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Sunday, April 10, 2011

A Super(Nova) Weekend

Who would have thought I could get so much out of a whole weekend in the dealers' room? I usually like to go to panels, but I had a dealers' room pass and let's face it, I was at Supanova to promote my book. I could have paid for a regular ticket, but Wolfborn was my priority.

At the table, I finally put a face to the name of Sarana Behan, a publicist, and met some of her colleagues at Random House. Michael Pryor was also there for a while on the Saturday, nice to see him. Michael is going overseas, so won't be at either Swancon or Continuum. I snarled a little in sheer envy when he said he was going for research - why can't I travel for research? - and he joked about writing guides to the resorts of the South Pacific, which needed research as well...

Promotion went very well. We only sold three copies of my book on the Saturday, but lots of people wanted signed bookmarks and posters, so hopefully they will buy books later. A lovely lady who has since found this web site and introduced herself as "Sheep Rustler", made my day by saying she and her daughter had both read and loved the book. There was a librarian from Aquinas College who took a poster signed to the kids and some bookmarks to hand out to them. If they don't have the book already, they'll get it now, because why put up a signed poster if the kids can't borrow it? :-) Sarana kept saying, "You can go now if you like", not wanting me to give up my weekend, but every time I was about to get up, I had another person or group wanting me to sign something. A girl could get a really swelled head from something like this, although the real ego booster is when they BUY the thing! ;-)

Yesterday Sarana had moved my seat to the other side of the table, facing the Dymock's stall and that was much better. Every time someone stopped at the stall to sign up for the newsletter or take some flyers and bookmarks, Sarana would say, "Do you like werewolves? There's this one, and the author is over there if you want her to sign for you..." and send them over to me. And whenever I persuaded them to buy, they'd say, "Can I actually get this book?" and I'd point to the pile at the Dymock's stall, where it could be found easily, saying, "Right over there." That worked well and by lunchtime we'd sold seven. (We sold a lot more during the rest of the day). Admittedly two were to a couple of young ladies I had met at the tram stop in town on the way to the con. Three friends were travelling to Supanova. Two were dressed as Ford Prefect and Arthur Dent and were delighted when I recognised them. Their third friend wasn't in costume, but I think intended to be, later. (She bought a copy of my book) In fact, they had all been changing as the day went on Saturday and had brought another change of costume.

This is something I think is wonderful about these pop culture expos, something we no longer have at most regular fannish conventions (except, as far as I know, Nullas Anxietas, the Discworld con, where every other person is in costume). The place is overflowing with people in hall costume. I think I'll take something to Swancon, even if it's only a caftan, cloak and veil, to look vaguely mediaeval.

In the course of the con, I met Nat from Of Science And Swords bookshop, who said he recognised me as a customer and I said with a smile, "Yes, and you still don't have any copies of my book!" Before the con was over, we'd discussed me coming in for a signing. His boss did say, "Look, I'm sorry we don't have your book, but local distributors all want you to buy a minimum $500 worth of books" and of course, they're a small business - a VERY small business, located in an expensive city arcade. I get that, totally - and I feel better about it now I know why.

But the ladies at RH said they should call the company anyway and they'd get some suggestions for a cheaper distributor. So hopefully, that will work out. Fingers crossed! As long as I was there I asked them if they could check out "Sword At Sunset" which may have to come from the US, because our students are starting to read Rosemary Sutcliff and I don't have the sequel to the Eagle Of The Ninth Chronicles. Fortunately, they're all into buying from the US, so if it's available they should be able to get it for me.

By the end of yesterday I'd been invited to be a guest speaker at the Melbourne SF Club mini-con next month. Nice! Promote promote promote! Mind you, some of the members have already bought copies at Nova Mob the other night, which was great.

I had a chat with Marianne De Pierres, author of the very good YA novel Burn Bright, who kindly offered to come talk to my book club about a week after the holidays. There won't be time for anyone much to read the book before then, so far only one has read it because we've only just got it, but I will buy some more so they can read it afterwards. I don't have her adult SF in my library,but this one is an excellent start for them and there's a sequel to come.

That's something nice to tell my dearest book clubbers at our meeting first day back!

Terrific weekend! Makes me feel somewhat better about the fact that the Melbourne Writers' Festival doesn't want me this year for their Youth Day.


Sheep Rustler said...

Hi, Sue, me again :) I presume if you are teaching your school kids Rosemary Sutcliff you are familiar with the site, but if not, do have a look at it, it is a great resource and it is run by her godson/executor or something like that. I am so glad that you get your students so enthusiastic about this sort of writing :) My daughter was THRILLED that you signed the bookmark. And my sister-in-law is also planning on reading the book - she has read the original (in the original medieval French, even!) and is very keen to check it out.

Sue Bursztynski said...

Oddly enough, they're discovering it themselves. There are a lot of old, battered Sutcliff books on the shelves which nobody had looked at for some time, but hey, this is Rosemary Sutcliff and no way was I going to turf them! I was rewarded for my patience. A few years ago, they put out "The Mark of The Horse Lord" in a snazzy new cover. Last year a student asked me if I had "something like The Mark Of The Horse Lord". Come here, little boy, do I have some books for you! I had to give him what I had, but while he read I was scrounging the bookshops for the Eagle of the Ninth series. I finally managed to get some from my favourite bookshop, Collected Works, which ordered in what they could get from the distributors, including a three-in-one cover with a sticker urging the reader to read this before the movie comes out. I have, as I mentioned in the post, asked about Sword At Sunset, because not only is he a fan, but one of my current students has just finished reading it, a young man who is always in trouble with sub-school but has won my heart by always having his nose in a book. Once the movie comes out I expect to have more requests.

Hope your sister-in-law doesn't get irritated by what I've done to Marie De France's Lay! :-)