Yesterday, the last day of “Oprah”, I went to Book Expo America (BEA), the annual convention of the publishing industry; and my badge said “Press.” The identity I claimed was “Book Reviewer and Features Writer” for SexyPrime; and I wore it proudly. While some in the publishing industry may believe that only a New York Times review matters, many are catching on to the marketing theory of “The Long Tail” (where all the books that are not mega-sellers find their place) and to the growing importance of electronic media. Most of the big publishers’ marketing and publicity departments have someone(s) dedicated to serving web reviewers. My publisher Quiver was ahead of the pack in understanding the importance of internet marketing. Our brilliant Mary is in charge of all that and is, in fact, the person who brought me into the blogosphere. (She looked smashing in her pink-purple shoes and silver scarf.)
As I wound my way through narrow aisles, stopping to chat with people while evading the pitches for paranormal thrillers, I noted the diminished presence of editors, even fewer in the mix than last year. I had some interesting conversations, shop talk with April Whitney, engaging publicist at Chronicle Books in San Francisco; a mutual lament on Desperate Women and Beastly Men with a feminist booth volunteer at WriterGirl, a group that mentors teen girls; a quick meeting with a charming author, Pamela Cory, who gave me a copy of her book Hassie Calhoun: A Las Vegas Novel of Innocence—and more, including meeting one of my favorite novelists, Canadian author Margaret Atwood.
I hung out at the Cleis Press booth where my sister sexpert Rachel Kramer Bussel was signing two of her recent erotica collections: surrender: erotic tales of female pleasure and submission and gotta have it: 69 stories of sudden sex.
Rachel edited the collections and each includes one of her own stories. I don’t know how she puts together as many sexy and satisfying collections as she does, but trust me, there is a beautifully produced book for every erotic taste, including some of yours.
- A quick way to make your sex life more interesting: Carefully select one of the stories in a Rachel collection to match your mood—and read it out loud to your partner. Sharing a story is also a good way of opening up subjects like a desire to play submissive or dom. Erotica lets your imagination fill in the details, a nice change from porn and tight shots of vaginal, anal and oral penetration.
There seemed to be less “buzz” about upcoming big books this year, but I did spot some that I will tell you about when you can actually buy them. My favorite book of the moment is Quantum Physics for Poets by Leon M. Lederman, Nobel Laureate, and Christopher Hill (Prometheus Books). Quantum theory is the bedrock of modern physics. Yet most people have no idea what that means. The authors explain it in laymen terms—and moreover tell the kind of story that has a reader turning pages excitedly. I will write more about it next Thursday.
I ended the day watching the late night repeat of the last “Oprah” show. There will never be another Oprah. In addition to the $350 million of her own money donated to charitable causes in the past 25 years, she has inspired the good works of others, done more to create an interest in reading than publishers have, informed her viewers on a multitude of subjects and made a connection with them that is unsurpassed in the history of television. She talked about shame and the role it plays in so many lives, maybe most of our lives, and the importance of releasing that crippling shame—before anyone else grasped the shame concept.
I believe that most Americans now describe themselves as “spiritual” vs. “religious” because of Oprah. She gave them something to believe in—the connection of souls to a higher consciousness—when organized religion was failing to connect at all. And I cannot wait to see what she does next.
I know what I am doing next: my annual lunch with Auntie Sue’s sailor fans. Come back tomorrow to hear about that.
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