Finally I have returned from Book Expo and my subsequent vacation (a week's sojourn on the Outer Banks of North Carolina, where instead of staring at a computer screen I was watching dolphins as they patrolled the coast, making sandcastles with my little girl, lazing by the pool, and finishing off the next book in my favorite genre: Brit-chick-lit).
So instead of the usual two or three days at the book fair, I had only one and a half. Here's how it went:
I arrived at my husband's hotel after 6pm on Thursday, and joined him and his coworkers for a late dinner in Chelsea. The next morning I hopped on the shuttle bus to the fair. My seatmate was Catherine Palmer, a well-known Christian fiction author (nice lady!). The ride took a while because of rush-hour traffic, so as soon as I got there I rushed to the autographing area, where the first of four of our authors, Laurence Shatkin, was just getting started signing copies of 225 Best Jobs for Baby Boomers for fans and job seekers. I hovered nearby with our publicist, listening to the exchanges he had with booksellers, librarians, and others. We both took the opportunity to float down a few tables and meet Mo Willems, author of the Knuffle Bunny books and others. His hard-core publicist wouldn't let him personalize the book for my daughter, but he sent his best regards to her anyway.
Then the publicist and I ran for a quick early lunch at the food court, and then back to our booth to await the arrival of our next author to do a signing, Jessica Carter. I fielded a couple of interesting inquiries from passers-by before it was time to head back to the autographing area for Jessica's signing of Double Outsiders: How Women of Color Can Succeed in Corporate America. She had a lot of interest in her book and as a first-time author seemed to enjoy the whole experience. The next signer at her table was Chris Elliot, so I shook his hand and spoke to him a little before taking off for the show floor.
I spent several hours making targeted visits to booths of our competitors (to pick up catalogs and meet my peers). Catalogs are heavy, so I tried to take only the most essential things (and not be, as one of my authors calls it, a "trade-show trick-or-treater"). Still, I ended up weighed down.
At the end of the day I waited in a monstrous line for the shuttle bus, and ended up sitting with a lady who does publishing market research--and works with someone I worked with at Macmillan 16 years ago (small world).
I went back to the hotel and freshened up for dinner. I walked to meet the rest of the JIST gang and authors at a restaurant near Times Square (and the former Macmillan offices at 1633 Broadway, where last century we had sightings of JFK Jr. going to his George offices).
The next morning I intended to go back to the show for another hour or two, but I ended up instead having breakfast with a friend who is a librarian in San Francisco--and whose partner, my friend from high school, is at a career crossroads. I was happy to suggest some books for him!
Then we headed off for the airport. I got home, unpacked, packed, and left the next morning for North Carolina.