Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Mark-ing Time With Authors

The other day, when I was compiling some of my favourite pictures from 2012, I realized that, due to the awesome job I have at Kobo (Director of Self-Publishing & Author Relations), one of the side-effects of my job is that I get to meet and hang out with authors.  What a wonderful perk that fits perfectly with something I love to do anyway. I mean, books and authors (and the fact that I'm a writer) are what originally drew me to bookselling more than twenty years ago.

So I thought it might be fun to show a few shots of me and other authors. Many of whom visited Kobo's home office in Toronto, and others I met on the road (either through Kobo, my own personal writing or via my work with Canadian Booksellers Association)

So I thought I would share a few of the pictures spotlighting just some of the awesome authors I had the pleasure of meeting or hanging out with.

One of the coolest highlights for me would have to be the honour of presenting the CBA Libris Lifetime Achievement Award to Margaret Atwood at the CBA Libris Awards ceremony in Toronto in June.

Presenting CBA Libris Lifetime Achievement Award to Margaret Atwood
The picture above is one that I love, because it's a natural exciting moment in time. (I can assure you that I am ten times more excited than Ms. Atwood was in this photo, having been a fan of hers for most of my life).  Of course, then there's the standard picture pose below.

Margaret Atwood - CBA Lifetime Achievement Award
As if that wasn't enough, that same evening I also had the honour of presenting the CBA Libris Author of the Year Award to Michael Ondaatje (for his novel THE CAT'S TABLE)

Michael Ondaatje with CBA Libris Author of the Year Award
Of course, the evening was an interesting one playing double duty between my job at Kobo (we were in the process of launching Kobo Writing Life in New York at BEA) and my role at Canadian Booksellers Association (with a ceremony taking place in Toronto).

A flight delay meant arriving just a few minutes late for the start of the CBA Libris Awards -- I was thus unable to properly introduce Master of Ceremonies Terry Fallis.  Of course, Terry, being resourceful and able to think on his feet, covered for me with a good dose of humour by starting off to deliver what was my opening address (while, of course, introducing himself as me).  When I arrived a few minutes later, to properly introduce him as MC, I expressed my thanks with a big hug . . .

"A Hug for Terry Fallis" (not to be confused with my favourite novel "A Prayer for Owen Meany"
I have been a fan of Terry's from the first moment I discovered his wonderful self-published novel THE BEST LAID PLANS.  I like to take pride in the fact that I was among the very first booksellers to stock his title back when Terry was beating the streets and trying to get the book out into the world. (I believe that the perceptive and bright folks at Book City in Toronto beat me by one day)

I partially blame amazingly talented self-pub authors like Terry (who since first self-publishing, won the Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour, scored a publishing contract with M&S and then won CBC Canada Reads) for inspiring me to continue on in my role of working directly with authors who want to explore self-publishing.

The year also was filled with interesting publishing opportunities, and one of the projects I worked on was an Alberta Publishers Association sponsored project called ALTERNATIVE FUTURES FOR PUBLISHING.  The book was written and work-shopped in a collaborative two days in Edmonton. Here is the cast of authors below (holding Julie Wilson's SEEN READING)

Jerome Martin, Me, Merle Martin, Todd Anderson, Jessica Legacy, Kirby Wright, Paul Martin, Donna Livingstone, Kieran Leblanc

At World Horror Con in November, I got to hang out with so many wonderful authors. Here's a picture of Robert Runte, Michell Plested, Emily Craven and I.

Robert, Michell, Emily and me
 At World Horror Con I also got to see two dear author friends again (Carolyn Clink and Robert J. Sawyer) which is always fun , but also meet Virginia O'Dine in person for the first time.  I had the pleasure of publishing all three of them in TESSERACTS SIXTEEN: PARNASSUS UNBOUND.

Carolyn Clink, Robert J. Sawyer, Virgina O'Dine and me
Speaking of TESSERACTS SIXTEEN, I also had the pleasure of bringing back a reprint story that Kevin J. Anderson and Neil Peart had originally published in an anthology in 1992 which was entitled "Drumbeats." Here we are at FaxExpo in Toronto.  (We're holding a signed copy that Kevin and Neil personalized for me)

Kevin, T16 & me

Kevin and I originally met a few years back at Eerie Con in Niagara Falls, New York.  But this year we had the chance to really play catch up, getting together twice in Toronto: once with a visit he made to Kobo's head office...along with doing the world book launch for his Rush tie-in novel CLOCKWORK ANGELS in Toronto . . .

Me and Kevin at Kobo head office in Toronto

Another time where, Kevin, Jonathan and I caught the Rush concert together . . . (Kevin was also in town as a guest of honour for RushCon) . . .

. . . and, at Book Expo America in New York where, for the first time, we announced Kobo Writing Life, the awesome free DIY portal for authors to publish their work into Kobo's global catalog.

Kevin and I at the Kobo booth at BEA
At times it perhaps felt that I had spent more time hanging out with Kevin in 2012 than I did with my wife. But Kevin and I did discover that we shared a particular affinity not only for our wives, of course, whom we both adore spending time with, as well as for Rush, but also for craft beer. While chatting about writing, publishing, music, hiking and family, we discovered quite a few great craft beers.

I met many authors at the Kobo booth at BEA, including Jen Talty (who later came to Kobo's head office with Bob Mayer - unfortunately, the picture I got of the three of us under the Kobo sign at our head office was too blurry to use)

Me and Jen at the Kobo booth at BEA
At the Kobo booth at BEA in New York, I also had the distinct pleasure of getting to sit down and chat with Michael Connelly about writing, about his twenty years with Harry Bosch and about the interesting universe of characters that he has weaved in the past two decades. The interview/discussion was recorded, but was too shaky and unfocused to use. We'll likely be able to transcribe the conversation, since I found it so fascinating to hear about his writing process, and the manner by which his characters have grown and evolved over the years.

And it is, of course, always really fun when authors visit us at Kobo head office.  Over the past twelve months, so many great authors walked through our doors. In October, Bella Andre and Barbara Freethy came to spend the day with us and meet some folks from our home office. Yes, simply more great perks of my job

I had the pleasure of meeting dozens more authors this past year, shared panels, stages and book talks and signing events with so many of them.  Unfortunately, I either don't have pictures of those moments, or if I do, I was unable to find them while putting this post together.

In all, like I said, a perk of being a writer and of my roles within the book industry come with an amazing side-effect: getting to hang out with some of the coolest writers around.

And I'm sure that 2013 will be filled with much more of the same.


R.E. McDermott said...

Quite an impressive photo collage, from an equally impressive guy! It once again begs the question "When does this guy sleep?"

All the best for a great 2013.

Mark Leslie said...

LOL! Thanks, Bob. I actually get between 4 and 5 hours of sleep every night, whether I need it or not. ;)

In all honesty, I'm a very lucky and very fortunate guy.

All the best to you in 2013! Here's hoping you sell tons of books!

EmCraven said...

I'm very envious of your meet and greets Mark! Love the photos :)