A minnow among the big fish
Last week I was a guest author at the L.A. Times Festival of Books on the UCLA campus. I was there courtesy of the Mysterious Galaxy Bookstore from San Diego, who invited me to sit at their booth for one hour Saturday afternoon and sell my book.
Most of the big name authors were on panels or doing readings in the tents, followed by signings in which hundreds of people queued up for autographed books. Mary Higgins Clark had a line of fans snaking across the festival grounds to meet her. Michael Gruber had a non-stop stream of appreciative readers.
Me? I actually had three people waiting for my autograph, thanks to Jeff Shelby pumping up my book on the Warwick's Bookstore bus from La Jolla. Plus staff and friends from Mysterious Galaxy had dibs on copies.
Mostly I stood in front of the booth and worked the passing crowd. By mid-afternoon I sold out my modest stack of books and felt pleased about my accomplishments.
Then I visited Robert Crais signing for Barnes & Noble. He didn't have to work the crowd, the crowd came after him. Minders herded fans through velvet ropes. I wandered around until the crowd dissolved and I returned to find Robert signing books B&N wheeled to him, dozens at a time.
Weeks ago I had met Robert at a Denver luncheon for the local chapter of the Mystery Writers of America. He proved to be a thoroughly likeable guy and a class act. Robert remembered me and I wished him well, considering his hand would be getting major cramps from all the books he had to autograph (when will I have that problem!).
I plan to return to the Festival next year, hopefully as a bigger fish. Make sure you come see me. With luck, there will be a long line.