BookExpo adventure

May 21st, 2006 | Travels and Appearances

arriving at BEAI just got back from Washington, DC after a big weekend at BookExpo America, the gargantuan publishing industry convention. I was there to promote my new book Fun Home. Here I am Friday morning, just about to enter the vast and overwhelming trade floor.

And here I am in front of the booth for Bowker, a reference book publisher. bowkerMy very first job out of college was as a temporary proofreader at Bowker. I wasn’t even proofreading words, but lists of numbers. It was awful. So I felt very smug that here I was 25 years later, no longer a temporary number checker, but an actual author.

I proceeded to the Houghton Mifflin booth, my publisher, where I signed a huge stack of books. They just gave them away to people, like breath mints! That made me a little nervous–how would we sell any if everyone had a copy already? But the Houghton people assured me that this is how these things are done. Later I signed another bunch of books in this big corral place where there are dozens of authors signing away while people line up in chutes to get a free book. the corralHere’s my chute before they let the people in. And here I am signing. signingIt was pretty wild.

But not nearly as wild as The Great Big International Drag King Show, which I went to later Friday night. These pictures suck, but it was the best I could do. pirateThis was an interesting sailor number. The finale involved a jolly roger flag being produced from a most surprising place.

This act was really impressive, with lots of period costumes and elaborate choreography. period costumes

But these guys in their chaps performing Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy, were the real showstoppers.save a horse, ride a cowboy

The next day, I was on a panel called Pictures of a Life: Comics and the Memoir. My idol Harvey Pekar was on it too. He just guest-edited Best American Comics for Houghton Mifflin with Anne Elizabeth Moore. It’s a great anthology coming out in October. This is Harvey and me waiting to go to the airport.harvey & me

9 Responses to “BookExpo adventure”

  1. Ng Yi-Sheng says:

    Damn… I’m publishing my first book next month, so I’ve only got dreams like yours…

    Which countries were represented at the International Drag King competition? Singapore’s gotta work itself into more global representation.

  2. M.Campos says:

    Harvey! He’s looking a little happier. We saw him here a month ago, got his new book. He was seriously and sadly jetlagged. A bunch of Seattle cartoonists gathered at the end of his signing to get him to come out for coffee, but he was so tired he had to beg off. This could happen to you when you come to sign here, so be prepared.

  3. Bobcat2022 says:

    Oh snap! You and your book were at B.E.A.? I wish I’d known ahead of time… I would have made sure to seek you out. :-( Dang.

  4. van gogh says:

    I’d really like to hear more about the Jolly Roger.

  5. bette davis says:

    I’ve been wondering; do you have a game plan for keeping your interviews from delving too far into the personal? I puzzle over this, this dichotomy of having a public persona, or a revealing web site, but maintaining a private personhood. A memoir opens the door to all kinds of intensely intimate questions. It’s dodgy ground, and interviewers love to go to the quick of a person, to penetrate their publicity shell with extra-pointy arrows. The topics you cover in your book could lead to questions that go to the most private core of yourself. Do you have a strategy to deflect? Or are you planning on answering their questions….?

  6. astronomick says:

    What, you were at BEA? Heh heh. But the best part is where you have your picture in front of… the Bowker booth! That’s classic! (As is proofreading lists of numbers. I’m sorry you had to do it, but it is rather absurdly funny.) And I like the picture of you and Harvey waiting to go to the airport. I feel a tiny bit as if I got to be there myself. Eh, but that’s photographs for you. Still, thanks for that one.

  7. juliette says:

    We were hoping you’d be one of our celebrity sightings! We’re very excited to be carrying your book!

  8. Sheila says:

    As a bookstore owner, I can reassure you that ARCs do work to get attention and to get bookstore staff excited about the book, which is really what you want. (All the queer girls on my staff are telling all their friends about it.) The folks at BEA aren’t really the ones who’ll buy your book, we’re the ones who’ll sell it. I’m at the Big Blue Marble in Philly and we’re already getting people calling to reserve copies, three weeks before the signing.

    Did you pick up a copy of Joanna Sfar’s new book, Klezmer?

  9. Jen says:

    Hey,look, that’s Allison staring at my floral chest in the BEA signing chute! Seriously. I enjoyed every page of Fun House–thanks!