Okay, I should be sleeping right now, so if this post is completely incoherent (or more incoherent than normal) please forgive me.
I spent most of Monday wandering around BookExpo Canada. What fun. My friend Danielle Younge-Ullman, whose debut novel FALLING UNDER, will be published next year by Plume, got some free exhibitor passes for us from some dude she met on Craig's List. Go, Danielle!
Anyway, I had to pretend I was a published author, because that was the closest I came to any of the boxes I had to check to actually redeem my pass for an entry badge, but luckily no one questioned it.
What is BookExpo you may ask? Well, the Canadian one is a small version of the US one, and it's basically a marketing venue/trade show for the publishers (and people in related industries targeting bookstores) to show off the best of their wares for the upcoming season. In addition to the publishers' booths, I was interested to see a very large booth sponsored by a book distributor I'd never heard of before. They had a huge list of the houses they represent in Canada, and basically it seemed to be all the US publishers who don't have Canadian offices/counterparts and some smaller presses, too. So, from what I could gather, instead of those houses having a sales force in Canada, this company basically acts as an agent for them. (I really should have found out more... Maybe I'll do a little research and get back to y'all. Sorry about the y'all. Warming up for Dallas, already.)
The most popular feature of the show seemed to universally be the author appearances. Basically authors show up for about an hour each and give away signed copies of their new or upcoming releases. Free books!
Fellow Toronto Romance Writer, Kelley Armstrong, had one of the longest lines for signings on Sunday, from what I heard, but sadly, I could only go on Monday. (Jean Chretien was there on Sunday, too... Not to mention Clive Barker and a few stars like that.)
The attendees of BookExpo are mostly booksellers and librarians. I'd say at least 2/3 of the name badges I spotted were people who worked at a Chapters or Indigo.
But some other business seems to get done, too. Danielle managed to meet the woman at Penguin Canada who'll be handling her Canadian publicity when her book comes out which was pretty exciting. And I pumped a few people I met to try to improve my understanding of the biz.
I got a HUGE bag-o-books I can't wait to read, including Tom Harpur's new one WATER INTO WINE which looks fascinating, and Jan Wong's RED CHINA BLUES. (Although, true confessions, with great non-fiction like that, I always love the idea of reading the books and buy quite a few that interest me... and then I never seem to get around to actually reading most of them. Most of the non-fiction reading I do these days is writing related and I admit I'm still in the second chapter of Harpur's book THE PAGAN CHRIST.)
The funniest thing I picked up? A little teaser booklet thingy (I'm sure that's the proper marketing term) for a new one of those Chicken Soup books. What's this one called? Chicken Soup for the American Idol Soul. I AM NOT MAKING THIS UP. They are little stories written by past contestents on the show. And some bonus words of encouragement from Paula Abdul. Gah! What is the world coming to?
Another highlight for me was getting a signed copy of NYT Bestseller John Connolly's THE UNQUIET. I admit I'm not a big thriller reader, and have never read Mr. Connolly before, but I'll read this one. What a charmer. He was too good looking for it to be legal, and when he noticed my name he asked if I was Irish, and I started babbling like an idiot and basically told him my entire family tree. I think what came out was:
MM: "Actually, I'm only 5/8 Irish."
JC: "Well, that's pretty good."
MM: "I've got some Scots blood, too."
JC: "We can forgive that."
MM: "And some Welsh."
JC: "Oh, can't forgive that."
MM: "And some Flemish."
JC: "Now the Flemish is interesting."
Witty banter. We're opening in Vegas in 2 weeks. LOL. Anyway, while I was embarassing myself, he was busily signing my free book with what I assumed was his stock book signing "happy reading" or whatever. What I actually got was: "To Maureen, my fellow Irishman (5/8)
Peace and Happiness, John." and a big smiley face.
Also got to say a quick hello to Tish Cohen again, author of TOWN HOUSE, and got a copy of her upcoming middle-grade release THE INVISIBLE RULES OF THE ZOE LAMA which looks like a very fun read.
So, all in all, in terms of days I should have been writing but wasn't, I don't feel too guilty about this one. A day well spent.