Book Expo America was something of a working vacation; I was there to promote Zoe’s Tale and Agent to the Stars, but since it was in LA, I also had a chance to see a bunch of friends, and BEA being where every book publisher in the US was trotting out their big titles for the year, it was pretty much book geek heaven. I fought mightily against snapping up every book I saw because I have enough books sent to me already, and I think Krissy might injure me if I came home with boxes and boxes more. But just being near all those books was sufficient for a contact high. And I did take home some books, so clearly my discipline needs disciplining.
I already mentioned the librarian’s dinner on Thursday and Friday’s panel with Cory Doctorow and Markos Moulitsas, but Sunday was also a working day for me; I had two podcasts talking about ZT (when I track them down I will link to them, no worries) and then I also had a signing, which was gratifyingly busy; there was a line of folks queued up before I got there, which made me feel pretty.
It also made for an amusing incident: Ken Hite, gaming legend and a friend of mine from the University of Chicago, was standing in line in order to say hi to me, so I stopped and chatted with him, joining my own signing line as I did so. As I was chatting with him, another guy came up and asked me “is this the line for the John Scalzi signing?” To which I replied “why yes, I think it is,” so he joined the line behind us. Later, after I left to go to my signing spot, Ken filled him in on who he’d asked the question to. A good laugh was had by all.
The irony: The guy who asked me is not unfamous himself, in Web cartooning circles (not to mention among librarians).
Aside from Ken, who I was delighted to see (interestingly, the last time I saw him was at another BEA, in Chicago, in 2003) I saw other authors/editors/bookfolk of my acquaintance including Doselle Young, Josh Conviser, Wil Wheaton, Brandon Sanderson (who unfortunately I didn’t spend enough time with), Kelly Link and Gavin Grant. I also finally met David Anthony Durham in the flesh after doing the “online pal” thing for a while, and was entirely unsurprised to find him an excellent fellow in real life. Really, it’s just an excuse to geek out with folks, and while I don’t really need an excuse to do that, it’s nice to have one.
I also did some actual business with folks, too — who knew you could do that at BEA? — with some new projects being discussed and so on and so forth. All of that is in a very rudimentary, proto stage, and there’s lots that will have to happen before they become actual projects, and then even more before I can actually tell you about them. But if they pan out, we will all be awash in coolosity. Which would not be a bad thing.
So there you have it: BEA. Good fun, good business, and I stood in my own signing line, which seems very meta. I could not ask for more.