brni (brni) wrote,

The Collingswood Report

This is the second year I've been at the Collingswood Book Festival. It's really a great event for books and for authors. The town is well set up for this sort of street event. The wide streets are level and make for easy walking, and there's plenty of space for vendors and foot traffic. And it was a beautiful day for it.

It was not a great day for sales. Lots of enthusiastic lookers, but not a whole lot of folks buying. And it wasn't just us - more people than not were walking around with no purchases at all, from anyone, and a number of authors I spoke to mentioned that while they were chatting with a lot of folks, nobody was buying.

The Evil Gazebo got a lot of interest, despite all this. Oddly enough, all the people who said, "I just got here, and I'm just looking now, but I'll come back to get this," actually did so. And that almost never happens, because that's usually code for "I'm not interested but I'm too polite to say so."

And even if none of that happened, even if there had been no other sales, and no other interest, there was one incident that made the whole event worthwhile. A young lady saw the book and got a strange look on her face. She picked it up, paged through it, then looked up at me with wide eyes.

"Could I get a copy?" she asked. And her voice was so quiet, so hesitant, as if she couldn't imagine that I might say yes. And when I did, a smile grew across her face like a live thing, and, transaction completed, she pressed her new possession against her chest like a velveteen rabbit and bounced away.

And that, good people, made the entire day worthwhile, all by itself.

There was, of course, an added bonus. Our table was in the middle of the street in front of the old Woolworth's, whose sign still adorns the storefront. On the window glass was the true name of the establishment, West Side Gravy, a newish restaurant in town. While the rest of the our intrepid SF/F authors went off on a quest for Wawa sandwiches, jongibbs and I opted to get take-out from this funky weird place right in front of us. They aren't really set up for take-out, but once we got over that confusion, the food was simply fantastic. And thoroughly reasonable. I hope to eat there again next year.
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