Posts Tagged ‘Gharial’

Daytona Day 3: Sold Out!

Tuesday, August 26th, 2008

Day Three, Sunday, of the National Reptile Breeders’ Expo was our best day of the show.  We sold out the entire allotment corporate had given us for the show, and so did another bookdealer.  Luckily for me, Roxy Johnson had ordered backup and we were able to keep going all day.  We sold books straight from morning til close and the buzz was so good we were selling books on our way out of the building, setting our boxes down, opening up the cash box, and signing books right up to the last second. 

Roxy was phenomenal.  Our corner was a little warmer than it should have been (and I forgot deodorant), but she kept things rolling all day for three days straight.  She could talk the herp talk by the end of the show and I think there’s a bearded dragon in her son’s future.  She also had more stories to tell than your average gator wrassler which kept things lively.  Roxy gave me time to think about some of the more personal inscriptions I wanted to write.  Occasionally, the inscription was easy, Stay Out of the Sequel.

Rom Whitaker told me the final tally on the Gharial benefit auction was $25,000, which far exceeded his expectation.  Still, it’s a pittance compared to what is needed to preserve this reptile’s habitat.  Rom and I exchanged signed copies of our books, and I got the better of the deal, as his Snakes of India is a treasure. 

Importantly, the National Reptile Breeders’ Expo was another experience that suggests to me that The Lizard King has loosened the soil a bit around what have been very entrenched positions on wildlife trade.   That devoted conservationists, dedicated Fish and Wildlife agents, full-time legitimate wildlife dealers, and even smugglers can enjoy the story and use it to see into one another’s worlds is, I think, important.  I didn’t write The Lizard King for a political purpose, which is what most wildlife trade writing does.  I wrote it to recount a compelling story that took place inside a fascinating world.  I tried my best to give the perspective of the cops and of the robbers without judgment.  The audience I had in mind was anyone who enjoyed Into Thin Air or The Perfect Storm

I learned to ride a Seqway, ate chocolate covered meal worms and crickets, talked with some of the world’s reptile experts, and avoided a rather large restaurant tab.  As I said, it was a great weekend. 

After the Expo I got in my pickup and drove 14 hours home.  And so it goes.

Awesome day for THE LIZARD KING

Saturday, August 23rd, 2008

A quick note to say that Day One of the official show, the sales day, was fantastic.  Our table is next to the registration desk so we got to see every single visitor to the show and to meet a hell of a lot of them, too.  The book sold like crazy.  Roxanne’s question to the people approaching our table was, Have you heard about the book?  Almost everyone said yes, and I was stopped at one point during the day while carrying a copy and somebody said, What is it about that book?  Everybody’s carrying one. 

We have a small monopoly but two other book dealers are also selling the book at the show and so it is an odd position to be selling your book at Borders’ table when others are selling it, too.  In any case it’s all good, as everyone seems to be doing well with it.  And I’m getting to meet alot of people.  Among the most rewarding is signing the book for teenagers.  The book has been getting some publicity lately as a good way to get teens reading.  The action, the science, the finding your way in life.  I’d love to see the book find a place of meaning with people at that reptilian stage in life when you’re still not sure what kind of mammal you’re going to evolve into.

The best news is what happened at the Gharial Conservation Auction.  To support the Indian Gharial I asked all the major figures in the book and some additional pioneers to autograph it for donation.  Mike and Ray Van Nostrand, Mark and Kim Bell, Tom Crutchfield, Dave and Tracy Barker, Pete Kahl, Bill Brandt, Bill and Kathy Love, Kamuran I can’t spell his freaking last name Tepedalen, Ralph Curtis, Wayne Hill, Craig Trumbower, and Rom Whitaker all signed the book.  I was late and walked in to a packed ballroom where the auctioneer, Joe Wasiliewski, said, Did you hear about your book?  It sold for $250! It was one of the two most exciting items auctioned all night, a battle so intense that Jeanne Brodsky, who won the book, stood up and yelled, Who’s bidding against me!  I’ll get the details tomorrow but it was a great tribute to the people involved that they would sign the book for auction, and a wonderful gift that Jeanne bought the book for such a generous price!