I revisited (part of) my old alma mater last Saturday, November 28, for my very first Filipino ReaderCon experience, and to say that I was overwhelmed is an understatement. Granted, it took me several years to return to DLSU-Manila, but I still wasn’t prepared for how different it looked. The Henry Sy Sr. Building was HUGE. Escalators and elevators were everywhere. When I attended college there more than ten years back, the only buildings that had an elevator (if memory serves me right) were the Saint Joseph and SPS Buildings. Gokongwei? Not so sure; I didn’t frequent that area of the campus even if there was a walkway connecting it to Miguel.
Anyway, I digress.
This year marks the 5th year of #FilReaderCon, and I am so glad to have been part of it. I would’ve loved to have participated in more of the sessions, but I was happy to have spent time at the #romanceclass booth anyway, helping to sell and restock books. Also buy them.
What’s amazing about the #romanceclass booth was the sheer amount of books available. From print books to eBooks, there may have been about thirty (or more?) different titles from various indie Filipino authors. That’s just awesome, and if I had more cash on me (dang, my 13th month pay didn’t get handed out as I’d expected), I’d probably have brought home a heavier haul that evening.
I mean would you look at this spread?
I wish we could have displayed all the books with their covers facing outward because these books have some of the prettiest covers I’ve seen. I actually bought one whose cover I’d been lusting over for a while now, Chrissie Peria’s All’s Fair in Blog and War. And there’s also Jay E. Tria’s Majesty, which I felt got sold out the moment she laid the stocks out on the table. Way to go! ^_^
At 1:30 in the afternoon, myself and seven other authors went into one of the halls for an author speed dating activity. I’m just going to say this now (and please don’t judge me): I have never gone on a date in any form before, so you can just imagine how anxious I was walking into that room. Sure, I’d rehearsed a bit at home, but who knew what would’ve happened, right?
The author speed dating activity basically allowed us to meet interested readers and tell them about our books in the hope that they’d get hooked enough to give them a try. I don’t know how the authors went about their three-minute dates, but I brought a small Post-It pad with me and wrote down keywords (four each time I meet a new person). I asked the readers I met to pick a keyword that “calls out to them” or that’s “attractive” to them, and then I’d proceed to tell them about the book connected to the word they picked out. I think that made the entire process easier for me, and I got the hang of it quickly. It’s too bad we only did one round. I was so ready for another. CHOS.
Would I go through all that anxiety again? Definitely. I just hope I’d have a new book to introduce next time. *wink, wink*
After the author speed dating activity was the much awaited #romanceclass live reading, featuring theatre actors Gio Gahol and Rachel Coates. You might remember me writing about them here. Because we couldn’t get enough of that experience, we asked for a second helping.
And we got served. In a good way.
Gio and Rachel did a total of five readings–Chris Mariano’s Cover (Story) Girl, Dawn Lanuza’s The Boyfriend Backtrack, Jay E. Tria’s Songs of Our Breakup, Chrissie Peria’s The Kitchen When It Sizzles, and Miles Tan’s Finding X. I think it’s safe to say a lot of us had our brains turned into mush after each reading. A friend of mine who isn’t (yet!) part of the writing community was there to join us, and she was so amused by how intense we were about it. (Because how can we NOT be?)
Here’s a sample recording of one of the readings, featuring Shinta and Jill of Songs of Our Breakup:
Just like the first time, Gio and Rachel did great. Ugh. I loved them. I loved them so much I gave them a copy of my books (Gio took Paper Planes Back Home and Rachel got The “Forget You” Brew) as a present. It wasn’t much, but I sincerely wanted to give them something for being such awesome people. *cries* Rachel was all “What is happening? Why are you giving me gifts?” She was so cute. She had no idea how big this was for us writers. I could only wish she’d be game for more. ^_^
(Side story: Before the live reading started and I was on my way to settle in my seat, Gio called my name and I was just like WHA–? (I had a name tag on, so maybe that was it.) I said hi, and he approached me and made beso, and I was like OMG?!? I didn’t expect that, but it made me really happy. It also made me happy to note that he probably remembered me because I’m a huge Rak of Aegis fan. That always makes me feel kilig for reasons. <3 I asked if he was doing PETA’s FrancisM musical Three Stars and a Sun and he said “YES!” which was awesome because I’d already wanted to see it the moment they’d announced auditions, haha!)
After gathering all my feels from the floor, I went on to line up for the book raffle with my friend, TDR and Chi. Two ladies I recognized from the speed dating activity came up to me and asked if they could take a photo with me, and my brain kind of imploded. I mean. Really? Wow. Thank you guys. I felt so . . . special. <3 Hope to see you soon~
So while everyone was winning copies of Mockingjay from the book raffle, I had my eyes set on the Levithan book Another Day, but ended up winning the first Percy Jackson book. It wasn’t so bad. I haven’t read it yet, and my sister was also interested in it, so. Win-win.
More #FilReaderCon snippets:
- JMD Prints (my POD supplier) had a table at the event, and author Carla de Guzman and I went over to check it out. A week prior, JMD had asked if they could use my book as a sample at their booth and I readily agreed, so I wasn’t surprised to see a copy of The “Forget You” Brew on display. What surprised me was when Joy from JMD brought a pen out and asked me to sign the copy for her! *kilig*
- Whenever someone would pass by the #romanceclass booth, author Six delos Reyes would say “Mamser, pag-ibig?”
- The sales pitch would go on with “Ano pong klaseng romansa ang hanap ninyo?” “Meron po kaming Dyugdyugan sa Kusina (aka The Kitchen When it Sizzles).”
- The Romance Writers of the Philippines table was just beside the #romanceclass table. It was their goods that managed to get me forking out money the moment I saw “Friends to Lovers” cookies. I am a sucker for the trope. And chocolate. And peanut butter. Ugh.
- I got a really lovely, early Christmas present from this year’s FRCA Winner, Chrissie Peria:
Eeee! I was so surprised and touched that I just hugged her after seeing it, I didn’t even get to ask if it’s okay to hug her . . . oops! I hope it was, and if it wasn’t, I’m sorry! And thank you so much~ <3
So that’s it for this year’s #FilReaderCon for me. I’m looking forward to attending more bookish events in the future–I’m learning and having so much fun at the same time! Who wouldn’t love that?
That being said, I’d like to congratulate everyone behind the Filipino ReaderCon for a successful event! You guys are rockstars! See you next year!