If I remember correctly, I began including Mt. Cloud Bookshop in my Baguio City itinerary in 2016, after I heard from Mina that they were interested to carry some #romanceclass titles on their shelves. They used occupy a small space in the Casa Vallejo compound (Upper Session Road) and recently moved to a much bigger, much nicer space. Holiday rush and traffic notwithstanding, I promised myself I’d visit Mt. Cloud again this year, and I did!
^ Now THAT is a pretty accurate description of what went down at the citruSnap studio last May 14, to be honest. There we were, six giddy authors (one of whom is also the photographer, the other, a book cover designer), two gorgeous models, and one badass stylist, trying our best to stay on our toes and be ~productive on a hot, Sunday morning. While this wasn’t the first time I got involved in a photo shoot, this was the first time I sponsored one for a personal project.
I wasn’t prepared. *insert sweating emoji here* Yes, even when I’ve saved a bunch of reference photos on my Pinterest board and sent it over to Mina to compile. Even when I had already outlined 2/3 of the book for which some of the photos will be shot. Even when I’ve rehearsed in my head what kind of direction I’d be giving Fred and Vanya so I can achieve the look I wanted. Nope. I wasn’t.
A month ago, I had my very first blog tour which had me writing my very first guest post ever (this is a year of firsts, see?) and I thought of posting these little graphic cards I made for said guest post just ’cause.
I forgot when exactly it was that Mina tagged me in a #romanceclass discussion thread on Facebook, saying because of certain things she knows about me, she’s inviting me to tag along to this little gathering. Of course I would have loved to join them, but I was new to the group and didn’t know the “rules” yet, if there were any, so getting that little invite made me happy. I asked Mina what those things were, and she gave me only one hint:
MIBF, or the Manila International Book Fair, is the country’s biggest and longest running book fair that usually happens in mid-September. As per usual, I am a relative n00b to this, and only attended it for the first time in 2013. A sort-of mistake, because I didn’t bring a lot of moolah with me so I failed buying more books. (Then again, that might have been a very wise move.) I did come home with three new books and I was happy and content with them. If I have read all three is another matter altogether.
This year, I got to attend the 36th MIBF as an author. No, really. I had to sit down and read those words from a friend’s Facebook post and realized it was true for me too, and the feeling is unbelievable. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t get a book signing session or people following me around asking to take pictures. I didn’t even actually sell books in the traditional sense, nor did I participate in any talk or seminar about writing. Nope. None of that . . . BUT!!! those are my future goals.
So what did I do, you ask? Well, I . . .
Reacquainted myself with Filipino publications, especially those outside my genre, by walking through the different booths and browsing their selections.
Donated a couple of old books for a library and exchanged them for #BuqoYA bundles I haven’t read yet.
SIDENOTE: A total of 489 books (novels, textbooks, even comic books) were donated. These books will be distributed to different libraries in Mariveles and Binondo.
Hung out at the Buqo booth for long stretches of time, which was really convenient because all the walking can really take its toll on you, especially when you’re lugging a bag of books.
Bought new books by fellow Filipina writers and got some of them signed too! (Thank you Agay, Mina, and Edith!) It was just too bad I wasn’t there when Kate Evangelista signed her books!)
Met other Buqo workshoppers and got to take pictures and chat with them, if only for a little while.
“Gave away” freebies to any book donors who chose the Buqo bundle I belong to (#StrangeLit #KillerSeasons REPRESENT!)
Gave away promo codes to my book Paper Planes Back Home too, in the form of cute little bookmarks.
Had lively, oftentimes non-sequitur chats with author friends, new or otherwise. (We have set goals, people. Just watch out for them! :P)
Fact: I have the most awesome friends. No, seriously. I may not be very well off (there’s a running joke in our office right now how we belong to borderline SEC D before payday, and it’s kind of true) but I have friends who are always there to y’know, make me look forward to every day, like my #ClingyGirls. ^_^
Last week, my friend Chi came to my house and delivered a bundle of these–my first-ever digitally published eBook, Paper Planes Back Home–IN PRINT! Of course she’d already told me that she was going to give me these as a gift, but I was still surprised when she arrived and gave these to me. I WAS SHAKING! It was such a surreal feeling to actually hold the book in my hands, like . . . WOAH, is this really happening?