Book launch takes me to NCIBA

My new book, Marching for Freedom: Walk Together, Children, and Don’t You Get Weary, is “launching” next Thursday, meaning it will be officially available in bookstores.  If you are a really sought-after writer, the publishers call it a “lay-down” date and the book can’t be sold beforehand. (Think Harry Potter.)

A launch is a little bit softer on the timing. Which is why I got to go to NCIBA yesterday. The Northern California Independent Booksellers Association Trade Show is where the publishers show their wares, the booksellers browse, and the authors sign. The last time I was at the NCIBA was years ago, when Restless Spirit: the Life and Work of Dorothea Lange published. I was new at all this. I was kinda overwhelmed and scared. The room was huge and noisy, people seemed to loom up in front of me, stand patiently waiting for me to sign a book, then slip away.

This time was a blast. Today I felt like I was in a room full of old friends. There’s a strong community of booksellers just barely keeping their noses above water in these tough times. I saw my pal, Luan Stauss, who runs Laurel Bookstore. I ran into a librarian who whispered she was going to be on the Newbery next year, then grinned. (No, I won’t have any books coming out, so I can’t bribe her.) 

I understood this time about the “trade show” part. Malcolm Margolin who runs Heyday Books, (alright, he IS Heyday Books) had a photography book idea he dangled in front of me. I ran into Laura Sheppard who is the amazing Events Director at the Mechanics Library in San Francisco. We started cooking up an idea for an early spring event at the Mechanics Institute around Marching. She mentioned Heyday has a new civil rights book… maybe we could all do an event together.

Can you see how much fun this is?

Here are a couple photos from my day. Mostly, I forgot to use my camera. But I did get this terrific shot of Sara Zick, my publicist from Viking, and she got these of me.

Here's something you have to learn to be good at booksigning: writing and talking at the last time. And spelling correctly, which is the part I worry about.

Next up: Thursday Oct. 15, 10:00 am. I’ll be at the Koret Auditorium at the San Francisco Public Library for Kidsquake with six other terrific writers.