Sunday, October 12, 2014

Books by the Banks 2014

This was my second year attending Books by the Banks in Cincinnati. It's an amazing event, and it’s free! There are authors galore, panels on books and writing, a bunch of fun things for kids and even a handful of events for teens. Here’s what I experienced at BBTB this year:

Panels on Books & Writing
In the absence of a YA panel, I only sat in on one panel: Pitching your Book. Here's some tips I picked up from the panelists, including the most helpful Chuck Sambuchino:

·        Be specific in your query letter. No “the character experiences highs and lows” or “they go on a series of adventures.”

·        Pitch 6-10 sentences that introduce your characters, the conflict but leave it without giving the ending away. (Similar to a blurb on the back of a DVD.)

·        The quality of the pitch is what’s important, not necessarily how you set it up.

·        But when you’re setting it up, make sure you follow the agent’s directions!

Connecting with Fellow Readers/Writers/Bloggers/Librarians/Booksellers
Going to an event like this reminds me that I’m not alone. Writing can be a lonely habit, with just you and your words (and maybe food and drink and music). But it doesn’t involve a lot of human interaction. At BBTB, I was surrounded by writers, readers and book lovers. It reminded me how deep and extensive the community is. As an introvert, I didn’t do a lot of introducing myself to strangers or jumping into conversations, but I still felt a connection to the community, especially when I joined the Speed Dating with Teen Authors event. Katherine Howe, Gwenda Bond, Laura Bickle, Jennifer McGowan, Mindee Arnett and Kristen Simmons moved around the tables, chatting about books and writing. I don’t have any quotes or photos because it was an intimate group and I was focused on participating, but this program was easily the highlight of the event for me!

Author Sightings/Signings
Some of the big names included Emily Giffin, Marc Brown and Jasper Fforde. YA authors included Melissa Landers, Mindy McGinnis, Emery Lord, Ellen Schreiber, Alex Mallory, Elizabeth Kiem, Carey Corp and Lorie Langdon, not to mention those listed above who participated in the Speed Dating program!

Emily Giffin

Marc Brown

Destined for Doon signed by Carey Corp and Lorie Langdon!

Dancer, Daughter, Traitor, Spy signed by Elizabeth Kiem!

Open Road Summer signed by Emery Lord!

General Merriment
There were costumed characters (Elsa, Carol from Where the Wild Things Are, Spot and Llama of Llama, Llama), fun interactive events with authors (YA ones included Pictionary and Live-Action Battleship), storytimes, booths, and enough books to drown in.

Teen tables early in the day

Author Pavilion in the afternoon

Looking forward to BBTB 2015!


  1. Wasn't it so much fun?? Have you read Emery's book yet? I read it about two weeks ago and absolutely loved it! I ended up getting myself a copy of Article 5 and Not a Drop to Drink while I was at the event. And had Emily Giffin sign two books I brought! Did you get to talk to her? She was so sweet! All of the authors were so nice and I loved being able to meet them, especially at the speed dating like you mentioned. I can't wait to go back next year!

    -Jessica (Peace Love Books)

    1. I did have a lot of fun! I read Open Road Summer a few weeks ago, and really enjoyed it! It's different from my usual YA fare, but that made me love it even more! I think you'll like Not a Drop to Drink-- I've read both of Mindy's books and they're very well-written. I didn't end up talking to Emily Giffin because her line was rather long but she seemed really nice. Thanks for commenting! It was great meeting you!