Hmm. Once again, I've realized after the fact that my promotional efforts are a bit scattershot. So for those of you not on my mailing list, read this June update and know All Things FARB. (And how do you get on my mailing list? Simply: just e-mail me.)
Hello, peoples! Happy Monday or Happy June... take your pick! (You picked "Happy June," didn't you. Because almost no one likes Mondays. The exception being Michael Thomas Ford. Go figure.)
Just a few quick updates for you, as well as a Special Guest Perspective on why it's important that you patronize your local independent bookseller (and with which I wholeheartedly agree.) First, though, the updates. Because you need the latest news on Straight Lies and my other novels, or else you will be very, very sad.
UPCOMING STRAIGHT LIES BOOK EVENTS
Rehoboth Beach, DE; Saturday, June 27, 7:00 PM -- 9:00 PM
I'll be reading and signing at Gallery 50 Contemporary Art, 50 Wilimington Avenue
I expect to see everyone in the Washington-Baltimore-Philadelphia vicinity that weekend. Don't make me think you're avoiding me...
Atlanta, GA; Monday, July 13, 7:30
I'll be reading and signing at OutWrite Bookstore & Coffeehouse, 991 Piedmont Avenue
At this event, I'd better see everyone from south of Virginia and east of the Mississippi. Hey, I am flying a long way; the least you can do is show up.
NOW: EVEN MORE BYRNES ON THE INTERNET
Hmm. I just noticed that my website (www.robbyrnes.net) is already out of date. I'll fix that right away (meaning, when I get a chance.) In the meantime, you can still read my blog, become my Facebook friend, and -- brand new! -- follow me on Twitter. (Too much of a good thing? Naaaah.)
MAY IN REVIEW
The Saints & Sinner Literary Festival in New Orleans was fantastic, and I met a lot of great people (and got to see many of my favorites again.) It's hard to think of a single highlight... there were too many of them. But let's just say that the long nightly poolside get-togethers with my friends Becky Cochrane, Timothy J. Lambert, Jeff Ricker, David Puterbaugh, 'Nathan Burgoine, Greg Herren, and assorted spouses and friends made the weekend extra special. (And you should be reading their work, too.) At the end of the month, I attended the Lambda Literary Awards ceremony, where -- despite my best efforts -- I was unable to steal any awards. But I did get to meet writers Bill Konigsberg (a Lammy winner for Out of the Pocket) and Drew Ferguson (a finalist for The Screwed Up Life of Charlie the Second), which sort of made up for it.
SPEAKING OF WRITERS
New book alerts: my friend Frank Anthony Polito's new novel Drama Queers! has just been released! Frank's Band Fags! was one of my favorite books of 2008, so don't miss the new one. Also new: Monday-lover Michael Thomas Ford's What We Remember. Both books are from Kensington Publishing.
AND NOW, ON TO OUR SPECIAL GUEST
Earlier in the month, I had an interesting e-mail exchange with Ed Hermance of Philadelphia's LGBT independent bookstore, Giovanni's Room. Long story short: I asked Ed to put some thoughts together on why we should all be patronizing our independent bookstores, and he sent me the following. I urge you to read it. This is important.
Everyone knows that bookstores are in trouble: people don't read as much, in tight times everyone needs to buy at the cheapest price, e-books may catch on and there's so far no role for bookstores in selling e-books, people think they can't buy from local stores via the internet, people spend so much money of technology that they don't have any left for books and movies.
Are there any reasons to buy from a gay bookstore?
A gay store often has a staff of dedicated professionals who have worked with gay materials for many years. In the case of Giovanni's Room, which is my store, the staff has more than a hundred years' experience with lesbian, gay, bi, and trans books and movies. Customers can bring up the most shadowy information for a book or movie they want, and we can often turn the request into a sale or an order. Recently a woman was looking for information that would provide the context for the play she was writing about two African American lesbian teens in love in Greenwich Village in the late 1950s. We were able to produce a stack of ten or so books that bore directly on the subject.
Similarly our experience gives us the best chance to recommend books that you might like. You tell us what you have liked, and we will give you our informed suggestions of what you might to read next.
A regular customer has the advantage of seeing the full range of new books and movies in our subjects and can conveniently survey them in a few minutes. Gay stores assess the gay content of materials in a much more intense and informed way than general booksellers, bricks-and-mortar variety or online. If you want to see what's new, you need to depend on a gay bookseller, online or off.
Your local economy affects your life profoundly. Supporting a local store means that more of your dollars stay in the community where you live. Local stores hire local people, pay local taxes, and pay attention to local interests and concerns. Buying locally reduces your carbon footprint by stopping the long-distance hauling that some imagine is the future of retail business.
Your bookstore probably hosts a number of events, usually readings, each year. Readings can foster a sense of community, even of a transnational community.
A local appearance gives you topnotch, free entertainment-a chance to meet some of the most creative people alive.
Gay stores are perfectly capable of getting you any book available. All booksellers buy from the same sources, so we can buy anything any other online or off line retailer can buy. If you buy every book and movie from an lgbt store, you are increasing its ability to sustain a deeper lgbt inventory.
Thanks, Ed. I couldn't have said it better myself (which, come to think of it, is why I made you write it!)
That's all for this update. Now go make your travel arrangements for Rehoboth and Atlanta!