No, this isn’t a statement on gun control or the NRA, in fact this isn’t a political statement at all. My assistant Lulu, who knows I’m having a hard time today, just popped her head in my office and asked if I needed anything, I said, “A shot of Tequila and a handgun.” She left laughing.
What’s my beef now? Well, it’s BEA week, for those who aren’t familiar with the term that means Book Expo America. This is the biggest North American book event, or, well it used to be. Now it’s just sort of a bunch of publishers getting together to kvetch about Amazon and how they’re taking over publishing, bitching about low book sales, and sneaking into a competitor’s booth to steal a galley of a book you didn’t sign, to gauge the “buzz level”, or to see who has the better goodies. But that’s not the only reason why I need a drink, though this whole week is inching me towards the never-never land of locking myself in my office and taking hostages.
I used to love Book Expo, but the industry with their constant bickering and bitching sort of ruined it for me. Here’s concept, let’s talk about the stuff we love. The fabulous books that come unexpectedly screaming from the gate. The humble authors who are so grateful to get published and the small publishing houses that spend tireless hours on their books to try and remain competitive with the bigger house. That’s what I love about Book Expo, and that’s what I wish it was again.
But wait, there’s more.
The infamous Bernie (one of our Editors), known for his D-listers and over-hyped authors just signed another one, this time a memoir. Just wait, it gets better. It’s written by a guy who is no one per se, save for the people he knew. So, he’s not even famous, he just knew people who were famous and now he’s writing about them. Like the ticker taker at Cannes or something. Oh and the other joy? The people he’s writing about are all dead. And now that Bernie has sufficiently mis-managed his expectations he’s dropped this book in my lap like a screaming baby I’m left to pick up the shattered ego.
It started last week when the author in question found out we’d removed the three dots from his title. He wanted his book to read: My life with X and X…and X — yes, the X’s are placeholder for the celebs he says he knew. Anyway, someone in Editorial decided to change the title and, thereby, remove the … Enter author in question who found out via an email and called me to yell at me “Who removed the dots on my cover???!!” he screamed into the phone. Then his “manager” hoped on the call to yell as well. About two weeks ago I found out that his manager is actually his landlady with too much time on her hands. It’s imperative they have the dots, the dots make the book. Didn’t I understand that? If you think I’m making this up for the sake of the blog I’m not. I wish I was. He asked for a marketing update at the end of the week and when I told him nothing would be done on his book for a while he flew into another fit. I tried to recall the meditation one of my New Age authors taught me. Breath in, breath out. Breath deep, think of a happy place. I couldn’t find one. I tried to imagine a sandy beach, a peaceful forest, but came up with zip. Though I could see myself tossing this lunatic out the window and listening to him scream about his dots on the way down. That wouldn’t register well on the peaceful scale but it sure would make my life a lot easier. That should count for something.
And so begins what promises to be a long week. On the bright side the Book Expo parties are always fun. Invariably someone always gets a bit too drunk and says something they shouldn’t or ends up dancing a bit too close to someone who isn’t their spouse. I’m just hoping someone there will have some Tequila and, ok maybe not a handgun but I’d love to revisit that Red Room of Pain for the misbehaving misfits and their maniac Editors.