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Saturday, July 01, 2006

Book signing, flight home

New Orleans photos are NOW UP.


Sooooo, have I mentioned how much I hate doing book signings? After Thursday night, I now know why Clive Cussler has a thermos of tequila with him.

Since the four people who had promised to go with me to the book signing reneged at the last minute, I had to pay $20 each way for a taxi to the Barnes & Noble. Not to mention no dinner because I'd planned on having dinner with them before the signing, but by the time they notified me they couldn't do it, it was too late to get something to eat.

So, I get to the bookstore and they have a nice display at the front of the store with a big poster. I met Whitney, the bookstore's publicity person and she set me up. I did notice that my book signing had not been listed in their monthly newsletter, even though I called and scheduled the signing last month. Whitney got me a tall green tea frappucinno and sat at the table, ready to sign books.

Mind you, they mentioned the book signing several times at the conference and I mentioned it in both of my presentations. No one from the conference showed up.

I always get at least one "nutter" at my book signings. It never fails. This time, it was the first person to approach the table. This woman seemed very nice and said she'd written a book (I always get at least one person who says that to me as well) and said it was a spiritual book. I told her good for her. I was waiting for the usual "Can you give me your agent's phone number?" (yes, people have the audacity to assume I will just hand that information over) or hand me their manuscript to look at. Yes, that happens to me as well.

She was pretty good - she just said she knew she would have to look for the right publisher for her book. I wrote down a couple of writing web sites for her to go to for that kind of info and she thanked me. Then it happened:

"My saviour told me that although my book was written well, I had to put it into chapters and not sections," she confided in me in a whisper as she looked around to make sure no one heard her say that to me.

Um, okay.

Another lady came up, chatted for a bit, bought a book and left. For the next two hours, the security guard, an older black man, chatted with me or I browsed the discounted books behind me. Going on 9:00 pm, a woman with her daughter came by and talked with me, then bought a book. Her daughter was thrilled that I signed it to her.

Two books. Of which I'll get at most just over $1.00 in royalties per book. Yep, that's how much I usually get. Not Stephen King money, that's for sure.

Anyone out there who thinks authors make loads of money - the normal author doesn't.

So, Whitney called a taxi company to send a car to come get me. Turns out the bookstore was in Jefferson Parish, where all those shootings and murders have been taking place. I was safer staying at the hotel in the French Quarter.

I got back to the hotel at 9:30 and ran into this college student who had been at one of my talks. He asked what I was doing. I told him I was going up to my room. He said I could hang out with him and his friends. I hemmed and hawed and he said, "Don't go up to your room and be alone watching TV."

Okay, he convinced me. So I ran up to my room, dropped off one of my bags, hit the restroom and went back downstairs. He was waiting for his friends, so I began talking with a woman who was with one of the other conferences (no, not the GI Joe collectors conference).

Another college student, a girl who had also been at one of my talks, showed up. She said they were going up to her *parents* room for a beer before heading out.

I looked at them and said, "I'm your parents age. I'm going to have to beg off."

They looked disappointed, but I really felt uncomfortable and said I'd chat with the lady I'd just met. So I sat down and chatted with her until one of her friends showed up, then I went to my room and watched TV.

I have to admit, it was a depressing end to what had been a good trip up until then.

I have decided that except for the book signings I have already scheduled - which thank God, aren't that many - that I am not going to do any more. I am sick of dealing with apathetic bookstores who could care less. I am sick of only a few people showing up to buy a book when I have to take at least four hours out of my day to drive to/from the bookstore, then spend 2-3 hours at the bookstore, plus cab fare if I'm on the road.

All the time I spent at this bookstore, I could have been hanging out with people from the conference and enjoying my time in New Orleans.

Like I said, now I know why Clive Cussler brings a thermos of tequila. Yes, he is more famous and has lines of people waiting, but he told me the tequila takes the edge off of hearing the same, "I've written a book, too" or the nutters like the ones I see.

The next morning, got up, hit the fitness center, packed, headed to the airport. Checked in, got on the first flight to JFK. I had almost three hours for a layover, so I had a nice lunch at one of the restaurants there. No massage that day. I just didn't feel like it. I mean, I was really depressed (and still am).

Got on the next flight home to Portland, Maine. JetBlue lost one of my bags. I'm supposed to get it back today - it was to be on a later flight last night. This is one of my expensive Coach bags. Nothing too much in it. Clothes that can be replaced. All my important stuff was in my carry-ons.

Got home at 8:30, hugged Chris and the dogs and told Chris no more book signings (well, except for at the conferences I speak at. I could have sold 50 books at this conference, but the Dept of Justice doesn't allow book sales - although I had four books with me that I sold on the side to people who wanted them).

Called JetBlue and they said they'd call back this morning with a delivery time. I'm still waiting.

Sigh. The bright spot is Chippy came running this morning when I went out to feed him. Chris said he'd been hesitant yesterday when Chris tried to feed him. I think he was happy to see me!

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