Michael Haskins

Friday, November 25, 2011

Miami Book Fair

 Last Saturday, 11 a.m., I was on a panel at the Miami Book Fair with fellow mystery writer Jack Harney (center in photo). Bob Williamson (left in photo), a friend and MWA member, was the moderator. It was a great opportunity for me but I think the whole set up was a little off. Anyway, it seemed like that for my panel.

The third guest never showed up but the schedule was never fixed. I emailed the fair contact earlier about it, they sent an email back saying Jack and I now had an hour to fill. Never notified Jack or the moderator, I had to tell them.

Also, originally I received an email saying there was another email coming with more information, a contract to sign and lodging information. I’m still waiting for it. So is Jack. Maybe they all went to guy that didn’t show up.

I had to send three copies of my book, a photo and brief bio. I know they kept the books, probably for sale since someone from the fair said I needed to sign the fair’s copy. When I opened it, the book was already signed. It was one I had sent them, I guess.

I didn’t go expecting to be the talk of the show or to sell a truckload of books – though it would’ve been nice. I went for the exposure and expected something a little more from the fair. I noticed that the panel was recorded and I wonder for who. Will the tapes or CDs be sold? Will MWA, which paid a good sponsor fee, get some of that money?

I guess I would’ve liked them to follow through on the things they said were coming. Kind of what I expect from everyone. It was like going to a restaurant, ordering a meal and having something else delivered. The waiter/waitress tells me it’s delicious. But it wasn’t what I’d ordered  . . . Oh well, I guess I am spoiled living on a small island where what you see is what you get.

The thing that irks me the most is that the fair doesn’t allow MWA to choose panelists or panel subjects. What was the subject of our panel? If the fair doesn’t tell us, why not allow MWA’s Florida chapter decide on the panel subjects and panelists? It works well at SleuthFest.

Whatever hype they had for mystery writers didn’t help me sell books. At least not at the signing afterward. I know the fair is well run and well attended. It baffles me why our segments were not so well attended. Maybe those readers attending are more interested in cookbooks, or travel books, or . . . Well, there are a lot of books out there to choose from. Maybe it would help if I wrote my mystery about a cookbook author instead of Key West characters. Let me know what you think.

I wonder if other groups had this problem or was it me. I guess I’ll have to wait ‘till the January luncheon or SleuthFest to find out.

Finally, Stairway to the Bottom, my newest Mick Murphy Key West Mystery, is on Kindle and Nook and should be a trade paperback on Amazon right after Thanksgiving. Books make wonderful holiday gifts. Check into it.


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