Monday, September 28, 2009

Punchdrunk at SIBA

I'm certain high-minded literature was being discussed somewhere during the annual trade show of the Southern Independent Booksellers Association (SIBA).

But it wasn't at Booth W-42, where I was stretched out on the floor inside a mock chalk outline, drumming up business for myself and my fellow Sisters in Crime, authors of murder mysteries.

That would be me, left (photo by Ellis Vidler), displaying an appalling lack of shame when it comes to book promotion. Really, would Flannery O'Connor ever have stooped ... er, reclined ... to such a stunt?

Of course, it was the last day of the trade show, which took place this year in Greenville, S.C., Sept. 24-27. I might have been a bit punchdrunk by then. Acting all erudite takes a toll.

Did I mention the clear liquid in the jar in my hand was moonshine? At least that's what Jerry Alexander, looking on in the picture, said it was. And he should know, since he wrote Where Have All Our Moonshiners Gone? A former newspaper publisher and deceptively sophisticated-looking gent, Jerry manned the booth next door to Sisters in Crime. Along with his books, his display's central feature was a moonshine still. That, and a chicken feeder that dispensed Hershey's Kisses.

I loved the trade show. My Southern-fried books fit right in. I'm pleased to say I introduced the latest, Mama Rides Shotgun, to lots of booksellers who might not have otherwise known about the Mace Bauer Mystery Series.

My titles earned a few laughs (Mama Does Time was the first in 2008; Mama Gets Hitched comes out next year). That's saying something in this crowd, considering some of the other books being touted to the Southern bookstore owners over the weekend:

Will Jesus Buy me a Double-Wide? 'Cause I Need More Room for My Plasma TV, by Karen Zacharias.
Suck Your Stomach In and Put Some Color On, by Shellie Tomlinson.
Looking for Salvation at the Dairy Queen, by Susan Gregg Gilmore.

People say you can't judge a book by its cover, and maybe not by its title, either. But just try to pass by any of those titles in a bookstore without at least pulling it from the shelf.

Of course, there were plenty of serious literary offerings as well. But I was too busy lying on the floor and trying to wrest chocolate kisses from Jerry's chicken feeder to report on any of those.

Maybe next time. The SIBA trade show in 2010 will be in Daytona Beach. Just don't count on a high-minded analysis from me if they hold it the same week as the Daytona Speedway hosts NASCAR.


Kerry said...

Love the chalk outline.
Put it next to a computer keyboard and it'll be even funnier. Writer murdered at work.

elysabeth said...

Deb, it was so much fun being there Sunday afternoon. I think everything went well. I would love to make a trip to Florida next year but this happens to be marching band season for my kids and I'm a dedicated band mom - lol. Maybe it will move up this way again in 2011 and who knows, maybe we can all be there again. That is funny about the moonshine and the chicken feeder with the kisses. Good luck with your books - E :)

Deborah Sharp said...

To Kerry: ''Writer murdered at work...'' i've felt like doing that a few times .... And to Elysabeth: Great meeting you and all the other S.C. Sisters in Crime, who write great mysteries AND great literature. It was really just ME being lowbrow.

Karen said...

Thanks so much for the mention, Deb. Sorry we didn't meet at SIBA. I was in and out quickly. Maybe next one.
And your readers are all going to love Doublewide.