Joy Farrington and the W.O.W Book Club
Last weekend (July 30-Aug 1st), I attended the 8th Annual National Black Book Club Conference for the very first time. An event, I should mention, that is circled months in advance on many book club presidents’ calendar. The NBCC is organized by author, Curtis Bunn and was created as a means for book clubs to connect with each other and meet with their favorite AA authors at the same time.
Although I am president of Nubian Sistas Book Club, and knew about the event for years, I’ve never attended the NBCC before. But since I had a book published earlier this year which just so happened to be written for book clubs, I thought this would be the perfect venue to showcase my baby.
So in early February, I emailed Curtis and asked him if he had any vending space available. He replied back with a “no, but I’ll see what I can do.” Within an hour, Curtis e-mailed me back letting me know he had a table for me and I was elated. So I purchased the table on the spot and started to make plans for my trip.
Fast Forward to Months Later….
I arrived at the event on Saturday, a day late due to my schedule and flight delay (SIDE NOTE: Spirit Air is a hot mess). Although I was tired, I arrived at the Hyatt Regency Atlanta excited to meet so many book clubbers. So after navigating around the hotel, I found the registration desk and proudly announced to the volunteer that I was a registering author.
Curtis, who was also sitting behind the table, replied “Joy? We were expected you yesterday. I thought you weren’t coming so I gave your table to another author.”
Now for you authors out there you can just imagine the combination of dread mixed in with a hint of “oh hell naw” that I experience at that very moment. But being the Lit Diva that I am, I remained calmed (or at least what I hope was the appearance of calm) and proceeded to followed Curtis as he soon requested.
Me with Troy Johndon of AALBC and a book clubber
We walked toward the back of the conference area where there was a room set up to be filled with other authors pushing their wares. He scanned the room and noticing there was no place to squeeze in a table for me, said he would return and walked off to who-knows-where. So I stayed behind and waited but tired as all hell, I sat down in someone’s empty chair, not really caring who it belong to at that moment. Across from me sat Tina Brook-McKinney, an author I knew by name but never met before. We began chatting about the NBCC and other author gossip while I waited for Curtis to return. A few minutes later he came back and told me he found something for me. Now I was imagining being place in a corner off in the wayside where I would need carriers pigeons to relay messages to and from the other authors. But lo and behold, Curtis hooked me up with some prime real estate near the front entrance where the majority of the breakout sessions were being held.
So I began setting up shop and barely starting placing up my signage when I heard something that every new author dreams about hearing “Oh I was looking for you yesterday… I wanted to purchase your book.” (SIDE NOTE: Shouts out to Tracy B. – you really made my day when you said that.) So with a big grin I sold my first copy within minutes of setting up my display and I didn’t stop selling till around 4pm when things started to die down.
As the day progress, I met and reconnected with some really great people including Troy Johnson from AALBC, Travis Hunter, Reshonda Tate Billingsley, J. Thurman, Tee C. Royal from RAW Sistaz, TaNisha Webb of KC Girlfriends Book Club and the list goes on and on and on…
That evening was the Red Carpet author affair followed by the banquet dinner. I heard it was really nice and everyone enjoyed themselves. I can’t speak any further about this however, because while everyone was mingling and having a great time, I was laid up in my hotel room pass out on my bed from complete exhaustion. Lying next to me was a really cute black and gold dress that I had attended to wear that evening. And although no one saw me in it, my dress was so cute, I wanted to mention it here.
Author, Curtis Bunn
The following day I had the pleasure of being part of the book club panel about “Maximizing your Book Club Experience” which was moderated by TaNisha Webb. This was followed by the “NBCC Wrap-Up” moderated by Curtis Bunn. It was during the wrap up that I really saw the love everyone had for each other in the room. And although at this point in the event, only some of us were still wearing our name tags, I noticed that Curtis seemed to know everyone by name regardless of the fact.
My experience at the NBCC was amazing. The book clubs there gave so much love to the authors and it’s such a pleasure to be among so many book lovers. For authors, I would recommend attending the NBCC since it’s a great place to meet and network with book clubs. Book clubs have been the grass root of many AA authors and without their support is would be very difficult to succeed in the book game.
The event was well-organized, especially when you considered the fact that Curtis wore the majority of the hats (SIDE NOTE: I’ve been to some literary events that put the F in WTF so believe me when I say it was well-organized) and the book clubs were getting a kick out of meeting their favorite authors who were in attendance by the drove.
I will definitely be attending the NBCC next year but this time, I’m bringing my book club with me. If I knew how much fun this event was I would have made plans for us to attend years ago.