19 October 2010

Great night at Joseph Beth

Had one of the best readings of my writing life at Joseph Beth tonight.
More than 120 people, great questions, great conversation, we sold 12
Packs of family farm notecards, I had to be dragged off the podium by the event manager, and met a lot of great people, some of whom had driven from West Virginia and Indiana. The hotel wi fi is screwed up, so I am turning to the trusty I pad. More post and photos later.
On to Kentucky and the Woodford Library, Versailles at 2 p.m. And then Joseph Beth inLexington at 7 p.m.
Below, the people waiting when we arrived.

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Book tour: Signing stock

Visiting stores

One part of a book tour involves going to bookstores and signing "stock' as they call books. The escort sets up the signings, and when the author arrives, the books are neatly stacked up for signing and the staff comes out to say hello – especially when Izzy is there. Then the staff and the escort slap on authograph stickers. Sometimes I think the bookstore people would rather we didn't come by, sometimes they seem appreciative that we did. Signed books sell and the staff tends to remember the writers who come by and "hand sell" – or recommend their books to customers.

I usually ask the staff about e-books, bestsellers, trends in buying. Learn a lot. Stock signings usually involve a lot of driving, and I suspect they are worth it but I don't know. I'm tired, but happy tired.

Inside a book tour/NPR


Izzy was back to his old self mostly today, relaxed and easy. He was hurting a good bit earlier in the week, I think. Bandages are al off for the moment. Book tours are intense. We got up at 6, walked Izzy, ate and headed for Cincinnati. Kathy, the media escort, met us there and took us to several stores to sign stocks of books, and to several radio stations. We just got dropped off back at the hotel for an hour or so. We will rest, then walk around then get picked up again for dinner and to go to the bookstore.

Publishers try to arrange book tours so that writers go on TV and radio to promote the bookstore events. They look carefully at book sales to see if the tours are worth it, and the book stores report back on how readings went. Publishers are getting more selective about book tours and I think it is worth rethinking them. I'm arranging several different kinds of events on my own, using my dog, my camera, my Ipad, my truck and Facebook. It's a lot of stuff to haul around. I feel good about it so far. Escorts are key to tours like this. They know their way around, get some food when you are hungry, tea when your voice goes, Excedrin when I have a headache.

Dog on a book tour. Jon, get busy

Dogs and diarrhea

Cincinnati, Ohio – People with dogs understand that elimination is an issue, for them and for us. I rarely take a dog on book tours for lot of reasons. It's complicated. It is distracting to me and involves food, regulations, hotel and motel choices.  You can't bring dogs into restaurants, and in Cincinnati, we were challenged everywhere we went. "Is he a therapy dog?" guards ask. He is.

You have to be vigilant. People who love dogs to not always handle them well. Trusting kids run loose around them, people grab dogs, rub them roughly, stick their faces near the dog's (a challenge to a border collie), think their dogs want to meet them. People ply dogs with unhealthy treats, and too many. Izzy rarely gets treats and doesn't need them.  (I will honestly never understand why people want to bring dog's to book readings. I wouldn't ever think of it. )

But people love to meet dogs,especially Izzy and that is important. I love traveling with him, he is the most easy going creature, and he connects with people. Having a dog underscores many of the things I talk about, but it is still a challenge. When you have to go to the bathroom, you can't exactly hand him off to strangers, so he comes into the Men's Room with me, as he goes everywhere else I go, waits patiently. Fair enough. I do the same for him. I sometimes expect him to tell me to get busy.

The blog and Facebook continue to play a growing role in the book tour. On Facebook, we set up a visit to the Bainbridge Library in Chagrin Falls, Ohio Thursday at 7 p.m. and the library says they are getting calls about the reading from as far away as Pittsburgh and Shaker Heights, Ohio. On October 26, 3 p.m. we will be at the  South Hadley, Mass., Public Library, another event arranged largely on Facebook. Wednesday, the Woodford Public Library in Versailles, Kentucky, 2 p.m. And Wednesday night, 7 p.m., Joseph Beth Booksellers, Lexington, Ky. We are rethinking the book tour, something I will talk about tonight at Joseph Beth, Cincinnati, 7 p.m.

Live/ WRRS

Blogging in real time on a book tour.

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