Tuesday, March 06, 2007

The Next Best Thing

The booksigning I spoke of in the last post was a gathering of The Outfit, or those writers who blog together under that name: Sean Chercover, Barb D'Amato,and Libby Hellman, (the picture above) and Kevin Guilfoile, Michael Dymmoch, and Markus Sakey (pictured below). I went to hear them speak, which was very entertaining, and naturally I wanted to get some books signed. At the beginning of the event, Augie Aleksy announced that Sara Paretsky had been unable to attend, and sent her apologies.

An elderly woman in the front row didn't hear him, and asked, "Who is it that's not here?"
"Sara Paretsky," he replied.
"Oh, she's the one I came to see," she said in consternation, as six writers sat before her smiling graciously.
She consulted her notes. "What about Barbara D'Amato? Is she here?"
Several hands pointed to Barbara, who humbly raised her hand. "Well, I guess that's the next best thing," said the woman.
I was impressed by her ability to insult so many people at the same time, but she seemed immune to her own talents in this area. I felt partial sympathy with her, because as a reader I would be disappointed if my favorite writer were not present at a signing; still, as a writer, I felt once again what an odd business promotion is, especially when one is promoting something as personal as writing.
You can be a real sport about being willing to come out and greet fans and potential readers, and yet no matter how good your writing is, or how famous you have become in SOME circles, there will always be someone to take you down a peg.

In any case, it was a great signing; these people aren't just good writers, but fun people, and funny people to boot. There was much laughter, starting with Markus Sakey introducing himself as Sara Paretsky (although this did not placate the woman in the front row). I accidentally cut off Markus's book in the picture above, but I doubt it will affect his sales.

In the final picture is local author Donald G. Evans, who wrote the much-acclaimed Good Money After Bad, a book about Chicago's gambling community.

If nothing else, it's nice to see that writers come out for each other. That, too, is the next best thing.

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