Friday, June 5, 2009

Book Expo America was Unbelievable!

We (Paul, Hjordy and Brad) don't need much of an excuse to go to New York so when we had the opportunity to have an author package for Book Expo America (BEA) from Phenix and Phenix, our publicist, we jumped on it. The first and last part of our week was fun time. We went to some plays and a few daytime talk shows when we weren't busy with BEA. We were in the audience of The Mike & Juliet Show and were sorry to hear that the show was closing.

The first day we went to BEA we were overwhelmed with the sheer volume of people and booths. We talked with some vendors and just walked the area. We left feeling we hadn't been too productive. After debriefing about the day, we decided the next day (Saturday), we would hand out bookmarks and cards to book store owners, librarians, and teachers. The strategy served us well. We heard a lot of good feedback about our book and stories were shared about someone they knew who was gay. The stories were sad, surprising, and heartwarming. At 1:30 we took our place in booth 16 and had a solid line of people waiting for their book and signature. Our strategy worked. All of our books disappeared with people standing in line wanting our book.

One young man broke our heart. He didn't speak English very well but the essence of his story was his family had shunned him. There was no communication from his family over the past year. He wanted our book with the hope that his family would see a different point of view and accept him for who he is.

After the author signing, we went to the podcast area. We answered questions for about 5 minutes. The interviewer was great and we left with a sigh of relief. We continued to network but we also decided it was time for us to get some of those coveted author signatures. We ended up sending a box of books home, or so we thought. Our box ended up in Deleware. All was not lost, however, because the man who had our books told us his story. He didn't want to be defined as the homophobic guy. He became friends with a gay man and he saw that he was wonderful person. He is now on the aother end of the spectrum as a strong advocate. We met and talked with the most amazing people since our book has come out. He was one of those amazing men.

Sunday at BEA was slow. The volume of people was diminished so we had time to talk with the exhibitors. It was relaxing and fun. We left around noon to meet the sons of our good friends in Red Wing. We don't know if we'll be at Book Expo again but it was a learning experience and we will hopefully come back in the near future.

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