Saturday, April 28th 2012 - I'd been looking forward to my first, real-deal author experience at the Canby Author's Fair for months. I had spent an afternoon making a giant Bookmaker Jake poster with a selection of my proof-of-work photos, but Becky emailed me a few days before the fair to tell me that, due to spacial difficulties, large posterboards and such weren't allowed. But, I did not let that get me down. I made a greatest hits photo book to show all the hundreds of readers I imagined would be awaiting me at the fair.
I should have known this was a bad idea when I parked my truck full of books and bookmaking props, took my digital camera out, and then tried to take that shot of the "Townhall building" in the back of a Thriftway grocery store which was host to the author's fair. My battery was dead, so dead I couldn't even take one shot. "Oops," I thought. "What now? Should I bag the production scene and just go in and sell books?"
Reluctantly I shelled out five bucks for a disposable camera from Thriftway, and then I returned to make my mark on the Canby Author's far as Bookmaker Jake. When I walked up the stairs to the room reserved for the fair, I was greeted by Becky and about thirty authors all setting up their displays. After I thanked Becky for the opportunity, I asked one of my fellow authors if I could share a table with him. He agreed, and I began hauling my boxes of books up the stairs. My table buddy was a non-fiction author who wrote true cop stories about his time as a Crime Fighter in Portland. He was there with his wife, who I felt comfortable with almost immediately. She was ex-military like me, and for some reason we had a lot to say to each other.
Too bad my disponsable camera sucked! I had some good shots of my fellow authors, and the Red Hat Society Ladies who were, by far, the largest group of readers who walked around the tables full of authors staring at authors. Yes, that's right: I'd say there were more authors at the Canby Author's Fair than people going to meet authors. I should have known any event that was willing to invite me would be in the losers' circle.
It didn't take me long to realize that I wasn't going to leave with an armful of cash sales, which was good...I settled down to do what I do best, bookmaking, and enjoying the company of those who shared my production scene with me. The shot above is the alley behind Thriftway, where I was scraping around for a box or something to use as your cover, when I was approached by one of Thriftway's employees named Brook. I don't think he knew what to make of me, but he was helpful anyway. He took me in the back room where we found a banana box to make your cover from. When I returned to the fair, the authors were still staring at authors, so I cut out the cover, taped it up, and then went outside to drill the holes.
An hour before the fair was set to end, Becky was asking us to please stay, because many of the authors had already ran off. By that time, the Crime Fighter had given up (unlike me, I think he sold at least one book) and was drinking a beer. I might've joined him, but I had plans to visit my Uncle Jim on the way home.
All in all, I didn't start feeling really shitty about the experience until days later (as it goes with me), but, once the scene set in hard, I began to feel serious doubts about my ability to sell The Living City to anyone. The Crime Fighter's wife took a signature shot for me before we parted ways, but it didn't turn out. This one with my thumb over the lens will have to do. In some way, I think its a more representative shot anyway.
PROP COSTS: $17.75 + (STORYTIME WORKED: 3hrs 28min x OUR EXCHANGE RATE (based on fed minimum wage): $7.25) = $42.88
This book was sold to Danielle, a fellow writer and handmade jewerly maker (Assah!), who swooped at the last moment of Wordstock to buy a book and join our supporting cast. It was a great way to end the day!
You can check out her work at- aeroglow.etsy.com