My book-related travels have taken me to New York City the week of the annual Book Expo event.  Specifically, I came to present AFTER THE AUCTION to a Jewish Book Network (JBN) “Meet the Author” session.  The audience, the members of the JBN, consists of Jewish community center, educational agencies, and synagogue programming staff members who “book” author speakers for their sites.  The JBN schedules 4-5 of these sessions over a three-day period during its annual conference just ahead of the opening of the huge Book Expo exhibition at the Javits Center here.

I’d really targeted this year’s JBN meeting as my timing goal for getting my book published.  And I was amazed at how many other authors apparently had, too.  The sessions run like a well-oiled machine: Each author gets two minutes to speak, and the next speaker sits in an “on deck” seat.  While the timekeeper doesn’t exactly use a hook or play Oscar night music, her bright red signs announcing 1 minute, 30 seconds, 10 seconds and her ultimate times-up rise from her seat are pretty effective in keeping the speakers in line.  That is, except for a couple–including at least one prominent novelist, Cathleen Schine, whose latest book, The Three Weissmanns of Westport, only got a great front-page review in the NY Times Book Review (which she did mention, but who wouldn’t?).  It surprised me that such a relatively well-known writer would appear for this try-out session; maybe it surprised her, too, but that was no reason for her to disregard the rules and ignore the timekeeper trying to be polite but firm.

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