I didn’t know what to expect when I signed up to be a vendor at the Chicago Book Expo 2011 because this was my first time at such an event where I’d sit behind a table and sell Solace in So Many Words. So Saturday morning in the car on my way to Uptown I wondered what I had gotten myself into. But my anxiety was for naught because the Expo was terrific.
I loved all the different aspects of it. First off, I put the squeeze on Joan Corwin and J. Scott Smith to sit with me at the table, and I always have a good time with them (thanks!). And talking to attendees was a gas. I met so many nice people, so many interesting people, people I enjoyed meeting whether they bought a book or not. We had a repeat customer, a woman named Susan whose fashion sense (as well as her literary taste) I admired and who I enjoyed talking with (I hope her mother and her friend enjoy Solace in So Many Words). There was a dog walker who aspires to write and another young man who wants to mix jazz and poetry and a retired professor who is writing a biography of a well-known British novelist and poet. I met a man who wants to make a Christmas book and one who writes children books and another fellow who is penning a bildungsroman. I am going to check out the blog by the young woman who changed her name. I will look for a certain novel coming out in March as well as the book by the red-headed poet who looked so familiar. And I still get a kick out of the fact that I spoke with a Columbia College photog professor for a full ten minutes before we realized we had already met at a party a couple of years back.
I got to meet other publishers and presses who were there. Saturday we were in the basement of the Uptown Broadway Building, a raw space that was cold as a tomb. The saving grace was that we were near the bathrooms and the free coffee station. My neighbors included Victor David Giron of Curbside Splendor Press, which produces the literary magazine of the same name as well as critically acclaimed books, including Victor’s own novel Sophomoric Philosophy, and poetry books such as Piano Rats by Franki Elliot and The Chapbook by Charles Bane, Jr. (the latest Glimpse of Solace features work by Charles Bane, Jr.). The managing editor of Curbside Splendor, Leah Tallon, was there and she was also representing Another Chicago Magazine and Other Voices Books. You might have heard of OV Books latest anthology, Men Undressed. I know it tempts me. (On Sunday, ACM editor Jacob S. Knabb joined Leah at the sales table.) On Saturday my immediate neighbors were Avendia Publishing‘s A. C. Frieden whose novel Tranquility Denied seems like a great book of intrigue to cozy up with this winter as does Delphine Pontvieux’s ETA Estimated Time of Arrest (Miss Nyet Publishing).
Saturday afternoon I had time to cross the street and see other vendors so I headed to the booth of Chicago Center for Literature and Photography (CCLaP) to meet Jason Pettus and Ben Tanzer and see their latest collaboration, The New York Stories, a finely crafted book. Ben Tanzer has written several books, such as You Can Make Him Like You and My Father’s House, to name a few. And this is not the first time the local author has worked with CCLaP–for instance, check out 99 Problems, Repetition Patterns and the TwitLit story I Love Gunther Gebel.
All in all I couldn’t resist the charms of many of the publications available, including these that I obtained:
Tranquility Denied by A. C. Frieden.
Sophomoric Philosophy by Victor David Giron.
The Chapbook by Charles Bane, Jr.
Curbside Splendor (Fall 2011) in which E. Michael Desilets (who contributed two poems to Solace in So Many Words) has five poems.
Oneiromance (an epithalamion) by Kathleen Rooney. It is the winner of the Gatewood Prize sponsored by Switchback Books. And Kathleen Rooney was at the Expo at the Rose Metal Press table so I asked her to sign her book for me.
Have You Seen Me, a novella by Katherine Scott Nelson. It’s published by Chicago Center for Literature and Photography and it is a collector’s edition.
An “awesome” poster by comics artist Sarah Becan.
Zines Alive, a compilation zine from exhibitors at the 2011 Chicago Zine Fest.
Books I want to get:
The Rose Metal Press Field Guide to Flash Fiction
The Rose Metal Field Guide to Prose Poetry (both, obviously, from Rose Metal Press)
The Karaoke Singer’s Guide to Self-Defense by Tim Kinsella (from Featherproof Books)
The Silence of the Trees by Valya Dudycz Lupescu and the latest issue of Conclave, a journal of character by Wolfsword Press.
Sin: A Deadly Anthology by Avendia Publishing.
The Kindle version of ETA Estimated Time of Arrest by Delphine Pontvieux.
Men Undressed by Other Voices Books.
My Father’s House by Ben Tanzer.
This was the inaugural year for this Expo and Heather McShane, John Rich and many volunteers worked very hard, so they deserve appreciation and THANKS!