The chance to go to historic Printers Row in Chicago to sell books is an opportunity that no one should pass up. Thousands of eager readers crowd Dearborn Street and Polk Street looking for the freshest and most exciting books on the market. This was a no brainer for me. When I heard that Echelon Press was going to have a tent again, I'm pretty sure I was first on the list to go. The flight from Nashville is a joke. It's really short and just over an hour flying time. (Sure beats 8 hours in the car.) Everything is time or money right?
Upon arrival, we checked in to the room and headed straight for Pizzeria Uno, the place where deep dish pizza was invented. I don;t mean this is something that they just claim to get customers, this is actually the place where the first official deep dish was created... ever. Needless to say it was awesome. Something to be considered though was that it took us an hour to walk just under a mile as Chicago was celebrating their Stanley Cup victory with a parade attended by two million people. I'm not making that up either. The cool thing about being in the city where the Stanley cup was won just days earlier was that every building had something pro-Blackhawks on the facade. A flag, posters, banners, murals... it was almost shameful if your business or building didn't have something supporting the team displayed.
That evening we enjoyed a wonderful meal at Dale Levitski(of Bravo's Top Chef fame)retaraunt Sprout. Ok, it's a little pricey but you can't expect to get a meal like that for nothing. 3 courses of wonder and bliss. Not to mention the top notch "old style" drinks. (I had two Avaiations)
So the next day the book fest started. Cool weather and very cloudy skies threatened to ruin everything but it held off for quite some time. The Echelon Press tent was packed. Sixteen authors crowded in to sell their stories and meet new readers. It may seem intimidating from a reader's point of view but there's something special about the Echelon authors. They're always having fun so the mood is lightened and I really think that radiates from the booth. That night we all had dinner at Tratoria down the street. It's always awesome when you get a group, a crew... a family if you will, in one location. I know wit's a bad picture but here's part of the Echelon Crew literally singing and signing in the rain.
Sunday was gangbusters (no Chicago pun intended). The crowd was twice as big and even more eager to buy books. It's always so cool when people want their picture with you. It's kind of strange but awesome at the same time. I always wonder where those pictures go... Anyone? If you have pictures from an event, I'd love to have them! Oh, I forgot to mention that I did two signings at The Old Towne Books and Tea table on Dearborn Street. The owners are nothing short of amazing, kind and a blast to hang out with. If you're in Chicago, you must stop by their store.
Here's Joe and I picking the winner of steampunk goggles from PHFactor.
At the end of the day, we were beat. Happy but beat. We cleaned the booth (Big props to those that stuck around until the end to clean up. Not only does that show respect to the publisher but it's also paying your dues no matter how long you've been doing it.)and we headed back to the hotel for some much needed rest. I was able to run out and get an amazing (proper use of the word) Chicago dog. Dude, this was the best hot dog I've ever had hands down.
The next day we found an hour to walk the Magnificent Mile and bolt to the airport before we had to leave. Still amazed at all the hockey stuff around town.
So this coming weekend I'll be signing at The Towne Mall at The Almost Famous Book Faire in Elizabethtown Kentucky. (Just south of Louisville.) I have a surprise helper... well, you know who she is if you read this blog but it should make for a fun afternoon. It starts at High noon and ends at 7PM. See you soon!
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