Last year was my very first time to attend MIBF. My sister is a public school teacher, so she and I went hunting for childrens' books and teaching materials. I wasn't really thinking about specific books I wanted (except the new Spark Books, which had just come out!) and was actually surprised that Fully Booked would be on sale. It was a Thursday, and it was fun and pleasant, and I didn't buy too many books.
This year was just a little different. This year, I couldn't go on a weekday because I was on the boat (not kidding!), and because of #AllTheFeels! Yes friends, #romanceclass was alive and kicking for the country's biggest book event! Color me kiligation! I decided to go in for two days--Saturday to purchase all my books (I had a list and everything) and Sunday to help out and EXPERIENCE FEELINGS.
You'll see what I mean.
I was really excited to go on Saturday. We got a chance to sell books at the venue, thanks to the lovely generosity of the Book Development Association of the Philippines. I've been seeing posts all over Facebook about how our books were selling like giant churros, and I was super excited to see it! I managed to convince my best friend Geremy to go to MIBF with me, thinking that we would go in, shop for books quickly and go out. Uhm. We seriously underestimated the crowds. The convention center was so full that I needed a fan to breathe properly. Fully Booked was crammed end to end with people buying baskets of books!
So I weaved through the crowds and emerged. Victorious.
Fun fact: my copy of the Hating Game was actually purchased before we made it to MOA. I was waiting for my friend at Fully Booked, saw it, knew how rare it was, squealed and grabbed it. Oh the problems of a book hoarder.
I will probably go at length at why I bought these books, but the titles are pretty self-explanatory.
In the end, it took us around four hours and a lot of squeezing to buy all of these books. And I managed to pass by the #romanceclass booth! Phew.
View from our booth! This doesn't even begin to cover the amount of people that dropped by to browse, buy and horde. By the last day, Cities was sold out, (even after I replenished) and in the last hour, We Go Together was all gone too! Obviously we weren't expecting this, so our printer (the amazing JMD Copy Prints) had to rush print and deliver books on the same day. CRAZY!
I'm so glad that this was happening for everyone. People were buying books left and right! Very relevant because just the other day a friend was questioning why I kept at the self publishing route instead of going to traditional or international publishers, kasi the market daw is bigger. For me, you can capture that same market + worldwide with self-publishing, and they joy on a reader's face when they get the book you worked so hard on is priceless.
But that's a totally different discussion altogether.
A photo posted by Mina V. Esguerra (@minavesguerra) on Sep 17, 2016 at 6:40pm PDT
Ah, back to Sunday. That magical day where my life basically changed forever because it was #AllTheFeels day! Basically this meant that we were going to have a room full of romance readers and writers, giggling and blushing because we have people reading our books out loud! GASPS.
I've always loved experiencing the live readings. I'm familiar with the parts that these actors play and the books they read from, and yet I'm always surprised at the level of emotion they bring to the table. The stakes are higher, the feelings are stronger (not that weren't already!). This time was double-y, triple-y special for me because THEY READ AN EXCERPT OF MARRY ME, CHARLOTTE B!
— Mina V. Esguerra (@minavesguerra) September 20, 2016
Now anyone who's read Charlotte B! (have you?) knows that this was very tricky. The book is written in a reality show TV format, where the characters cut off in the middle of some scenes to be interviewed by cameras. I had no idea how they were going to do that, until Gio (who played Rob all California cool + British accent!) and Gab (who did an amazing job with Nellie's talking + that Charlotte Bertram accent was a winner!) did the simplest thing possible--they jut stepped forward with the mic when they were being 'interviewed.' Mina later told me that they came up with it on their own.
I loved it. I could barely contain my own joy at hearing my words (they didn't sound like my words to me) said out loud with feels like that.
I want mooooore!
Luckily they gave us a lot more. Along with Charlotte B! Gio and Gab also read scenes from Learning to Fall by Mina V. Esguerra, Scandalized by Tara Frejas, and Loveless, Childless, Clueless by Miren B. Flores.
Yeah I was exhausted and short quite a lot of money for this weekend, but god, was it worth it. IT WAS SO WORTH IT. And we get to do it all over again this October for #FeelsFest! We're always joking with each other that we're all clingy, but these things keep happening. Last year me wouldn't have believed that any of this was possible.
So from the bottom of my heart, thank you everyone! Everyone who bought books, everyone who passed by the booth, the lady in Fully Booked who got mad so we ended up to the front of the line, Gette for giving sustenance (aka Sylvannas and cheese bread), Ate Joy who is a rockstar printer, our booth-mates who continued to get orders while we were in the breakout room and of course the romance class fam. You make my heart sing and my stomach butterflies crazy.