I promised to give a follow-up report on Book Expo America sometime ago, and I’ve put it off much too long. So get a snack, pop a top on your favorite beverage, and take your phone off the hook because you are in for a treat. Here we go… It was… transcendent isn’t the right word… weird… a little… exciting… at times… uneventful… 95% of the time.
This is my third year going to BEA, and it never ceases to amaze me the sheer volume of products and services related to the world of publishing. This year they even had a teeth whitening booth. For $99 you could have your teeth whitened in 15 minutes. The problem is you could only drink clear liquids for 24 hours. Coffee is a staple for the convention floor and a nice frothy lager is a staple for after. I had no 24 hour window where I was planning on imbibing just clear liquids. This BEA being in LA, I did see a lot of stars… kind of. – Dr. Ruth (she is smaller than small), Leonard Nimoy, Kevin Neland, Dave Madden (Reuben Kincaid from the Partridge Family), Jamie Lee Curtis, and Bernadette Peters’ hair (Bernadette was attached to it, but I couldn’t see her for the crowd). You’ll notice that there aren’t any names of literary note on that list. I wasn’t invited to any of the parties where those types gather and talk about conjugating verbs, diagramming sentences, passive voice, and how much they hate the proliferation of text speak, i.e. lol, rotflmao, btw, cul8er, etc. Not being in their circle yet, I only imagine this is what they talk about. I’m sure the conversations aren’t nearly as exciting.
This year, unlike the previous two, I did do a signing. Actually, it turned out to be two signings because someone canceled and they wanted to fill the slot. It was surreal. I’m not famous. Not even moderately so, but I had lines. Some greeted me as if I were a rock star, some greeted me as if I were an extra on Star Trek, some greeted me as if I were someone who might be somebody someday so they better get their signed copy so they can sell it on ebay. Seriously, a week after I got back there were signed copies of my books on ebay. I didn’t have the stomach to see if anyone ever put in bids on them. One gentleman even got angry when I ran out of books. It was flattering and terrifying all at once. Apparently, I’m just unknown enough to complain to. I bet Stephen King doesn’t get yelled at when he runs out of books at a signing.
I did meet John Scalzi, and managed to creep him out. See my open letter to John where I explain my strange behavior.
BTW – Wish me luck. I have several major publishers considering picking up the Oz Chronicles. If I sign with them, maybe I can finally get invited to one of those literary parties at BEA.