Questions, comments, or a free recipe card for Nana's Garlic Brisket? Contacting Cherie at Kimmons@chartertn.net.
<< Return to Blog Index
Son of BEA Survival Guide
Signing day at BEA, continued
Jun 19, 2008
June 2008 Book Expo in Los Angeles Part II
Day Two, or, Saturday
It is 5:30 am when the alarm clock starts ringing. Where the heck am I, anyway? The bathroom isn’t where I thought it was. Wait – a towering pile of FREE BOOKS! in the corner brings it all rushing back. Today is my big day at Book Expo America. I’m having a book signing, and I have no idea if someone - anyone! - will show up. It could be the longest hour of my life.
At least I don’t have to worry about what to wear. I’ve come prepared with boxes of books and a little black apron with Potluck Survival Guide emblazoned on the front. Best of all, I have my sweet Emily, who keeps me sane, makes me laugh, provides valuable feedback, and leads me through the maze of halls, corridors and booths with unerring instinct.
I am registered for a traditional rather than informal signing. Traditional signings consume one end of the massive convention hall with an intimidating line of adjacent tables that each has a roped-off aisle. Every hour, twenty five tables await twenty five authors of varying degrees of fame, with a total of 250 authors meeting their public over three days.
Some authors are such celebrities that you must first acquire a ticket to even stand in their line. The likes of Bernadette Peters, Jamie Lee Curtis, Dave Barry, Leonard Nimoy, and Ray Bradbury are scheduled to sign. It is mind-boggling that they sit in the same line of tables as first-time authors, although their fan lines are far more impressive. They never have to have a family member (maybe dressed in a costume – or an apron) stand at the entrance to their line suggesting to unwary passers-by they might like to get a FREE BOOK! signed by the author.
Informal signings are done in the publisher’s booths scattered over the acres of floor space at the convention center. Many authors prefer this setting because it has a more intimate feeling. Time is not as regulated as with traditional signings. All sorts of goodies can be offered along with a FREE BOOK! Most importantly, it is not as obvious no one is clamoring for your book when there are no formal lines.
I am not entirely without hope for my lonely little line. When I was standing in line for a(nother)FREE BOOK! the delightful author, Laurie Perry, saw the recipe card I attached over my name badge with my book’s cover on it (always marketing). She asked if I happen to know anything about the book – she confided she wanted to snag a copy later. In my most off-hand manner I admitted the book is mine and OMG, I could get one of hers, she could get one of mine and it would be so neat and we could be BFF (best friends forever)! I might have lost my cool a little at the end.
Buoyed by the thought of at least one person in my line, I floated to the green room for the signing area. While waiting to set up at table 11, I was greeted by the guy in charge of organizing all the authors for signing. He gave me another big boost.
As perk for the five assistants who help him orchestrate three days of author signings, he lets them choose a FREE BOOK! from any one of the signing authors. This year, he said, three of his five assistants chose my book. My book instead of Salman Rushdie’s!! I graciously signed three copies for him, trying not to squirt little peeps of happiness all over the room.
A few minutes before the hour, everything happens at once (things are run like clockwork here). Mr. Rushdie and his body guards brush past as authors, publishers and various assistants quickly trek to assigned tables. I get my pile of books settled in front of me with a bottle of water and an array of Sharpies and ball points. Linda, my publisher, sits beside me ready to hand me books, and Emily, also wearing a Potluck apron, stands behind me, transmitting encouragement. I feel like a filly at the Derby, just waiting for the bell to go off. Let the games begin!
To be continued, of course