river’s end bookstore

The day after the Teen Book Festival, I hopped in the car and drove an hour and half (ish) to Oswego, NY. (I got a tiny bit lost along the way, but no harm, no foul. Turns out my AAA directions were…lacking.)

The story of how I ended up in Oswego is sort of atypical. See, Banna Rubinow at the river’s end bookstore had read an advance copy of the novel. She liked it a lot and said so on the store’s web site. I saw the mention and asked if I could quote her on the Fanboy site. From there, we started corresponding semi-regularly. When Banna found out I was going to be in Fairport for the book festival, she asked (I was going to say “demanded,” but she was very polite!) if I could find time to come to Oswego, too.

Let me think about this… I’m in the area anyway… Do I have time to go to a store that is enthusiastic about my work? I gave the matter all five seconds it needed, then said yes!

In advance of the trip, some of the local and regional papers covered my event, which was very cool! (Authors: If the river’s end invites you to attend, go! They get advance publicity for you like you wouldn’t believe!) The Syracuse Post-Standard interviewed me and then posted the stuff that wouldn’t fit in print online. Beyond cool!

Fitting for April Fools’ Day, the gods decided to prank me — not only did I get lost, but it also rained all day. The good guys still won, though — the store had a nice crowd gathered to hear me speak. I did my “stump presentation” on the history and importance of geeks, then read a little bit from Fanboy before taking questions and signing books.

I have to say — the coolest thing about events like this is the chance to meet great people. The gang at the river’s end was just terrific. I felt like I’d walked into a five-star hotel, not a bookstore! I had a cup of hot tea in my hands almost before I finished saying hello, just the trick on a cold and rainy day.

If you’re ever in Oswego or nearby, check out this store! It’s an absolutely beautiful shop and its location is unbeatable — right on the corner of a busy intersection in downtown Oswego. Owners Bill and Mindy Reilly and their staff do a terrific job making visitors feel at home.

The staff weren’t the only cool people in attendance, though! The audience had some great questions and seemed to enjoy the talk and the reading. If my signing hand is any indication, they stuck around to buy copies of the book, too, so I hope they all enjoyed it!

If you guys in Oswego are reading this… Thanks for such a great time! I really thought that after the book festival I would be too tired to have fun in Oswego, but as soon as I walked into the store, I felt this amazing burst of energy and it was like I’d just come back from a relaxing vacation!

Pictures from the event in Oswego are in the Gallery on the Fanboy site. Click on the shot of the ladies of the river’s enddecked out in Goth regalia to get there!


Barry with the Goth Girls of the river's end

Attending BookExpo

From May 18-21, I attended BookExpo America in Washington, D.C. Back in the day — when I worked the dreaded Day Job — I used to attend a fair number of trade shows, but this was the first time I attended something as massive as BEA as a guest, not a Booth Guy.

Houghton Mifflin brought me to BEA to promote The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl. The first night, I was a guest at the American Booksellers for Children Silent Auction and Banquet. This was a lot of fun. ABC puts on this event as a way of celebrating independent booksellers specializing in children’s books, as well as raising charitable donations for children’s causes. It was an excellent opportunity for me to meet a lot of people in the industry, as well as a good time to touch bases with various folks at Houghton Mifflin, including my editor and the terrific people in Houghton’s Sales and Marketing Departments.

Barry at BEA auction

(<–I strike a pose the night of the ABC dinner…)

I also got to meet Catherine Gilbert Murdock and Garret Feynmann-Weyr, fellow Houghton Mifflin authors (of Dairy Queen and Stay With Me, respectively). Garret described Astonishing Adventures as being “like a shot of espresso in the heart,” which is the sort of image that really sticks with me! (Hmm, you’d think she was a writer or something…)

On Friday, I had a whirlwind day that began when some Hollywood folks grabbed me in the Houghton booth. I’ve had a couple of encounters with Hollywood people at this point, but their interest in the book still consistently catches me off-guard. It’s not even out yet!

I had lunch with my editor and we discussed some changes to my second book, Boy Toy, as well as a series I plan to write. More info on that series once it sells…

After lunch, I had my first signing. Bearing in mind that the book wasn’t on shelves yet, I had steeled myself for an hour of sitting and twiddling my thumbs. I was very pleasantly surprised to be busy almost the entire hour, with a constant flow of people coming up to me for autographs. In all, I signed more than a hundred books in that hour, a respectable number for a first-time author.

Signing at BEA

Signing at BEAI capped off the show that day with a meeting with my agent, followed by a gathering at the Goethe Institute (sponsored by the folks who run the massive Frankfurt Book Fair) and then a party hosted by The New Yorker.

Signing at BEA

I’ll be honest — a lot happened at BEA, but much of it was business-related stuff that I don’t plan to get into on the Internet. Suffice it to say, it was a terrific experience. Overwhelming at times, but terrific nonetheless.