Saturday, July 23, 2005

Day #7

Afraid of being stuck in LA traffic while my plane to San Francisco left without me, I got up three hours before my flight to drive the 13 miles to LAX.

I got there right on time, so naturally my flight was delayed for an hour.

After boarding, the plane did the runway shuffle for another 90 minutes. Upon completing our fifth circle of the airport, awaiting take-off clearance, the little girl sitting next to me turned to her mother and said, "Maybe the plane hasn't learned how to fly yet."

From hotel to hotel, the trip took nine hours. Next time I'll drive.

Of course, my publisher put me up in another nice hotel--The Hotel Monoco. Not quite as posh as Le Meridien of Beverly Hills where I stayed yesterday, but I'd be a fool to complain. I just wish I had time to enjoy these hotels...

The drive-by report:

Bookstore at LAX, signed three paperbacks.

Bookstore at San Francisco airport, signed and sold one paperback.

Borders on 3rd, signed 2 hardcovers, 5 paperbacks.

Barnes & Noble on Taylore, signed 2 hardcovers, 3 paperbacks.

Borders on Post, signed 5 hardcovers, 7 paperbacks.

San Francisco Mystery Bookstore, signed 3 hardcovers, 6 paperbacks.

A Clean Well Lighted Place for Books, signed 1 hardcover, 3 paperbacks.

My event was at M is for Mystery in San Mateo. I'd never been there before, but I met the lovely Ed Kaufman last year at the cocktail party Hyperion threw for Whiskey Sour's release.

Great store. And Ed's a great guy.

A handful of people showed up, and we formed a circle with our chairs and I spoke for an hour about my books, and publishing in general. The majority of them were writers, which makes me believe that my website and my blog are being read.

It also makes me proud to be a part of this business. I try to help writers, and in turn they come to my signings and help me by buying my books.

After signing a stack of 25 hardcovers and a few paperbacks, I promised Ed I'd drop by his booth at the 10th Annual Books by the Bay Festival tomorrow. Then the writers (Tammy Durston, Susan Tunis, and Ronald Cree) took me out for beer and food.

Ronald Cree just sold his first novel, a YA mystery called Desert Blood 10pm/9C and he's got the right attitude for the task ahead---work your butt off and make money for your publisher. I think he'll do fine. It's coming out in February and he's already planning for publicity and touring. Corner him at Bouchercon and say hello.

And as promised, here are more self-promoters that I admire:

David Ellis. Dave didn't tour for his latest book. Instead, he wrote 200 letters to reviewers and sent them out along with ARCs. It took a lot of work and research, but it paid off. Reviewers are flooded with books sent by publishers, but a major release sent by the author, complete with a personal, signed letter, got Dave noticed. In The Company of Liars had more reviews, and as a result higher sales, than his previous three novels. And the reviewers will remember him for his next novel.

Of course, it didn't hurt that the book (written entirely in reverse chronological order) is fabulous.

Dave has also revamped his website, and it's full of information and a lot of fun to surf.

PJ Parrish. Kristy and Kelly Montee write the Louis Kincaid series under the name PJ Parrish, and they do a lot of self-promotion. They tour. They attend conventions. They help run Sleuthfest, which is Florida's biggest mystery conference. And now, they also blog.

Drop by

TOUR UPDATE-- I've visited 70 stores so far. Will I break 100 with only 4 days left in the tour?

You can check my progress in tomorrow's episode...


Lee Goldberg said...

Since 9/11, it makes no sense to fly anywhere within five or six hours of L.A. Between parking, security, the flight, baggage claim, getting the rental car... well, it's faster, more convenient, and a lot more restful to drive. In fact, the LA Times this year did an experiment... two reporters raced to see who could get to the St. Francis Hotel in Union Sqaure for drinks first. They both left L.A. at the same flew, one drove. They got there within five minutes of each other. And the one who drove was much more relaxed.

I go to SF and Las Vegas several times a year and I almost never fly.

On a different note, I'm curious --how many books do you think you've signed, hardcover and paperback, in your driveby signings. Do you really think it's worth the time and effort to sign, say, 3 hardcovers and five paperbacks at a B&N? Up until now, I've been like you, hitting as many stores in as many places as I can, but I've begun to wonder if it makes a difference and whether there are better uses of my time and promotional dollars.

David J. Montgomery said...

You silly Midwesterner, Joe...trying to fly around California. Now you know why we are all wedded to our cars.

I've been an East Coaster for 3 years now, but I doubt I'll ever make that shift in mindset.