On the Road in LA

Ralphs_flowers I didn’t get a chance to take any pictures at the Southern California Booksellers Association trade show, but you’ve probably seen enough trade show photos.  Books, booksellers–you get the idea.

Here’s a funny thing:  because this is Hollywood, guess what everybody at the show was talking about?  YouTube!  Book videos!  Film!  Television!  Everybody seems to be wondering whether this is the final frontier for authors.  Are we all going to need a video to promote our books?

In my case, I thought it was totally worthwhile to put a video on YouTube.  (Of course, I couldn’t have done it alone–I have a brother in the industry who shot and edited the film.)  But now check out the videos that another author I met, Chris Epting, has made to promote his books.  Even though he mostly uses still Ralphs_flowers2 photos and captions, he still manages to put together something that’s pretty slick and funny–and you immediately get what the book is about.

Ah, Hollywood.  Is this the future of book promotion?  Maybe.

And while I was in LA I made an extraordinary discovery.  Check out the labels on this bouquet I picked up at Ralph’s.  A couple months ago I wrote about the grocery store bouquets in England that had a sell-by date and a vase life guarantee right on the label–but this is the first time I’ve seen the same thing in the US.  Ralph’s is owned by Kroger, and I have to hand it to them–they’ve taken the $9.99 grocery store bouquet to a whole new level.  These roses were gorgeous, they were sitting in an air-conditioned display (not behind glass, but kept cool nonetheless), and the sell-by date allowed me to look through the bouquets and choose the freshest one.  I love the little description of the variety, and I really appreciated the fact that the larger bouquets had care and decorating ideas printed right on the wrapper.  Some were even labeled "California Grown."

And I really liked the fact that the older flowers were in a $5 rack.  If you needed flowers for a dinner party, and you didn’t care whether they lived past tonight, this would be a great bargain.

I gotta tell you, I used to turn my nose up at grocery store bouquets, but these were beautiful, fresh, interesting, unusual, cheap–and did I mention fresh?  What’s not to like?