Move Over King Tut. It’s Time For The Kristoffer Gair Curse!
Posted on April 25, 2011
Naughty folks like myself are running out of places to work our trade. No, no. Wrong trade. Not that authors who happen to be gay and feature gay characters in our books have had tremendous luck getting into mainstream bookstores, but still, there have been some. Doesn’t it just figure, too, that the one Borders that carried my books, the same store I’ve signed at four times, is the one closest to Boystown in Chicago and they’re closing if they haven’t closed already? Come to think of it, the majority of the stores I’ve signed at are gone. It reminds me of when I came out. Anybody I told within a few months ended up coming out, too, or had a relative who did.
This could be the Kristoffer Gair Curse!
It’s all true. My guy wanted me to keep my mouth shut when I officially came out and we started dating. He apparently didn’t realize I take after my mother’s side and can’t keep my trap from flapping even if my life depended on it–at least back then. So anybody I did mention it to seemed to come out within 3-7 days later. It was kinda eerie in a gay Japanese Ring sorta way and he told me more than once to please, for the sake of the population, STOP TALKING. Honestly, he just wanted me to shut up because I talked a lot back then and he wanted some peace and quiet.
As for signings, I traveled to LA and signed at A Different Light. Two people showed, both unemployed, and the bookstore closed before I could make it back with my next book. Did a trip to NYC for a signing at a gay bookstore on Christopher Street. Good crowd. Sold books. They closed. I called the Oscar Wilde Bookshop and even though they wouldn’t give me the time of day once they realized I wasn’t with a large New York publisher, they ended up closing. It was apparently just the threat of me traveling there that did them in. Or their attitude.
And now that I think about it, there was a store in Indianapolis, Out Word Bound, that I did a fairly successful signing at back when the first version of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to My Sexual Orientation came out. The second trip for Andy Stevenson Vs. the Lord of the Loins was a disaster. Aside from what I did in terms of contacting any LGBT organization down there I could find, plus contacting folks using MySpace and Facebook, the store did absolutely zero to promote the event. A badly handwritten sign was placed on the front door 10 minutes before the event was supposed to start and the young lady behind the counter wasn’t even told I was going to be there despite this being set up three months ahead of time. They ended up closing. Nice folks, but can I say I’m surprised? Not really.
Then there was Kansas City back in 2003. I set the signing up, arrived on the day, they “forgot” I was coming despite e-mail reminders–I’m good about that sort of thing–hadn’t ordered copies of the books (I brought some as a precaution) and then the check they sent me to cover to cost of the copies they sold bounced. They sent another check, then e-mailed and said they wanted me to return the money from the first check that bounced or they’d sue. Uhhh…it bounced, I returned it to them and it was in their possession. They closed. Again, not surprised.
Most recently, GA Hauser, Alan Chin and I did a signing at A Different Light in San Francisco this past October or November and they’re now closing.
For supposedly being affluent, it certainly doesn’t seem like some of us know how to run a business. On the flip side of that, stores like Common Language, Giovanni’s Room, OutWrite Bookstore and QTrading have bent over backwards trying to make their stores work and their efforts shine! It will be because of owners like these that authors like me will still have a place to go and be heard.
Well, provided the Kristoffer Gair curse isn’t real…
Or is it?
Kristoffer Gair (who formerly wrote under the pseudonym Kage Alan) is the Detroit-based author of Honor Unbound, A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To My Sexual Orientation, Andy Stevenson Vs. The Lord Of The Loins, Gaylias: Operation Thunderspell, several short stories featured in anthologies (to be combined in a forthcoming book), the novella Falling Awake, its sequel, Falling Awake II: Revenant and Falling Awake III: Requiem.
4 Responses to “Move Over King Tut. It’s Time For The Kristoffer Gair Curse!”
Phoenix Emrys says:
April 25, 2011 at 5:12 pm
* cue suspenseful music* Duh, duh, duh…
I used to own two bookstores. (Not at the same time). They both closed. (Also not simultaneously, but definitely permanently).
Pretty sure it wasn’t you.
That is… I think….
April 25, 2011 at 6:03 pm
I’m pretty sure you’d remember if it was. lol
And I don’t say that out of arrogance. I just know folks remember me because I generally hear them say “Oh, shit. It’s HIM again!”
irene black says:
April 27, 2011 at 7:46 am
Have you tried The Epic Bookstore in Yellow Springs, Ohio? It is one of the oldest gay bookstores around. The last time I looked it was still going strong.
Yellow Springs is a neat little town (very comfortable for everyone) lived there for nearly 20 years.
Nash Black (Irene)
April 27, 2011 at 8:05 pm
I’ve never even heard of that store, Irene. I’ll definitely be checking it out, though. Thank you for the heads up!