I walked through the doors of the Javits Center, only this time not as an otaku or comic nerd, but as a Power reader. One of an elite 1,000 that was allowed entry into the hallowed halls, or should I say aisles, of the BEA, that were not trade or press, for the very first time. I was special. It’s all there in the name; Power Reader and I was on top of the world. My voice mattered. We were invited into the fold and I felt all warm and squishy inside. It was going to be one hell of a day.
There was a special desk reserved just for Power Readers. We got a special badge with a special lanyard, lime green, and a special swag bag not offered to other attendees. Little did I realize then we were being marked.
Anyhoo, we checked our luggage and got on line. With my faithful friend, Terri at my side, I was ready to tackle the day. You know Terri, of Alexia’s Books and Such…Today, though; I was her sidekick, her apprentice, her padawan if you will. The force is strong with her, or perhaps it is her will, but she is a woman with a purpose, or at least a well- drawn out agenda. She was the pro and I was such an amateur. I deferred to her in all things. She was my guide, my beacon and she had the map. When they let us in, she high tailed it to the Sourcebooks booth for the t-shirt give away. Along the way, we passed by some of the major publishers and stopped in real quick to see what galleys they were giving away. It was like California during the gold rush. There be books in them thar hills, or booths actually!!! I felt I just walked into the Chocolate room at Willy Wonka’s factory, a world of pure imagination.
It didn’t take long for me to realize my tote bag was woefully inadequate. I glanced sideways at Terri’s enormous red bag and felt for the first time in my life tote bag envy. Taking pity on me, as she often does, she told me where I could procure one for myself, so after we picked up the t-shirt and she had gotten on line for an autogrphing, I headed for the McGraw Hill booth so I could make one of those red tote bags mine.
I didn’t have much on my agenda. I had two signings at 10, one at 12 and one at 1. I had time on my hands. So while Terri got in line for Jeri Smith-Ready, I went walkabout. I met back up with her just before she got her book signed.
One thing Terri warned me about was the authors/publishers that are trying to attract people to their booth. Now I will say up front that I really do feel for these people and would love to support them. They are trying to generate interest and revenue in their work, but I really just don’t read up on the fauna of the Adirondacks or the life cycle of a meal worm. They are like a Venus flytrap, though, looking all pretty on the outside, drawing you in, and then whammo, snapping the trap shut. As we walked away from JSR, a woman was handing out a green tote bag. Oh, pretty, matches my lanyard. Thank you, how nice. Until she then asked if I wanted to meet the author and she herded me over to his table. It was a weight loss book. Now I know I still have a bit more weight to lose. Was I being targeted? Was she making a statement as if to say, “Honey, you really need the assistance you will get from this book.” I don’t know, but I felt trapped. The author was a doctor, but also a client. That kind of thing. He gave me the pitch; he showed me the illustration, the vicious cycle of weight gain, which I could see as it was on the cover of the book. Yes, I see, depression leads to eating leads to weight gain and so on and so on. He had to demonstrate the cycle by pointing it out as he was talking about it. It was hard to feign interest. Now, I would have been okay if he had just given me a few second pitch, signed the book, handed it to me and let me be on my way. I’m intelligent. I can read. And I am interested in the psychology of it all, but come on, I have another signing to get to. Can we hurry it up? No? How about I give you back your tote bag and let’s call it a day. But I was polite and exhibited a patience I didn’t possess and was finally able to get out of there. Lesson one learned. Do not make eye contact.
We headed off to our 10am autographings which were uneventful. Since we had time, Terri wanted to go get in line for the Wood Queen only to realize that when we got to the front of the line, it was someone else entirely. As she was in front of me, she ended up feeling guilted into getting the book while I sidestepped around her. Ain’t I a stinker? I wasn't falling into that trap again.
To be continued......