On June 19th, the community of Glen Ellyn had its first book fair. I signed up to participate ($25) and was told (eventually) that my signing spot was the Santa Fe Cafe. I both called and sent literature to Olga Jimenez, the charming owner of the Santa Fe Cafe, a downtown eating establishment that has been written up in “Chicago magazine.
I then set about having myself put on the free “Daily Herald” calendar, saying I would be at the Santa Fe Cafe and I sent some hand-outs to Olga, asking her to post same. She did so on her front door.
Less then a week before the June 19th event, I learned that I was being moved to Drury Designs, a kitchen and bath remodel store on the outskirts of the town. I was to share time/space with a writer of romance novels. I mentioned that Olga and I had already agreed that, since she doesn’t open till 11:00 a.m., I would sign from 11 to 2, rather than 10 to 1, and I was told that I couldn’ t do this because it “wouuldn’t be uniform.”
Actually, many other writers were signing at places around town in connection with the book fair at times other than 10 to 1, including J.A. Konrath, who signed at the downtown pub at night, and John O’Donnell, who had Randy Hundley of the Chicago Cubs come in as a celebrity to help him sell his baseball book.
I also learned that the “keynote” speaker was going to be speaking at a gym, which is not near the downtown, and that tickets were being sold for the speaker. However, none of we less-well-known writers were invited to have a table at the back of this gym while the “keynote” speaker did her thing.
I protested that, having just helped run a book fair in Davenport, Iowa, not having the rank-and-file of writers near the keynote speaker (who is, let’s face it, supposed to be the one who will draw a crowd for the smaller fry) seemed somewhat unfair to those of us stuck in the boonies. And, since I had already made some small efforts to advertise my presence at the Santa Fe Restaurant, moving me at the last minute to a place much further away from the action didn’t seem wise. The response was that the committee wanted to “draw people into the downtown stores.”
I certainly have no argument with drawing people into the downtown stores and I, personally, did my part, buying $80 of dresses for the 17-month old grand daughters, but I do think it (the notice that I must move to a different location than the one I had just told the newspaper) came sort of late in the day, and the reason given (“wouldn’t be uniform”) was bogus.
The romance writer and I saw exactly one woman who was not a committee member, during our 4 hours at the Drury Design, which is a lovely award-winning store. There were 3 other people who came in during the 4 hours, but they had appointments about their kitchen or bathroom remodeling jobs. Jim Drury, the owner of the establishment, was kind enough to buy one thing from each of his 2 authors, which was very nice of him, and I, in turn, said I would post an article about this lovely shop.
I also noted that all 35 to 40 authors could have been fit inside the Drury Design, and the downstairs has a place (separate room) where the keynote speaker could have spoken, although admittedly it is not the size of a school gymnasium. I hope you enjoy the pictures of my set-up inside a kitchen display. The lonely ghost welcomes the readers who did not come to the “Ghostly Tales of Route 66.”