To be honest I didn't expect much. Morris, IL, isn't a big place. I had grave doubts that anyone would buy my weird books. The only thing I thought they might buy was STRIP. That's the most straightforward book I've written. It's still ultra-violent and hyper-sexed, but it's normal. The things that happen in that book could actually happen in real life. There are no monster cocks or anything in that one. I also had an odd feeling in the back of my head that I might be burned for a witch when they saw my books. At the very least I might be arrested. I wore my WARNING: OFFENSIVE shirt just so people knew before they approached my table.
I sold two books. The $20 I made off of them went into my gas tank for the ride home. Still, the show was fun, and more importantly, it was for free.
Unfortunately it rained today. This book fest was supposed to be held outside, but instead they held it inside the library. As a result we didn't get a lot of Corn Festival traffic. Still, it wasn't a bad show. It had a real intimate feeling to it. To my surprise no one was horrified. No one was disgusted when they saw my books. They certainly weren't to everyone's taste, but they were very polite about it. True library people. Even if they don't like something, they would never make a big fuss out of it. I should have known better, having worked at a library from 1996 to 2006.
They had me sharing a table with Gregory T. Obert. That made me a little nervous. I know how offensive my books can be to people, and I didn't want to ruin his fest experience because of the kind of author I am. I warned him ahead of time, "Either you're going to be amused by me, or I'm going to horrify you."
Luckily it was the former. He's a really good guy. He listened to me tell my terrifying real life stories for three hours. When we were packing up he said that he had some pretty good stories, too. If we ever get thrown in together again, I'm going to shut my mouth for a change and listen to him. Click on the link above. Buy his book, THE MAN ON THE BENCH. I haven't read the book (although I did a book swap for it), but having spent a while with him, I know it's going to be good. At the very least it's got a great cover, as maybe half a dozen non-customers told him today. It was his first public appearance, and he handled himself very well.
Originally I'd asked a friend of mine, Nicole Evans, to be my table mate. If you do shows, you can't do them alone. You need someone to watch your back. She co-wrote "Suicidal Tendencies" with me. You can find the story in TALES OF QUESTIONABLE TASTE. Unfortunately she's run into some health and legal issues, so she couldn't make it. I put out the call to fellow IL authors, and Groot Marbles answered it. I've known him for quite some time online, but I've never met the guy even though we live maybe 45 minutes away from each other.
It was a sheer joy to meet him and his lady in person. We had a good conversation. Unfortunately he is the unluckiest person I've ever known. One of my brothers is supremely unlucky. Anything that can go wrong for him will go wrong. But Groot has it much worse. He told me about the shitty day he's had today, and then he told me that's pretty much every day for him. I wish I could have spent more time with him, but events conspired against us. I'm going to see him again in November, and hopefully his unluckiness won't get in the way of that. Also, he has some great news. I'm sure he can't announce it yet, but stay tuned.
Once again I couldn't help but notice that kids are drawn to my books. I don't know what it is. If there's a child in my vicinity, they will be attracted to my books. There was one kid who came by three times. His grandfather, a fellow author sitting near me, said that the kid did not stop at anyone else's table. It was just mine. He was not alone. A lot of children pawed my books, and it made me very nervous. Thankfully the parents were all understanding. (Groot mentioned that what was going on could very well be defined as child abuse. I was stricken by the idea, but the observation was so spot on I couldn't help but laugh.)
I should also add that at one point the kid who came to my table three times was in awe of TALES OF QUESTIONABLE TASTE. Remember the kid I mentioned at the Printers Row show? The one who saw that book and stared at it like he'd seen titties for the first time in his life? That's exactly how this kid responded.
Groot told me that I should write children's books. I might take that under serious consideration.
But yeah. Two books sold. Will I be back next year? Probably. It's a good show. Not financially rewarding, but I had fun. Morris, IL: I will see you in twelve months. If you'll have me, that is.
PS: I had a wonderful conversation with the person who bought STRIP. She said that her boyfriend was working on a horror novel set in a strip club, and it sounded like an excellent idea. If you're reading this, let me know. When the book comes out I would love to read it.