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...


Anonymous 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....

Anonymous 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