day, I gave my speech.  I talked a bit about the books and the bookstores that have been important to me while growing up and moving around with the military.  And then I talked a bit about The Clockwork Three.  I think it went pretty well.  Fellow Utah author Ally Condie also spoke, and talked about choice and the role it plays in her new novel, Matched.  We shared the stage with several other authors, including Al Yankovic.  Yes, the “weird” one, but for his new picture book, he’s just Al.  Did you know that guy has sold, like, 12 million albums?  I remember listening to him as a kid, and if you had told me a couple of years ago that I would one day meet and speak on the same stage as Weird Al, I would probably have told you that you’d listened to “White and Nerdy” one too many times.  But nevertheless…

After the lunch, there was a signing, and Ally Condie and I shared a table and signed a lot of books.

Then the trade show started and I went to see Roz at the Scholastic booth, only to find Kazu Kibuishi there.  I’ve known of Kazu’s work as editor and contributor to the Flight comics anthologies, which are amazing, but more recently I’ve come to love his Amulet series of graphic novels for Scholastic.  If you haven’t read them, you should seek them out.  At any rate, I started talking with him about his books, and we had a great conversation about what he’s trying to achieve with them (and succeeding very well, if you ask me) which then turned into a conversation about story in general.  At some point I walked away to get a drink, and when I returned, Kazu was holding The Clockwork Three.

“This is you,” he said.

“Yes, it is,” I said.

I guess while I had been gone, he had picked up my book and said to Roz, “This author has the same name as that guy I was just talking to.”

To which Roz had said, “No, that guy was the author.”

I had been so excited to meet Kazu, I hadn’t even introduced myself.  So when I came back, we all kind of chuckled about it.  And then we continued our conversation, during the course of which Kazu’s interpretation of the Pixar film Ratatouille shifted the way I’ve been thinking about a future project of mine for the better.  So thanks to him for that.  We signed each other’s books, and he left to go to a dinner.

Kazu Kibuishi and me.

Roz, me, and Lauren

Then Lauren and I went to eat dinner at this place that served really amazing hamburgers.  Now, people who know me know how much I love hamburgers, so apparently Lauren knows me well.  Having worked in Hollywood for a film studio, Lauren also gave me a guided tour of Hollywood, past Grauman’s Chinese Theater

…where I snapped this photo, because I’m kind of nerdy like that:

The next day, I flew home.  It was a great weekend, and I owe a big thanks to Lauren and Roz for taking such good care of me.  If you’re interested, Publishers Weekly has a write-up on the event that you can read here.

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7 responses to “SCIBA – 2010”

  1. Matt! I’ve been wondering how to contact you, so I decided to simply leave a comment here. Yesterday I bought my kids (and me) your book at the Scholastic Book Fair at their school. I kept telling my kids that I knew you way back when we were still pretty much kids ourselves. My oldest (who is eleven and eats books for breakfast) is excited to read your book. She just finished the Harry Potter series and is still mourning the end of that saga. (Poor girl could barely function when Dumbledore died.)
    Anyway… I’m just so proud of you. I really was not terribly surprised to find you’d written a book… I always knew you had it in you.

    • Hi, Kerry! It’s so great to hear from you. I hope your daughter enjoys the book. And feel free to contact me anytime. My email address is listed on the blog’s home page under “contact.”

  2. I really shouldn’t ignore your blog for such a long strech. You have been a busy boy. I should have had you swipe a copy of the newest Amulet book for our library since my funds have been cut. There are many a fan of those book in my neck of the woods.

  3. What a fun event! I’m very jealous you get to do all these fun things. Or maybe they just look extra fun because I’m stuck in a mountain of revision notes right now, and wondering if I’ll ever be done.

    Can’t wait to hear you speak again at SCBWI in SLC!

    • I’m revising right now as well. But we’ll get through it.

      Will you be at SCBWI then? Cool. My presentation will be on “voice,” and I’m working on that right now too.

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