Not a very productive day today, due to L.A. traffic, which ranks just below kidney stones on my "Things I Hate" list.
Though I spent about 10 hours in the car, I only managed to visit 8 bookstores:
Borders Orange County, signed 1 hardcover, 6 paperbacks.
Barnes & Noble in Irvine, signed 3 hardcovers, 2 paperbacks.
Barnes & Noble #2 in Irvine, signed 4 hardcovers, 8 paperbacks.
Borders in Beverly Hills, signed 1 hardcover and 3 paperbacks.
Borders in Westwood, signed 2 hardcovers and 3 paperbacks.
Barnes & Noble in Westwood, signed 4 hardcovers (couldn't find the paperbacks... I fear they were stripped)
Barnes & Noble at Farmer's Market, signed 4 hardcovers, 6 paperbacks.
There were plenty of other stores I could have visited, but just didn't have the time.
My event tonight was at the Mysterious Bookshop in Westwood, and at 7:00pm I was greated by my throng of fan.
No typo there. One guy showed up (thanks, Stephen Blackmoore!)
That didn't discourage me, because, hey, one guy showed up. Steve's a writer too, and we talked shop for a while. He discovered me through my blog, which was a nice thing to hear---it's nice to know that my words are getting through to you folks. Or, at the very least, getting through to Steve.
Happily, the bookstore had a stack or pre-orders for me to sign, as well as a big pile of stock, which always makes me happy. It was great meeting the managers, Bobby and Linda. They're good people.
Then I signed the infamous Jail Register, a massive book that they've been keeping since the year 2000. Every author that comes in signs their name and vital stats, and everyone tries to be clever.
I saw a lot of famous names, which was cool.
I also saw many more names that I didn't recognize at all, which was very uncool.
I know quite a few folks in the writing community, but about 75% of those names were alien to me.
Hundreds of unknown writers. How many never wrote a second book? How many lost their publisher? How many are chugging along at book #7 and still midlist?
Five years from now, will I be one of the reconizable names, or one of the forgotten hundreds?
Scary, sobering stuff...
As I promised, I wanted to share with my blog readers (hi, Steve!) some names of other authors who also kick-butt on the self-promtion front, to prove that I'm not the only grunt in the trenches.
Barry Eisler has been touring for a solid month, driving coast to coast and visiting dozens of stores. He's also fitting in an occasional TV and radio gig. Barry is very savvy when it comes to promotion, and is a wealth of information and ideas when it comes to that subject. Most importantly, it's working for him. His driving tour is costing his publisher less than the flying/escort standard, but he's able to get more done.
Is it working? He's got a movie option, a Barry Award nomination (no relation), a second printing on his latest book, and he's an IMBA bestseller.
Julia Spencer-Fleming may actually be doing more than I do on the self-promotion front. Assisted by her marketing-genius husband Ross, Julia does drive-bys like crazy. She calls them 'force mulitpliers' (great term) and believes they've helped double the sales of her latest book at the chains. She also does massive mailing campaigns, and networks like crazy.
Is it working? She's an IMBA bestseller, is currently nominated for a Barry Award, and appeared on the Amazon top 25 for her latest book.
I'll list more authors tomorrow. Now. Must. Sleep...
FUN FACT ABOUT LOS ANGELES: The traffic sucks.