I was one of those lucky bloggers to be invited to the Simon & Schuster Blogger Event held last Monday. I was actually en route back from Nottingham on the Monday, laden down with bag and laptop - I seriously looked as though I was trying to surreptitiously move into the place! On the train back from Nottingham I had been reading Daughters of Fortune by Tara Hyland (since she was one of the authors who had been invited to attend the event) and I almost didn't want to get off the train, the book was so good! But I reluctantly (yeah, right!) dragged myself to the S&S HQ, which was just awash with books. Seriously. In the reception, in all the rooms I peeked nosily in as we went past, in the conference room that looked like it was set up for us bloggers.... More on that in just a bit!
We were greeted by Amanda and Ally - the perfect hostesses - and I had a brief natter with Liz (My Favourite Books) and Carolyn (Book Chick City) before the presentation and the panel started.
I love these presentations. As you might know, I also attended the Headline Blogger Event earlier this year, which was my first experience of a book presentation by a publisher. And I am the perfect audience for these things. I spend the entire time drooling over all the fabulous books that the publisher is bringing out. Seriously, I should never be the buyer for Waterstones - I'd be there saying "We'll take them ALL!" So I updated my wishlist with several titles and wondered how long it is until my book buying embargo comes to an end (five months, people, FIVE LONG MONTHS!)
After the presentation the panel started. We were graced by the presence of:
Suzanne Baboneau - Publishing Director
Maxine Hitchock - Fiction Editorial Director
Sarah-Jade Virtue - Special Sales Manager
Ally was good enough to kick things off with a few pertinent questions of her own, such as asking what each member of the panel did on a day-to-day basis, which recent book has made them the most excited, and what releases in late 2010/2011 they are most looking forward to. All three talked with great passion and humour about publishing - and I don't think I was the only person to wish I had their job! They also intrigued me loads about a book called Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith (so much so that I very cheekily asked for a copy - not only did they provide one, but they gave me the sequel as well. They were such darlings to us all!)
We were then shepherded into the conference room that I had seen earlier - the table in the centre was positively groaning with jugs of Pimms and cupcakes, while the tables around the outside of the room were simply covered with books!
Picture courtesy of Liz from My Favourite Books
We were introduced to the three authors in attendance: Tara Hyland, Chris Carter and Paige Toon. I gushed at Tara for a while about how much I was loving her book (I really do embarrass myself at these things!) and got a couple of hints about what to expect from the new novel (released fall 2011, by the sounds of things - can't wait!) I also joined a chat that Paige was having with Liz and a couple of other bloggers, and just couldn't stop laughing - Paige is so lovely and very funny!
And, yes, much like the Headline event, we were handed voluminous bags and told that Ally didn't want to see any books left on the tables! I don't need telling twice about something like that. Here are pictures of my loot:
Yep, that, there, is 28 books. In my defence, I have read one of them already (Lucy in the Sky by Paige Toon - review forthcoming) but my house was already groaning at the seams with all the books I'm trying to fit into it! I just can't resist the pretties - and really it is the fault of Simon & Schuster for publishing so many damn fine books!
It just leaves me to thank Ally for inviting me and for being such a great hostess, to the other panellists for being so welcoming and knowledgeable, to the three authors for giving up their time to chat to breathless, enthusiastic bloggers (well, that might have just been me while chatting to Tara!), and to S&S for providing such a wonderful haul of books. I had a great time!