There is nothing cooler than having your faith restored that the written word isn’t dead. We had a lovely taste of that at this weekend’s Los Angeles Times Festival of Books. One of our authors, Stan Chambers, had a command performance at two booths this year since he was such a hit last year. Stan is a California news icon, and he can’t walk anywhere without someone stopping him to shake his hand, tell him how much they loved growing up with him, watching him cover some disaster that invariably plagued our fair city. He’s gracious and one of the sweetest people I know.
And this weekend he earned his bread. He was swamped at both the USC booth and the KTLA booth. And the books flew out the door. Ah, good stuff that makes any publisher weep with joy.
But the bigger picture is how wonderful these book fairs are. We saw hundreds of booths – self-pubbed author booths sat among booths from large publishers and bookstores. Everyone had a pitch and a gimmick, and it was great fun to watch the high level of interest in everything from the conspiracy theorists to the Ayn Rand Institute. Every genre was represented, and books bounced out the tents and into readers’ arms.
The coolest thing of all was walking the UCLA campus and watching people with their noses stuck in their new purchases. For every person who screeches, “The written word is dead!” I say bullpucky on an onion bagel. The proof is in the thousands who attended the weekend event.
I had the luxury of standing back from it all and watched people’s faces light up when they found just the right book. I thought I was the only one who finds a book and gives it a quick hug after paying for it – but I watched the same scene play out many times. Kids were begging their parents to stop and read them the book they were holding. How cool is that? Budding readers make me do the happy sigh. That a couple hundred readers are now reading Stan’s remarkable book about his life and the birth of broadcast journalism humbles me right down to my toesies.
It doesn’t matter what you read; horror, mystery, romance, mainstream fiction, or downright smut…Read on! Somewhere, an author and their editor are blessing you.