Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Writing Off site at the Writing Offsite

Another day, another offsite. Actually, we did almost none of these in February, which both gave me a rest, yet also had me more worried about monthly sales. The days when you could just throw open your bookstore doors and do business have been over for years.

This weekend I've been selling books at the UWM Spring writers festival. What I like about this crowd is that they are a bunch conducive to bookselling. Even though they know that they will be doing a lot of their business online, they are aware that a bookstore can also spread the word about their work.

It's two and a half days of lectures, panels, and every other conceivable kind of programming to help a budding writer. The keynote speakers were Agate Nesaule, Anthony Flacco, and Mukoma wa Nugugi. Flacco has some true crime, a mystery, and a writing book, which he cowrote with Sharlene Martin, another attendee. His newest is The Road Out of Hell, which tells the story behind the movie, "The Changeling." I love this description on our website because...

"In dramatizing one of the darkest cases in American crime, Flacco constructs a psychological drama about how one man is able to detoxify himself from the evil he'd encountered, offering the redemptive story of one man's remarkable ability to survive a nightmare and emerge intact."

...I have no idea what the book is about after reading it. (Editor's note--what I mean by this is that it's a really bad description that I have no control of. It doesn't indicate that it is the true story behind Clint Eastwood's movie "The Changeling", or even hint at what the crimes were. And who is "one man"? The killer? A relative? The author? I actually talked to Sharlene Martin, the book's agent, about perhaps fixing the copy on Ingram's database, which is used for all ABA e-commerce websites. For more background on the book, you might do better to look at the Wikipedia site on the Wineville Chicken Coop Murders.)

Ngugi has written Nairobi Heat, a noir mystery about an African man who return to Kenya for some crime solving, but gets caught in the world of violence, greed and prejudice. It's published by Penguin South Africa. The good part of that was that Penguin did import some copies to the U.S. The bad part is that it's a $26 paperback.

This program has been running for eight years, and last night, everybody gave a round of applause to Yolanda, who has been attending since the beginning. Several of my regular customers are in attendance, which is fun, as is Rochelle Melander, who helped with our NaNoWriMo program last November.

I expected to give out a lot of business cards, but...I forgot to bring them. Hey, they know how to get a hold of me.

Thank you to Anne for setting this up. If you are interested in getting on the mailing list for next year's program, contact Anne O'Meara at the School of Continuing Education at UWM.

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