Friday at Readercon

Readercon was excellent. I did a lot of legwork before the con and arranged signings with several authors. This required me to abandoned my trusted wreck of a car and borrow my in-law’s van. We packed over 20 big boxes of books, luggage, two kids, CDs and my wife and I into the van and headed off Friday morning. 5 hours later we were at the hotel. Last year it was 6.5 hours, so we were quite pleased. After several trips between the van and room, it was off to registration.

First stop was China Mieville’s signing. I had contacted him through Paul at Earthling Publications prior to the con and wanted to introduce myself. This was his first signing of two and traffic to the table was slow, so he had me bring my books down to him then. Another bookseller (their name slips my mind at the moment) helped speed things up by opening books to the right page as I unpacked boxes. Next year, I pre-tag pages with Post-It notes. Never realized how much easier it would make things. Anyhow, it was a real pleasure getting to meet China.

Back in the dealer’s room a short while later, I started checking out some of the new releases from Prime Books. By the end of the con, I had several of these to take home with me, but Sean seems to have done well, since I didn’t get everything I had hoped for there. Anyhow, after I was done there, I noticed that Jeffrey Ford had his signing. We set up an appointment for the next morning and chatted a bit. Rick Bowes was also there. I was disappointed that Rick’s book was one of the few that didn’t arrive in time for the con. I only had the small pile that I had in-stock, but we still planned to meet the next day after his reading.

In the elevator, I ran into Michael Cisco, who was on his way to a reading from his recently completed novel, The Narrator. He told me that it should be coming from Prime sometime in 2007. I meant to check with Sean on this, but it completely slipped my mind. (Sean, if you read this and have the specifics, please send!) I would have attended the reading, but I had already scheduled a few signings for that evening, starting with Paul Park.

Met up with Paul shortly afterwards, and he signed a nice stack of copies of A Princess of Roumania in hardcover and paperback. I had tried to get copies of The Tourmaline from Tor, but they wouldn’t/didn’t ship them ahead of the publication date… which happened to be this week. Anyhow, Paul indicated he’d be willing to sign those when they came in. I’ll be contacting him to mail off a box of books shortly.

I decided that my next stop would be Peter Watt’s reading. I’ve been looking forward to Blindsight, and thought this would be fun. It was. Peter was quite entertaining and had some funny comments about the book cover, which he hates. He printed up a batch of alternate covers and brought them to the con. (We’ll be including some of these free with copies of the Blindsight that we sell.) Anyhow, I want this book now.

Peter and Paul Witcover came back to my room to sign some books and there was more discussion of bad covers. It’s a shame that authors don’t have more of a say in what gets chosen for the covers. Some have even offered to help pay for changes and gotten nowhere. It’s all marketing from what I hear, but that doesn’t explain some of the things I’ve seen. The one that comes to mind is TOR’s treatment of Steven Erikson’s Malazan books. Fans were crusading against the new art, and in a small but rare victory, the second book went with the original UK art instead of the art that was making its way around the net. (It was horribly wrong.)…but I’m getting distracted. I’ll come back to this sometime.

Paul Levinson’s reading was next. He read from The Plot to Save Socrates, a fun book with a well-chosen reading to hook the audience into wanting more. Afterwards, Paul and I chatted and he signed some books. (See a trend here?)

I went back to my room to start organizing the mess of books, say hi to the kids, and grab some of the food they had from room service. I had about an hour before the Meet the Pros party, and had fun killing it there. The boys (ages 3 and 6) were enjoying their adventure in the hotel.

Meet the Pros was well-attended. I ran into so many people that I know I’ll forget someone if I try to list them all. Customers, authors, friends… a lot of wandering around chatting. Eventually the hotel staff through us all out and that was end of the day for me.

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