10 Things About The Austin Teen Book Fest

1. I say to myself “Texas isn’t that far”, and it isn’t. Well, DALLAS isn’t. Austin, on the other hand, is 9 hours of nothing away. Even so, it was worth the 18 hours in the car for the 36 hours seeing friends and authors.

2. Even though Scott Westerfeld’s keynote speech was pretty much the same as at KidLitCon, it was still worth hearing again. (“And there was outrage on the internet!”) He’s a funny, interesting person who gives a grand presentations and worth hearing speak as many times as possible.

3. Steampunk costumes are REALLY cool. Want.

4. Though Maureen Johnson doesn’t speak very much, when she does, it’s hilarious. She’s also a bit of a rabble-rouser. Not that we minded at all.

5. She sold her book to us by saying, “If I was going to write about ghosts, I want them to do something AWESOME. Like kill people.” (At which point, M turns to me and says, “I want to read her book now.”)

(Okay, that’s a really bad picture of both M and Maureen. Sorry; it’s the only one I took…)

6. I didn’t know who Jonathan Mayberry was. Now I do. (And interestingly enough, his book won the YA Science Fiction/Fantasy Cybils award last year.)

7. I kind of felt bad for all the local authors who were surrounded by more “famous” ones. They didn’t have any lines during the author signing, while Scott Westerfeld’s was halfway across the building. Also, it would have been nice to have more time to be personable with the authors. I know I’m spoiled by KidLitCon, but I wanted to meet David Levithan and Jackson Pearce (I had to be satisfied with snapping a picture from afar) but there wasn’t time to stand in their lines as well. I would have loved it if the authors could have milled more, and been able to chat with the masses.

8. Speaking of logistics: it could have been better. They had three different panels all going on at the same time in one large, echo-y room, which made it hard to hear what the authors were saying. At one point, Maureen said, “My head is going to explode from all the noise.” I agree.

9. Nerdfighters are everywhere! I kind of knew this, but it was brought home at the book fest. I saw a young woman walking around with a hijab and a Pizza John shirt; the girl I stood behind in line for Stephanie Perkins had a DFTBA shirt (her sister has a “This Machine Pwns Noobs” one). I mentioned her shirt, and we had an instant connection: we chatted the time away about nerdfightaria, John and Hank, books, vlogs and the coolness of being there with all the other geeky people. I loved it.

10. The best part of going to this festival was seeing friends — like Amanda of Ramblings and her husband, Jason; and Varian Johnson (can I count him as a friend if he remembered me and gave me a hug? I think so… even if I forgot to get a picture with him.) — and meeting the authors. I wish there was more time to do the latter, but I did actually hold a conversation with Maureen (in which I thanked her for her twitter feed, and probably made a fool of myself) and Stephanie Perkins. That made it all worth while, I think.

Will I go again? I don’t know. But at the very least, I can say I’ve done the whole book festival thing now. And had a good time doing it.


4 thoughts on “10 Things About The Austin Teen Book Fest

  1. You got so many more pictures than I did!! It really was fun despite the horrific setup in that auditorium. Maybe next year they'll do it differently? Great to see you!


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