Bright and early on Saturday morning, 90+ authors, their assistants and a truck load of volunteers, VIPs and fans descended on Luna Park Sydney for the first ever Books By The Bridge Signing.
Despite the early hour, the crowd were buzzing with excitement and I felt buoyed up just being there. You see in the lead up to this event, I’d been having a pretty rough couple of weeks, and almost considered not attending at one stage. Boy, am I glad that I changed my mind on that decision, for Saturday was pretty much divine.
Set right on the harbour, with an up and close shot of the iconic Harbour Bridge, Books By The Bridge had one of the most beautiful settings I’ve ever seen. With the sun’s rays glistening of the water, and the picturesque ballrooms inside the venue, combined with a few hundred smiling faces, it’s not wonder it felt like magic happened that day.
View from the upstairs mezzanine near the bookseller.
The first thing I noted about this event was the atmosphere. Although a large scale event – equipped with security guards too! – the entire event ran smoothly and rather calmly. The line – or at least the VIP line that I saw– was orderly and the attending fans all courteous of each other. Something I haven’t seen before. Usually, there’s a lot of pushing and wedging your way through. But with the organisers, volunteers and those manning the front door being so calm and collected, the effects appeared to have gone down the line to the fans as well. What’s more, the event ran with out a hitch; even with poor Annie yelling into the quiet megaphone all day. Kat T Mason, you should be so proud of yourself and the team behind you because you pulled off one hell of an event.
Alice Clayton hard at work
Having a VIP ticket I knew I had all day to explore the event, so I budded up with a fellow Kell’s Bookmark Clique Retreat Alumni Sara, and we cruised our way around the room trying to remember who we pre-ordered from and chatting with authors as we went. I don’t think either of us expected to have made such good progress with the room in the first session, but by the end of the sessions we’d seen most of the authors, collected our books and we able to even spend some valuable down time outside in the sun relaxing and resting our poor tired feet and overworked arms (book bags are not light people, those things hurt no matter how well you think you’ve got the system covered!).
Bronwyn Parry and Pamela Cook
After some much needed R&R we maundered back inside for the author and VIP lunch. Lunch consisted of some of the most scrumptious, and I suspect fancy, finger food you could think of. There were mini fish and chip pails, mini hamburgers, an extremely tasty nacho bowl, some fish and chicken cocktails, party pies and an endless supply of drinks both at the bar and walking around by the venue’s eagle eyed staff.
Right to left: Event organiser KAt T Mason and NYT Best selling author Alice Clayton
Having completed most of our ‘must do’ requirements of the day in the first session, Sara and I joined forces with a bunch of book friends and spent the afternoon once again walking the room and chatting at length with a wide mix of authors. This was perhaps one of the most surprising aspects of the event , for not only was the entire thing not rushed in any shape or form, but you got quality time with the authors to discuss various aspects of their writing, their books and even their publishing journey. I for one had a very lovely chat with Michelle Irwin, Bronwyn Parry and Pamela Hart and Lauren K McKeller. It was rather exciting being able to support some good friends – JA Low and Lauren Firminger – at their first every book signing; you girls both rocked that event and are natural pros!
Left to right: Fiona Archer, JA Low and Lauren Firminger
With a theme park right at the doors, I was surprised to find myself not even tempted in the slightest to slink outside and explore Luna Park, a destination I’ve never been. Instead I was content to spend all day cocooned within the book world, chatting to authors new and old, and speaking at length about books with various fans.
By late afternoon I was more than ready to start the long train journey home with two books bags filled to the brim, and a thousand new books added to me already enormous TBR list.
All in all I really enjoyed the event and can not speak more highly of those involved in any shape or form; you guys hit that signing out of the park and I really hope there’s another sometime in the not so distant future.