Last weekend I had the joy of attending Festival 2006 at Calvin. Since I missed the one in 2004 while we were in Britain, I was especially eager to get to this one.
Since I was a speaker flying in from out of town, I got to stay at the Prince Center. That is the life, my friends. Great room all to myself, excellent service, and you get to hang out with all the famous writers at breakfast because they're staying there, too. The publisher exhibit area as well as many of the sessions are all right there in the building. The Prince Center, I have to admit, has transformed the Festival from a makeshift circus to a classy, organized event.
I finally met several amazing people whom I knew only from e-mail correspondence: Leslie Leyland Fields, Andy Crouch, Lauren Winner, and Donna Kehoe just to name a few. Also got to spend some quality time with my editor at Jossey-Bass, Sheryl Fullerton, and her colleague Julianna Gustafson.
Did a session on "the new apologetics" with Donald Miller. It's impossible not to feel old and square next to this guy who is the epitome of hip and cool and has sold a zillion books. But according to audience members, the session came off well. At the very least it was nice for me to meet Donald Miller and to think about interesting developments in the Christian book world.
Saw a number of former students, all grown up now. Sigh. Saw a number of my Calvin colleagues, happily just the same as ever. Sigh.
Got inspired. I was asked to host a session for Julia Kasdorf, whose poetry I had never read. I ordered her books ahead of time and found myself becoming a fan. Reading her work has inspired me to work harder at my poetry and have higher standards. Also got inspired by a workshop on "reality marketing." Time to get more serious about promoting my books.
Speaking of, one of the things I learned was "put your readers to work for you." Word of mouth is the most powerful force in book sales. So if you have read *So Much More* and liked it, would you find a way in the next few weeks to spread the word? Example: review on amazon, tell your pastor, tell your book club, buy it for a friend, send the website URL to someone. Thanks! Note: If you read it and hated it, just keep quiet. Thanks.