Saturday, March 21, 2009

My Trip to the Christian Book Expo

I normally only post Monday through Friday, but today I left the relative peace and calm of Cowtown and made my way over to Dallas for the Christian Book Expo (CBE). I’ll start with the good. I went primarily to meet a few people I hadn’t meet before, but I knew I didn’t want to take in all of it, so I looked through the schedule and picked a timeslot with something worth doing. I took my copy of The Tender Scar and had Richard Mabry sign it. Then I wandered around the display area for a while. I met Mike Hyatt for the first time, though I wouldn’t ask him to verify that. He was talking to someone else at the time—a white haired man with a gray beard. I didn’t recognize the man and Mike didn’t introduce him. We’ll just call him Santa Claus. And then I went to listen to Rick Lemons talk about his book The Race: From Pit Row to Victory Lane.

Let me say something about that. I hadn’t met Rick before today, though we have attended some of the same meetings. I hadn’t heard him speak, but let’s say I knew he has good roots and of all the speakers on the schedule, he was the one I expected would be worth the effort. I didn’t expect him to have a huge turn out, but then I got to the Dallas Convention Center and saw face plastered on some large signs. I thought I might be wrong. I wasn’t. There were only a handful of people in the room, but he certainly didn’t disappoint with his presentation. It was a good lesson from the word of God. How ironic that one of the best presentations, if not the best, at the CBE was heard by less then ten people.

I can’t be a judge of all that happened at the CBE, but I will say that I heard part of one woman’s presentation as I wandered through the display area. She wasn’t boring, but she wasn’t interesting either. I remember her saying something about her calling to become a writer and then I sort of tuned her out after that. Shortly after that, I heard a man reading from a book. I was thinking about how everything he said he said in a monotone. It seemed a perfect example of how authors should not present their books. Just as I was thinking that, he read a line from the book about some kid not liking to attend church because he would have to listen to a boring sermon. I laughed. I’m sure that anyone who saw me must have wondered why I was laughing while looking at a copy of Young Exhaustive Concordance. Or maybe they thought I was praying.

I hoped I would see more people I know. I saw several authors I recognized, but not having read their books or interacted with them online, I figured it was pointless to go introduce myself. There are some other people I hoped to meet that I didn’t happen to be in the right place at the right time. Either that or they saw me first and were all hiding behind the big bus parked in the exhibit area. Come to think of it, I wonder if Mike Hyatt would have been behind that bus if he hadn’t been talking to Santa Claus. I’ll contemplate that, but not today. This post is getting long. Tomorrow I’ll have something to say about the not to great stuff at the CBE.