Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Readin' in the Rain

As the sky glowered a dismal gray, the first visitors stepped carefully down the slick cobbled streets of Mount Vernon Place at Baltimore's Book Festival. I guess we should have expected this; in past years the Festival has been cancelled at least once when a hurricane came through. But still, we hoped that on this Saturday dry weather would keep the thousands of books in scores of booths from curling. It was not to be.

First it drizzled, then it rained, and then you couldn't hear yourself think over the pounding of the downpour. The picnic tables sat soggy and forlorn while the food vendors smiled hopefully at the passersby huddled under umbrellas. Even with the lights that the City of Baltimore provided inside the tents, there was no way to dispel the gray sogginess.

But in publishing, as in theater, the show must go on. And thanks to stalwart visitors and an engaging young writer, the MidAtlantic Book Publishers Association's booth was a good place to be. In the couple of hours that we (author Margaret Rome and I) were there to volunteer, we talked with writers of fiction, non-fiction, memoir, and poetry. MBPA's president, Sheila Ruth did a great job of setting up the booth, assembling information packets, and displaying the association members' books.

I love to see the creative covers that come from people not constrained by big publishing's limits. Sheila's husband, Nick, was "wearing" the cover of his book, Dark Dreamweaver, and son David was in the spirit of things with his purple cape. It was David who stood outside the booth and stopped visitors with his smile and invitation to take one of MBPA's information packets. And every packet that left had in it a post card for Margaret's book, Real Estate the Right Rome Way, and one for my own book that I'm scrambling to get out before the holidays, The Writer's Book of Days. You can read more about both upcoming books on The Silloway Press Website. While you're there, be sure to sign up for the free monthly newsletter, KeyNotes - the next one is coming out soon!

Despite the low turnout and the river running through the booth, we had fun. While waiting out one of the heaviest downpours at the Book Festival, I talked with a woman who had come on a bus trip from New Jersey just for the event. It took me back to my days at craft shows when even bad weather wouldn't keep the die-hard fans away. And it gave me renewed hope that the well-written, independently published book is alive and well in America.


Sheila said...

What a great post about such a gray day! Thanks so much for posting and for your help in the booth. I enjoyed working with you and Margaret.

Peg Silloway said...

Thanks, Sheila. I enjoyed having a chance to get to know you better, and it was delightful to meet Nick and David. Next year it will be dry and sunny - I'm placing my order now!

Mary said...

Peg, when I retire, I will read more books. Until then, they collect dust on my nightstand. Sad, but true.


Peg Silloway said...

Mary, I have a feeling that I will never live long enough to read the books I've collected. But still I can't resist just one more. My nightstand is like yours, including the dust!