Sunday, July 30, 2006

Tour Day 28 and 29

Miles driven so far: 5655
Bookstores visited so far: 262
Books signed so far: 2322
Books hand sold so far: 165
Bookstores remaining: 238
Time spent writing fiction on tour: 0
Movies watched on tour: 0
Books read on tour: 0
Minutes of television watched on tour: 0
Magazines/Newspapers read on tour: 0
Video games played on tour: 0

Yesterday I managed to drop in 21 bookstores (it was actually 22, but one of them was a college bookstore that did absolutely nothing for my career.) The day began at 7am, and ended at 11:02pm, right after the last store closed.

When I finally got to my charming Days Inn room in Warwick, Rhode Island (Now With 30% More Stains!), I took a few minutes to dwell on the tour before passing out from weariness.

Since I have so many stores to hit in a limited amount of time, recreation is the first thing to give up while touring (sleep is the second, food is the third.)

I knew this would happen going into this tour, and I try to justify this unhealthy behavior by rationalizing that I'll eat, sleep, have fun, and spend time with my family when I'm a bestseller.

There are many problems with that philosophy, but the most immediate is: how do you define bestsellerdom? Hitting #1 on the NYT list? Hitting #99 on USA Today?

So I've refined my criteria. I'll be more comfortable when I earn twice as much money as I'm earning now. This would mean I wouldn't be living off credit cards between checks, and I'd actually be able to afford health insurance and maybe even have a savings account.

How do I make more money? The answer seems obvious: sell more books. Which is why I'm putting in so much time on the road. I think of this tour as trying to start a fire. Hopefully I'll cause enough sparks that the flames will become self-perpetuating.

Here are some things that I want to happen in my career:
  • Earn out my advances.
  • Sell more foreign rights, especially to England, Germany, and Australia.
  • Write more than one book a year.
  • Sell book club rights.
  • Option movie rights.
  • Make sure my backlist stays in print.
  • Get into the big box stores (Walmart, Costco, Target, Sam's Club, etc.)
  • Make sure each book sells better than the previous book.

Looking at these goals, it's apparent that many are out of my hands. My agent and my publisher have the control when it comes to subsidiary rights. I can write another book a year, but I don't have any guarantees it will sell.

All I really have power over is how much self-promotion I can do in order to sell more books. If I keep doing that, hopefully everything else will fall into place.

Which is why taking time out to see a movie isn't in my best interest right now.

If you're looking for signed JA Konrath books, visit one of the following bookstores.

Borders Marlboro MA

Walden Marlboro MA

BN Framingham MA

Walden Natick MA

Borders Chestnut Hill MA

Walden Needham MA

BN Chestnut Hill MA

Borders Shrewsbury MA

BN Millbury MA

Walden Worchester MA

Tatnuck Westboro MA

BN Manchester CT

BN Canton CT

BN Waterbury CT

Walden Waterbury CT

Walden Auburn MA

BN Worchester MA

Borders Providence RU

Borders Cranston RI

BN Smithfield RI

Brentanos Boston MA

Walden Medford MA

Walden Saugus MA

Jabberwocky Books Newburyport MA

BN Blemont MA

Walden Lexington MA

Walden Swansea MA

Walden Brockton MA

Walden Taunton MA

Kate's Mystery Books Cambridge MA

Borders Cambridge MA

Borders Braintree MA

Borders Express Swampscott MA

Borders Peabody MA

Borders Express Hanover MA

Waldens Danvers MA

BN Brookline MA

BN Saugus MA

BN Braintree MA

BN Burlington MA

BN Peabody MA

BN Hingham MA

Walden Burlington MA

I'm finishing up Rhode Island and SE Mass today, then on to Albany, Philly, and Jersey over the next few days. I should hit the 300 mark by Tuesday if all goes well. By the time I trek down the east coast and finish Florida, I should have 400 stores. Then in California I'll easily hit another 100, bringing me to my goal.

Hope to see some of you on the road!


emeraldcite said...

I think I saw a paperback copy of Whiskey Sour in my local Walmart...

Richard Cooper said...

Your goals are excellent and well worth the effort! Are you taking any photos on your tour? And what about listening to books on tape for those longish stretches between cities? And have you thought about sending Jack to Hawaii for a little assist to 5-O? (She could wrestle a sumo, catch a shark, shoot a tube, and give those islanders a little taste of Chicago pan…)

Mark Terry said...

Congrats on nailing the halfway mark. Hell of an achievement. Hope it accomplishes what you hope to accomplish.

I think your goals are reasonable. And they're all pretty much goals I have, too.

I just want to emphasize something you said to other readers here, because I'm experiencing it, too. That is, just because you're published doesn't mean publishers will necessarily buy other books of yours outside the series. My agent's marketing a book of mine under a pseudonym and although we're optimistic, there's no guarantee that just because I have a 4-book contract with one publisher means I'll get this book sold. Maybe if my sales are HUGE, it'll happen.

Good luck, Joe. We're rooting for you.

Rob Gregory Browne said...

I think we all have pretty much the same goals, but as you say, there isn't much we can do about most of them.

That said, I don't see how what you're doing could possibly HURT the process. I admire your stamina.

Mike MacLean said...

Thanks for the insights, Joe. I hope to put them to use some day.

JA Konrath said...

I Love you today.

Keep up the great job.
We are all proud of you.

Where are my presents?!


Christine said...

I thought you already came through Jersey!

Aimlesswriter said...

Go Joe Go!
I'll be waving as you race through NJ.
Remember; there's a word for a writer who never gives up....BEST SELLER!!!

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

Eh, Joe, all the movies out right now suck anyway. Or so I've heard. *wink*

Wesley Smith said...

"I'll be more comfortable when I earn twice as much money as I'm earning now."

No offense, Joe, but you don't really believe that, do you? I've been reading your blog for over a year know, and I don't believe it.

Of course it's admirable that you've set that goal before yourself, but since getting your books sold is more important than writing the books is (that's not a criticism, just an observation), I can't imagine you'll ever be truly satisfied with where you are right now. You'll always want to sell "just one book more."

Anonymous said...

Julia, Victoria, Spencer, Virginia and I are SO bummed we missed you on this swing. This was the weekend we took two jaunts up to the Canadian border (that would be precisely the opposite direction...)on kid-related camp trips. Just wanted to commend the halfway point in your truly Homeric odyssey (that would be Homer Simpson of course...). It's all downhill, back to the 'ol barn, from here!
We'll just send you a hearty "Go-o-o- Joe!".
Best regards,
Team Pepperoni in Maine
P.S. - Is there a Mr. Friskers short story yet? That critter's got chops. Give it all your darkling best, and submit it for an Agatha. Heh, heh.

Susan said...

Joe, congrats on making the halfway mark!

I'll touch base with you in a couple of weeks, and will look forward to seeing you out here.



Sign out said...

Congratulations on your continued progress, Joe! By the way, I finished Bloody Mary a few days ago - a great read! I hope to post my review on Amazon shortly.

Douglas V. Gibbs said...

Went to Barnes and Noble to buy Rusty Nail yesterday (in Temecula California) and they didn't have it. Two paperbacks of Bloody Mary were on the shelf, but no Whiskey Sour and no Rusty Nail. So, I ordered a Rusty Nail, and went in today to receive it and buy it. Wanted to have the book in hand for when you get to California. Looking forward to your track through Southern California - - stay safe - oh, and great list of goals. Looking forward to having the same stresses someday. We'll see you on the flip side.

JA Konrath said...

No offense, Joe, but you don't really believe that, do you? I've been reading your blog for over a year know, and I don't believe it.

Nor do you have to believe it. Only I do.

Of course it's admirable that you've set that goal before yourself, but since getting your books sold is more important than writing the books is (that's not a criticism, just an observation), I can't imagine you'll ever be truly satisfied with where you are right now.

The writing is extremely important, but a great book doesn't mean much if no one reads it. You can write the best book in the world, but if only your mom buys a copy, you're not going to have a very long career.

You'll always want to sell "just one book more."

This isn't about conquest. It's about security.

JA Konrath said...


I miss you too, babe. So much it hurts.

Elizabeth Krecker said...

You're such a sweetie Joe!

I heard you got to hang out with Adam Hurtubise - not sure which of you I'm more jealous of...Adam for hanging out with you, or you for hanging out with Adam. Either way, it sounds like a great time was had by all.

Hope you sell LOTS of books, hit ALL the best seller lists and can head HOME to your wife and kiddies very, very soon!

P.S. I stopped by two of the stores we hit in Phoenix, and ALL your books were gone. Vamoose. Sold. Congrats!