Saturday, June 02, 2007

BEA Day 2: In which I am believed to be escaping from the Chronicle Books booth.

BEA 2007I started out writing last night's BEA report under the title "A short post about a hot day." It didn't turn out as short as I had thought it would. How can I tell? HBO was running the complete Star Wars saga in series order last night (hey, HBO! Why this Friday? Why not last Friday?), and I started blogging during the last half hour of Attack of the Clones and finished just as Han Solo and company reached the remains of Alderaan in A New Hope. Yes, folks, I blogged all the way through Revenge of the Sith. I highly recommend that as a decent way to watch that film.

While the BEA show wasn't quite as hectic-frantic as it was yesterday, it was still plenty busy, with lots of publishers, publicists, book agents, and yes, the precious "blue badge" of honest-to-gosh booksellers moving through the aisles.

Luckily it was cooler than yesterday...still hot, but a relief after the balmy tropical weather of Friday. How can I tell? The tarps lining the ceiling of the Javits Center at irregular intervals were fluttering weakly in the air-conditioned half-breeze. Have you stopped at BEA, craned your neck upwards, and wondered what those tarps were for? Well, take a look at the corners of BEA aisles—look for empty booth spaces occupied by big plastic barrels. Now look upwards again and note that hoses connect those tarps up there and the barrels down here. Yes, folks, the Javits Center ceiling leaks and this elaborate makeshift solution drips the lovely, far-from-crystal Manhattan rainwater right down into those big tubs adjoining your booth. Because that's the way we do things in New York, baby!

Wandering down the aisles cheerfully whistling "Raindrops Keep Fallin' On My Head," I get to work for the day. Saturday is always a big day for author appearances and signings. From the balmy safety of the Norton booth I can see long, long snaking lines to see folks like James Patterson and Stephen Colbert. There's also no doubt massive crowds downstairs at the formal autographing areas, but today's you can't swing a cat (warning: do not actually swing a cat) in the publisher pavilions themselves without hitting a booth author signing. I don't stand on line to get autographed books or galleys mainly because I'm pretty busy with our own in-booth events! I am a little too short to help our authors directly (and we have wonderful sales reps helping them every step of the way), but there's always plenty of work for everyone to make a signing come off well: fetching and unboxing galleys, opening them and turning them to the correct page to be autographed, keeping the queue organized and lined up properly (don't block other people's booths if your line snakes outside your booth!) and the ever-important job of picking up after.

Since this is a working show for me, keeping busy with events in the booth means a little less time to wander the BEA show floor today, but I do get a chance to slip away and dash up a few aisles. First up: the Overlook Press booth to check out forthcoming editions of their P. G. Wodehouse reissues. Sadly, no one recognizes me as Bully, the Wodehouse-Blogging Bull, but with patience and perseverance, perhaps next year at this time they will be rolling out the red carpet to see me come into the booth. In the meantime, Jeeves looks happy to see me...hey wait, Overlook...isn't that the retired "Ask Jeeves" logo? Are you allowed to use that?

A friendly but warning sign in the Viz Comics section alerts me that while I'm in the booth, I may be filmed and used in upcoming promotional advertising material. To which I say, hooray! I'm gonna be in an anime cartoon, everybody! Hoo hoo!:

Costumed characters from Patrick McDonnell's Mutts comic strip are on hand to give BEA attendees much-needed hugs...except they're out to lunch when I stop by! Oh no! I coulda used a hug.

Some of the technology-oriented companies have display areas that don't even have any books in them. Ingram's booth area looks like an internet café. They would not, however, let me check my email.

I stopped by to see my good pals from, too. Hullo Miss Vicky! Hullo Miss Kim! Hullo Misters Rob and Brad!:

Entering the international publishing pavilion area, I am abruptly stopped by a sign in the plush rug. Eeek! Apparently I cannot enter this booth, as I did not bring my passport with me:

Chronicle has a cool-looking upcoming craft book (Knitted Icons) that instructs you how to knit dolls of famous celebrities like Madonna, Marilyn Monroe, Mister T. and Elvis. These are pretty cool and there are lots of knitted pals displayed around the booth, like the Fab Felt Four:

However, I was actually stopped as I headed out of the Chronicle booth because they thought I was one of their display dolls being carried away! Yikes! They were very pleasant and apologetic when they realized their mistake. Apology accepted from this little fuzzy guy, Chronicle. Now, knit me a Billie Piper!

Back in the Norton pavilion, I stop again in the Fantagraphics booth, where they are promoting a new book by Ellen Forney: Lust: Kinky Online Personal Ads from Seattle's "The Stranger". Yikes!! I do not think I am allowed to look at this book. I sure hope you glued on those stars pretty strongly, Miss Forney!:

I didn't pick up as much free BEA "swag" today as I did last year, but here's one of my favorites: The Onion is bringing out a brand-new book this fall, Our Dumb World: The Onion's Atlas of the Planet Earth, and I picked up the very funny promotional brochure they did for it (sorry, I wrinkled it a bit!):

I'm a big fan of The Onion, not merely because it's very funny but because it's free, but I'll gladly pony up the dough for this new Onion book as it's the first all-original volume since their first book, Our Dumb Century. Here's a sample inside spread focusing on "Chile: Preventing Argentina from Enjoying the Pacific Ocean Since 1818":

But when day is done and you head back to your assigned BEA hotel room to relax your achy achy hooves and crank up the AC to lower your temperature from the balmy day, the very best thing to have is a brand-new friend. You can't buy friends, but you can get one for free if you stop by the Regnery Publishing booth and pick up a happy squishy pig:

Because, in the end, that's one of the things I love best about BEA: the chance to meet new friends and see old ones again. The book world can be a demanding mistress, but there's a lot of great people working in it. I'm very pleased to be part of it. BEA oughta be fun...and it often is.

But please crank up the AC tomorrow, Javits Center!


Erin Palette said...

Aww, Bully... those Mutts people may not have given you a hug, but I'm always here for you!


Anonymous said...

Yeah..since discovering you as a fellow Dick Francis fan yesterday - also, noting the serious snappiness of that vest - I feel compelled to cyber-hug your little stuffed self yet again.

I've only been to one book expo - when I worked in a Toronto bookstore back in the 90's - but I enjoyed it enormously. There's just something about being surrounded by lots and lots and lots of new books, isn't there?