Friday, May 19, 2006

BEA Travel Diary, Day 2

This'll be short because I find laptop keyboards hard to type on. All in all, a pretty successful day. We filled two boxes with galleys, books, and other goodies and mailed them off to EIU, where they will probably sit for a week until I get back to work. Lots of historical fiction on offer at the show. The big books this season, at least historical-wise, seem to be Karleen Koen's Dark Angels (signing tomorrow afternoon), Jed Rubenfeld's The Interpretation of Murder (many, many galleys at the booth - several hundred if not more), Diane Setterfield's The Thirteenth Tale, Michael Cox's The Meaning of Night, Lee Smith's On Agate Hill... among others, but these are the ones I'm remembering. I got copies of everything on my list for Friday, so it was a worthwhile trip in that respect. I ended up with two of some things, one to send for review and one to keep. Plus, of course, some finished copies of various popular fiction for the library collection.

After around 2:30pm, both of us were beat, but the shuttles weren't running until 3:30, so we decided to sit in on a session about reinventing one's literary career. It seemed on paper to be geared only towards those authors whose careers needed reworking, but it turned out to be very interesting. The five panelists - one publicist, one marketing director, one agent, one publisher, and one author - all discussed specific examples of authors who were able to reinvent themselves or their careers after their first (or second) novels failed to earn enough sales. The agent of the group, Marly Rusoff, gave Robert Alexander as an example of someone who managed to segue well into another genre (she called him a "historical suspense" writer; he's written two novels about the Romanovs for Viking, and has a third in progress). As Ms. Rusoff told it, as R.D. Zimmerman he had sold a small but respectable number of mysteries - in the thousands of copies - but as Alexander, the sales figures reached for The Kitchen Boy reached over 100,000 copies. Has anyone read his R.D. Zimmerman novels? I may check them out when I get home.

After a delicious dinner at a local Ethiopian place, we were exhausted and decided to turn in. Another long day tomorrow.

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