Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Event Wrap Up in Photos--Tom Franklin and Beth Ann Fennelly, Sara Paretsky, CJ Hribal

It's been close to a year now that I lost my camera, and since then, like most of the world, I've taken to using my phone. Though I've heard that the cameras in phones are often better than the stand alones, I feel like my pictures have gone a bit downhill, perhaps because I'm not using it correctly. But it's not like they are terrible, and I realized that after documenting the author visits I attended in Austin, I probably was giving short shrift to our homegrown events, post-event, and needed to fill you in on some of the interesting details.

We'd hosted Tom Franklin for Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter, and this time, we were lucky to have both Mr. Franklin and Beth Ann Fennelly together, having collaborated on The Tilted World. How nice that Ms. Fennelly's mom lives within commuting distance of the store, so there could be some famly time as well. We showed the two our flood display, complete with two dead bodies.  The flood novels continue--Wally Lamb's latest, We are Water, has a Connecticut flood as an important plot point.

I was on the fence as to how to lay this event out. One shared podium or two conversation chairs? In this case, I thought podium, as I find it is difficult to read sitting down. On the other hand, because our event with Robert Boswell, in town to talk about Tumbledown, was structured more as a conversation with C.J. Hribal, we did set up the comfy chairs with coffee table (also known as bargain book bench) between them. Hribal read at a podium and then had the conversation. For Valerie Sayers, a more intimate group led us to do everything from the conversation chairs, including the reading.

As I had mentioned in a previous post, both Boswell and Sayers were authors that I had read in the past. That said, when it came time to get books signed, I didn't bring in the backlist. Oh well, I guess that puts them on the same level as Cathleen Schine, Alice McDermott, and Andrew Sean Greer. I guess that like our good customers Pat and Suzanne, I don't really value the signature as much as I thought I did.

Sara Paretsky had a more traditional event, a solo talk with a bit of reading from Critical Mass. I figured that as a Chicagoan, this trip would be leisurely for her, but some scheduling issues led her to have to rush from Houston. We learned about a short delay from one of our customers (the power of social media), but in the end, the event started pretty close to 3 pm, as promised.

I find that mystery writers understand that talking about the book seems to connect them with customers more than reading from it, though Paretsky did a nice reading that was much appreciated. The audience gave her a lot of love, and she threw the love right back. We had lots of feedback from attendees about how great the afternoon was (and they showed their appreciation by buying the book), and I couldn't agree more.

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