Miami Book Fair – the good, the bad . . .

The Miami Book Fair is behind me and I think it will be my last. Sharon Potts, the MWA Fla chapter president, did a wonderful job of getting the mystery writers into the main building and our mystery panels were excellent. She deserves our thanks. They weren’t panels like in SleuthFest where those on the panel discuss questions put to them by a moderator. Instead, each writer gets a certain amount of time to talk on whatever he/she wants. Diane Stuckart did a great job at keep panelists to their allotted time on my panel. No easy task when dealing with three writers who like to talk!

I was on a 2 p.m. panel with Neil Plakcy and Tim Dorsey. Tim went first and gave antidotes of his book signing tours. Had the room laughing. Neil talked about his new dog mystery series and read from one of the chapters. Audience ate it up like a pair of slippers! I talked about the difficulties of writing a crime/mystery series in Key West, where crime is minor (usually). I got a few laughs where I had hoped, so I guess some in the room liked what I had to say.

The reason this was my last trip to the fair had to do with two things. I had heard from the fair PR people and sent books to NPR at the PR’s request and was told I’d be interviewed. Never happened. When I went out with Neil and Tim to sign, I signed three books and then had six people come to ask if I had books because they didn’t have any at the bookstore table. All they ordered were three? Maybe they had a box of 100 somewhere, but it didn’t do me any good!

I did get to meet Jeffrey Siger, who was looking for me because our mutual friend Leighton Gage had told him to say hi. Sharon Potts and James Grippando formed that panel. All the MWA sponsored panels were well received.

I don’t mean to be a sour apple, but the ride to Miami from Key West takes a good three hours+, plus the cost of gas, food, the hotel and the books I had to send to the fair, all added up to much more than what good three book sales got me! I did get to see old friends and new friends and hear some interesting panels, but, if I go again, I will go as part of the audience and make it a day trip and maybe drop some bookmarks on the chairs in the panelist room. I think that might do me more good than this past trip did.

Tim Dorsey, Neil Plakcy, Michael Haskins

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