Saturday, October 24, 2009

Sherman Alexie Event Breaks Our In-Store Record for Attendance

Well, that was quite an event on Wednesday. Sherman Alexie told us that his YA novel The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian had really taken his popularity to a different level. There sure were a lot of high school kids in the crowd. But be warned, this isn't a YA style talk. Be warned!

I am not the suavest of the author pamperers. When the crowd isn't as big as it should be, I get apologetic. When it's really large, I start panicking about whether we should close the doors, what's being knocked over, who's going to complain because they didn't get a seat. I babble a bit, and think, I'm usually better at this communication thing.

That said, folks aren't coming to the event to see me, and in this case, it was some talk they got. There's some reading from War Dances, yes, but much of Alexie's talk is about pop culture, changing technology, politics, sports, and yes, race and ethnicity. We had almost 350 people in the crowd (pretty near capacity, but we didn't have to close the doors to the public), but I felt sad for the million-plus folks in metro Milwaukee who weren't able to come to the event (surely do to more pressing matters.)

I even got a better understanding of War Dances, how it fits into his oeuvre, and where he might go with his new work for Little, Brown. And though I'm supposed to keep up on this stuff, I had totally missed that Alexie signed with one of my favorite editors, Regan Arthur.

Totally paraphrased conversation:
Goldin: "What's great about Arthur is that she can do literary fiction, but she's also an incredible mystery editor."
Alexie: "Yes. And I'm writing a hybrid."

Totally paraphrased.

We had a really interesting talk about book price wars, ebooks and intellectual property, and what are writers going to do when folks are stealing 95% of the books they read (that's an estimate on music). Oh, and then he told me some interesting things I'm not going to talk about, because I've chosen not to be the Walter Winchell of the book world (purposely chose dead icon, so as not to insult anyone).

I think Stacie had a good talk too (shown getting stock signed with Alexie).

Read this profile in The New York Times. Oh and regarding the story in the New York Times, saying that people are reading more on ebooks because it's more convenient. I think that the real story is, folks are buying more cheap stuff's cheap and easy. Maybe at first they read more because it's a novelty. But from what I've heard, that wears off.
We love getting fan mail.
"Thank you SO much for bringing in Sherman Alexie last night to speak at your bookstore. He was amazing! There are many authors who are interesting in person but few who fufill all my expectations upon seeing them after reading their works and getting my little book-crushes. But Alexie was one author who did not disappoint. You guys all did a great job managing the space and all the people who showed up. Good job on a busy night. Thanks for making the event enjoyable and easy to navigate. I hope you sold lots of books!"
Thank you, Erica!

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