My name is Ardis and I am an avid reader and budding writer. I want to share my love of books with others. I work with kids and am interested in finding and creating books that will ignite the reader in everyone. Contact me at: ardis.atkins@gmail.com

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Monday, June 13, 2016

B'Fest or Bust?

One day, I was griping to myself about not being able to attend any of the big book events around the country such as  BEA, or the ALA annual meetings.  I decided to stop whining and pay more attention to the book events that were in my own backyard.  That is how I stumbled upon Barnes & Noble's Teen Book Festival, called B'Fest.

This past weekend, every Barnes & Noble store had multiple special events for teens.  There were contests, giveaways, and lots of book signings by authors.  From what I have seen on Twitter, this was mostly a great experience, but there were some glitches too.

I live in the San Francisco Bay Area.  There are about 10 Barnes & Noble stores in my area, which was good and bad.  Some stores had amazing events, while others seemed to be left out.  

I usually go to the El Cerrito store and there were great events there (lucky me)!  On Friday evening, there were two amazing authors talking and signing books:  Stacey Lee (Outrun The Moon), and Jandy Nelson (I'll Give You The Sun).  

Both took turns reading their books and answering questions.  They were both fun and had some different writing techniques (I'll Give You The Sun was written in a completely dark room).
Stacey Lee looking Cool as she gets into one of Jandy's characters from I'll Give You The Sun.

Since I was the first to arrive (two hours early), I got a prize!!!  I got into the "First In Line" club for Penguin Random House.  This means I got to choose an ARC (I chose Gemina - Whoo Hoo!!!!!), and I will get ARC's from Penguin Random House for a year!!! There were also prizes for everyone who showed up.  They were mostly tote bags, but it was nice to get a little something.


 On Saturday, there was a quiz and ARCs were given away (or so I hear).  We arrived late so we didn't participate in that event.  Later there was another author talk and signing.  This time, Wendy Spinale (Everland) spoke.  I felt bad that there were so few people there.  Here is why that happened:  In another Barnes & Noble store (about 25 miles away) Jennifer Nevin made an appearance!  I think most people looked at who was at each store and had to make some choices.  Jennifer Nevin is the author of one of my favorite books, All The Bright Places.  I was one of those people who were torn.  But I opted to stay closer to home.

Wendy Spinale couldn't have been more gracious and kind, answering questions and having a real conversation with my daughter and her friend.

Later that evening, there was another author, Tim Floreen (Willful Machines) making an appearance.  He was at the store with Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff (Illuminae) a few weeks ago, so I didn't stay for that event either.

On Sunday, the store hosted a writing workshop, but by then I was event weary and skipped it.

Overall, I appreciated how Barnes & Noble worked very hard to create lots of special events centered around teens.  In order to be fair to the authors who took the time to make appearances, I hope the organizers will try to coordinate better between stores.  Customers shouldn't have to choose between authors.  Maybe stagger the times so that people could go from store to store.  I would do it.

Thank you Barnes & Noble (and El Cerrito coordinator, Sandy) for a fun weekend of books.  Keep the events coming, please!

How was your experience at your local B & N?  Did you go to any of the events?  Let me know in the comments.
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  1. It's so cool to see these events popping by on your blog because it makes the whole book blogging thing more palpable. Everything usually happens in your own head and the writing can be a lonely experience I guess (I don't feel that way about it). Being able to see the authors, the books, and the other fans face to face be such a great addition! Also, getting ARC's from Penguin Random House for a year is sooooooo awesome!! :D

    1. I'm really lucky to live in the San Francisco Bay Area! I was not even aware of these events when I started blogging. Then I saw all the big-time conventions like ALA (I just missed that it was IN SF last year), I was so jealous. It turns out, with some research, that there are plenty of events around the bay. I just needed to seek them out. I do wish there would be better advertising about these events...

  2. Wow! Sounds like your stores had better events. I found mine to be a bust. I couldn't get to the store on Friday so I missed all the prizes and contests. Saturday not much was going on at any of my store either than what was posted for everywhere. We only had a few author signings and I didn't know any of them. Like the books were totally new to me. Never even seen them in the blogging world. I guess St. Louis just doesn't have very many authors. There was one that was familiar, but I had literally just met her in May and still need to read her book, so I didn't go to that store.

    Hopefully next year B&N will do this and I can try to make a vacation out of it and go somewhere that has better things happening. I loved the idea of this, but once again due to location I felt left out of everything.

    Gemina was awesome by the way. But be prepared for a cliffhanger even more terrifying than Illuminae's! ;)

    1. I think my store did have great events. I think the timing was a little bad because on Friday the Warriors were having a game (they are in the NBA Finals), so there were less people in the store. It really was hit or miss, right? I kept looking at all the stores in my area to see which ones had the best speakers. They need better advertising, too.

  3. Wish I'd known about B'Fest; I would have gone. Sounds like it was fun!

    1. That was one of the problems, I think, They didn't advertise this much. I felt bad for some of the authors who didn't get many readers to their events. But hopefully B & N will learn from this event and make it even better next time.

  4. I didn't end up going to any of the events. I don't have a B&N super close to me, otherwise I probably would have gone. Sounds like you had fun though!

    Dena @ Batch of Books

  5. Oh, that sounds like it was a lot of fun!! You're right about paying more attention to events in your own backyard instead of whining ha. I don't really go to any bookish events where I live (well, I went to the Frankfurt Book Fair once, but it was really more of a business thing, so I never went again), because they're not focused on the books I read, but I'll definitely keep open an eye after my move!

  6. Yay! I love book events too. Quite often I have to search for events by visiting book store websites for their individual event schedules. As well as Books Inc stores in SF, check out Book Passages in Corte Madera which might be close to you? They have wonderful authors visiting.

    1. Yes, I do search out all those bookstores, but only recently. I need to create a central webpage for all the events in the bay area. I know of one person who has tried to do that, but her list is often incomplete and at the last minute. Several times, I have gotten notice in an email about an author event that will happen that day. It's too late by then to drop everything and go.


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