Publishing/Writing: Insights, News, Intrigue


Authors on the (Far) Edge of Fame

Filed under: BookExpo America,humorous article on BEA,Ralph Gardner — gator1965 @ 9:05 pm

I have just discovered (shows what a rube I am!) Ralph Gardener Jr., a freelancer who writes for New York magazine, the New York Observer, the New Yorker, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) among other publications; and am sold on his style of writing and humorous approach…Especially as displayed in his article for WSJ about the BookExpo America (BEA)…If you want a good down-to-earth laugh and break from the usual banter on the BEA you must read Ralph’s article:

I’ve always secretly envied author friends who complained about having to attend the ABA—the American Booksellers Association convention, these days known as the BEA, for BookExpo America. If only I’d written a book my publisher wanted to promote—or any book at all!—I’d gladly have schlepped to Albuquerque or Denver, or wherever the annual event was being held, and spent several days holed up in some refrigerated convention hall. It seemed a small price to pay for meeting my fans and selling a few books.

Well, this year the BEA was held in New York and, guess what, I had a book to promote. Sort of. It’s called “Hay Fever” and it’s by Angela Miller with Ralph Gardner Jr. It’s about Ms. Miller’s schizophrenic existence as both a big-time literary agent and a full-time, prize-winning goat-cheese farmer in Vermont.

And it’s a best seller, or was briefly in Amazon’s hard-fought Dairy Science category. On the overall Amazon list, it currently ranks 289,627 places behind Stieg Larsson’s “The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest,” the current overall No. 1 best-seller.

But I’m one of those guys who will show up for the opening of an envelope, so I decided I’d better high-tail it over to the book fair and grab whatever glory was left after Scott Turow and John Grisham were done sopping it up.

Say what you will about a civilization that screws up as calamitously as ours is doing in the Gulf, it’s still hard not to get a lump in your throat when entering the massive Javits Convention Center and encountering exhibitors as far as the eye can see engaged in nothing more harmful than trying to amuse and inform humanity.

I picked up my press tag and made my way over to John Wiley & Sons Inc., our publishers. In fairness, I hadn’t given them a heads-up I’d be coming, so there were no events planned around my visit, such as the authors’ breakfast the following morning hosted by Jon Stewart and featuring Sarah, the Duchess of York, Condoleezza Rice and Christopher Hitchens, among others.

There weren’t posters touting “Hay Fever,” either, as there were for Warren Bennis’s “Still Surprised: A Life In Leadership” or “Bartending For Dummies.” And there wasn’t any chance of an impromptu book signing because there was only one copy of “Hay Fever” at Wiley’s lovely, living-room-like booth. But give the Wiley crew their due: Once they heard I was one of their authors, they summoned Larry Olson, the veep for marketing, to greet me personally.


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