I am a still recovering from BookExpo and sorting through the hundreds of books and galleys I brought home. I didn't just grab stuff for myself, but a ton of teen fiction for my daughter and non-fiction books for my wife. So it was Christmas for them, too. My shoulders and back are aching from the bags of books I lugged around the convention floor before unloading them in my car (I must have made a dozen trips to my car over the weekend to unload galleys…thank god I parked near the entrance!). But it was worth it. I wonder how many of the books I'll ever get around to reading.
Not only did I scoop up galleys of new books from Dennis Lehane, Robert Crais, Thomas Perry, Anita Shreve, and scores of other other "name" authors…I also got the JUNO screenplay, Roger Ebert's book about Scorcese, and the official episode guides for RESCUE ME, 24, and a few others TV shows. I didn't expect to find those among the freebies.
Aside from all the free stuff, I spent a lot of time chatting with librarians and booksellers, meeting new authors, and browsing through the offerings at the various publishers' booths. That was great.
I was surprised how many teams of book dealers were there, working the
autograph area, hustling between lines (and often shouting across
them) to get signed galleys and books they could turn around and sell. I found it really irritating. I wish there was a way to
keep them out, though I realize they count technically as booksellers, too. That said,
most of the booksellers who were there sell *new* books, ordered from publishers
and paying royalties to authors, not the freebies they snag at
BookExpo. It's one thing for the dealers to dominate the signing lines
at events like the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books or Bouchercon,
but I felt an industry event was the wrong place for them to be
clogging up the lines. Maybe I'd feel differently if so many of them this year weren't so loud, pushy and rude.
I bumped into a lot of friends, including Marv Wolfman, Mark Evanier, Harry Hunsicker, Brett Battles, Penny Warner, T. Jefferson Parker, Bob Levinson, Patricia Smiley, Bill Fitzhugh, former Mystery Bookshop proprietor Sheldon MacArthur and agent Ken Sherman among others. Paul Levine was carrying around a galley called THE LANGUAGE OF SEX (or something like that) under his arm and, while I was talking to him, a guy stopped to ask if Paul wrote it and where he could get a copy. Paul, of course, claimed he not only wrote it, but the JOY OF SEX as well. I surprised Victoria Rowell, one of the stars of DIAGNOSIS MURDER, who
was signing the paperback edition of her memoir and we had a warm
reunion. I ended my visit with a long dim sum lunch in Chinatown with my book agent Gina Maccoby. We talked about what I should do next now that I'm not juggling two books series and writing four books a year. I pitched her one of the mystery/thriller ideas I have and she loved it…so maybe I will try to start writing it in-between Monk books this year…or I may just write it as a spec script first and see what happens.
Speaking of specs, I better stop procrastinating here and finish the one I'm working on….