Book Passage is probably the common link between all travel writers in the Bay Area. It is where we've always gone to see travel writers on tour, where we've taken classes, and attended or taught at the annual Travel Writers and Photographers Conference, and where we, if we're lucky, get to to read our own travel writing.
I've been there dozens and dozens of times. And I've already read there a handful of times. So, why was I so nervous? I was expecting a crowd of about 25-30 but we had already passed that up ten minutes before the start. All in all the audience tallied more than sixty and staff were putting down more rows of chairs and I got ready with contributors Kate Crawford, Lesley Quinn, Kelly Simon, and Alison Wright.
With all the other events I just got up there and said my shtick, but this time I was making up stuff right and left and not liking what was coming out of my mouth one bit. Of course, this is for you, and my take. Others might not have noticed at all. Especially since my hand wasn’t shaking. Maybe it was because Larry Habegger was in the audience for the first time, or that Linda Watanabe McFerrin whom I respect and admire. Or maybe it was 11 year old friend who I used to Nanny for eight years ago. I don’t know, but this event was harder for me.
Just the intro. After I got off the stage and introduced Kate Crawford, I took a breath, drank some water, and relaxed. All authors garnered lots of laughs from the audience, we sat on the back steps and took questions from the crowd. They are slow on the start to raise their hands, but we got it going. Then we invited them to come up to get signed books or talk to us off the mike.
Karen, the coordinator, was amazing. She had done her homework and introduced myself and Travelers’ Tales in full detail by memory. I was impressed and told her so afterwards. I was also pleased that we signed ten extra books (that means they can’t be returned), and two on request for those who couldn’t attend the event.
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Afterwards I went next door to Izzy’s with Linda, her husband Lowry McFerrin, Alison, and my good friend Dana for drinks. We ordered four mojitos, and I can say it was the worst one I’d ever had. Alison concurred and asked them to redo them. Sadly, Take Two was no better.
So, what could I have done better? My vote was preparing a more fluid and engaging intro. But Lowry disagreed and suggested that I pay attention to my stage exit. More smiles. I was conscious of smiling as I walked up to the stage, but as soon as I intro’d the next author, I got that serious thinking face on.
Too right. That’s good advice and something I had never thought about.
Thanks to everyone that came. The BootBoyz are back up in Oregon now and I look forward to seeing the photos.