Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Day #10

Leaving the Heathman Hotel was tougher than expected. Not because I was sad to go, but because they somehow had no record of me staying there, making it a bit difficult to check out.

That never got fully straightened out, even though I had plenty of time, because the valet had apparently parked my car in Amsterdam--that's about how long it took to find.

Since I was driving to Seattle, and had a noon signing, I didn't find any of this amusing.

When I finally did get my car back, I broke the land speed record for Chevy Malibus (almost 83mph) and made it to the Seattle Mystery Bookshop with twenty minutes to spare.

There was a big crowd---all there for Jasper Fforde, who was signing with me. I pitched my books to the folks waiting in Jasper's long line and managed to sell quite a few. I also had some actual fans come to see me, which is always nice.

Jasper was a pleasant enough guy, English, polite and quick with the quip. I bought a copy of his latest book. He didn't return the favor.

TOUR TIP #17---When doing a signing with another author, buy their book. This not only supports the bookseller, but your fellow authors.

I wound up signing 30 books, then sticking around and handselling the remainder of my paperbacks before hitting the drive-by trail:

Barnes & Noble on Pine, signed 4 hardcovers, 2 paperbacks.

Borders on 4th, signed 3 hardcovers---they couldn't find my paperbacks (stripped?)

B. Dalton in Factoria Square didn't have any books at all. I introduced myself to the employees and made sure they ordered some (should have phoned first.)

Waldenbooks on Pine, closed a few months ago (phone first.)

Borders in Bellevue, closed last month (dammit dummy, start phoning first!)

Barnes & Noble in Bellevue, 4 hardcovers, 4 paperbacks.

Borders in Redmond, 5 hardcovers, 5 paperbacks.

Barnes & Noble in Woodinville, 4 hardcovers, 3 paperbacks.

Barnes & Noble in Federal Way, signed 3 hardcovers, 4 paperbacks.

Borders in Federal Way, signed 2 hardcovers, 3 paperbacks.

Since my brother lives in Seattle, I decided to stay with him and save the publisher some cash.

TOUR TIP # 18---Try to alleviate some of the publisher's touring expense when you can. I pay for my own food, extra gas, and never charge anything to the hotel rooms.

Apparently, I alleviated more cost than I thought. My publicist emailed, worried because i hadn't checked into the Heathman last night. This told me three things:

1. Your publisher is always watching you while you're touring.
2. My publisher seems to actually care about me.
3. The Heathman is run by a group of trained chimps.

TOUR STATS: I've signed 853 books at 96 bookstores, and have signed and handed out 700 coasters.

The GPS unit I purchased, a Garmin c330, is far superior to the rentalunits I've had. This thing comes prelaoded with 5 million business addresses, and every map in the US. So when I'm driving, I can type in "Borders" and it lists them all within a hundred miles. This is much easier.

Next tour I'll do a lot more driving, hitting stores along the way, and much less air travel, which is expensive, exhausting, and a time waster. Had I driven this entire tour, it would have taken perhaps three more days, but I would have been able to visit 50 more stores. A much better bang for the buck.

Only four more stores to reach the exhaulted 100. We'll see what happens...


Bob Morris said...

OK, if I'm worn out from this I know you must be exhausted. But taking your lead, here's what I plan to do when I (more or less) follow your trail in the fall: Put more emphasis on getting bodies to the bookstores that are hosting me and less time on drive-bys.

I'll make a plea to everyone on my email list (500-600 folks) to help out on my book tour by giving me the names/addresses of their family and friends in Nashville, Houston, Scottsdale, etc. who might be interested in my books. I'll then send these folks a postcard and an email inviting them to the reading/book signing, noting, of course, who recommended me to them.

I did this same thing at a booksigning down in Miami last year. I got a crowd of 50-60 people and the bookseller sold out of my books.

As for drive-bys, if I actually happen to drive by the stores then I will stop. But I am not going long distances out of my way. It'll just put me in a lousy mood, and I need to remain upbeat and bouyant and full of good cheer. As long as my meds hold out, anyway...

Thanks for your hard work you Road Dog you....

Mark Terry said...

I just have this vision of Joe doing a TV commercial:

Hi, I'm Joe Konrath, author of "Jell-O Shot" the latest in the Captain Jack Daniels mysteries. Whenever I'm on tour, I take bottles of Jergens Hand Lotion to keep my hands soft and smooth while I'm shaking book buyers and signing hands at your local bookstore. Come see me today as I talk aboaut Capt'n Jack's hunt for the elusive Jell-O Murderer who is sliming the streets of Chicago!

Mark Terry

Jim Winter said...

Air travel, I have learned, is great if you're writing. That is, if you can write in the airport lounge or on a plane. If I have a laptop parked in front of me, I can. Not everyone can.

That said, the worst possible place to write is on a Delta Airlines MD-80. Delta, which teeters on bankruptcy to the point where I bite my fingernails if that's my ride out of town, decided to take the seatback trays out of the MD-80's it uses so they can cram people into even smaller spaces than they do on their Canadair regional jets. Also, you can't stick carry-on luggage under your seat. This forced me to hide my laptop bag under my legs and engage in strange acrobatics.

I now listen to my ex-sister-in-law when she insists I fly Southwest (on time and mostly point-to-point flights vs. spoke-and-hub outsourced to regional carriers.) After this last trip, Air Tran has started looking like a deal.

Katyah said...

You seem like you support bookstores with a passion. I do not recall too many authors doing this and it may be why their books don't sell as well, but its just a theory.
You were in WA in July, sorry I missed you :)