Blog No. 209
I love road trips. Even taking a two-hour jaunt to London (Ontario) for a day sounds like a good idea for me. I love driving, I’m cool being a co-pilot, and I’ll even rock the back seat. I just enjoy the trip. Not sure if it’s the movement, or the moving, or what, but it’s a good time. Bookapalooza was my second out-of-town event ever and (it being in Whitby) the furthest one to boot. Needless to say, I was looking forward to the trip (even if I had to share a room with Christian).
I head about the event from the poet extraordinaire, Vanessa Shields. She was in the middle a tour for the launch of her latest book Look at Her (a poetry collection I’m sure will win some awards) and thought the event would be suited for writers like us. With a little research, the event was booked and a hotel room secured (much earlier than when we went to London for Shock Stock). Christian elected to drive as he has more storage in his car, so on Friday, we loaded his vehicle and hit the road. We elected to go up the day before since the event started at ten and we didn’t want to get on the road for five-in-the-morning. While that did mean the hotel was necessary (and would eat into our potential profits) it made for a relaxed trip with no time crunch beyond getting to Whitby before the next morning. With a coffee in hand, we hit the venerable 401 and let the chatting begin.
To take a step back for a moment. There have been two types of road trips I’ve taken in my life. One is alone with the radio blaring and my mind wandering—the road my only companion. The other is with a companion or group where there is some talking along with the music. Both trips I’ve takes with Christian have been an anomaly. No music, all taking, the entire trip. I’m sure I was responsible for more than half of the gabbing, but the trip flew by.
We made it into Whitby early and settled into the hotel. It was time to eat, so we looked up a place, and got back on the road. A twenty minute trip through the city, we found our chosen spot (a cool burger joint called Baldwin Street Burger). It was a bit out of the way, but worth it. Besides, what else were we going to do? The rest of the evening was spent watching terrible TV (excluding when we caught the end of Princess Bride).
The venue was right next to the hotel, so heading there in the morning was a snap. we had time to stop at the continental breakfast at the hotel (the lesser of the two we’ve experienced). Loading the car back up, we checked out and drive the 2 minutes around the corner to the event. Most people were there and set up, so we found our table (already taken by a confused vendor who was not happy to move). We set up, touched base with Vanessa, and strapped in for the day. Initially I felt the room was too small and too full, but it seemed to work out. There were fewer vendors than I anticipated, but there were enough to bring the people. a steady stream of folks walked through for the majority of the day, and since the event was relatively short (about perfect length if you ask me) it went by quickly. We were able to chat with some other vendors, make a few potential contacts, and hopefully a good impression.
In the end, it was a good day and our sales were among the best at the event (even though we didn’t make our money back. If the event were in Windsor, that would have been an easy trick, but with the hotel, gas, and food, we just fell short. Still, I found ti to be a worthwhile event. We sold some books in another city, and maybe found some new fans. We met a few nice people, and had some fun. We even set up a reading in Toronto in the new year (you’ll have to wait for details about that). On our way out of town, we had dinner with Vanessa and her traveling companion. It was a perfect cap to weekend. The drive home was a mirror of the first, but my fatigue got the better of me and I may have been a little over the top in a few of our discussions. If I was, Christian must have laughed it off. All in all, Bookapalooza was worth the trip. Maybe next year we can even be guests.
Our next event is the Christmas Craft and Gift Show, this Sunday Nov 27th from 10 – 4 pm at the Serbian Centre. Along with The Space Between Houses and the Illustrated edition of No Light Tomorro, we will also be selling Christine Hayton’s book Childhood Fears.