…and it is a bitch.
BlackBook magazine held a book party for me in the very cool library room of the Hudson Hotel in Manhattan. Most of my favorite NY people were there, and a few LA people who just happened to find themselves in NY at the time, and afterwards we did what seemed only proper: there were clubs involved, and much alcohol.
I also dropped into a couple of bookstores to sign stock for the first time. The promotional stuff doesn’t come easily to me; and if it did, I doubt I’d be the kind of person who chooses to remain alone in a room for great periods of time almost every day, writing or reading. I went into the B&N at Union Square and was heartened to see eight copies of BLOODANGEL placed face-out on the shelf. I gathered my courage, and promptly went down the escalators and out the doors and round the corner to Starbucks, bought a coffee, went back down the sidewalk and through the doors and up the escalators and over to the woman at the Information Desk and said something to the effect of, I’m a writer, you’ve got my book, should I —
“Oh,” she said brightly, “would you be interested in signing some copies for us?” And she got out the Autographed Copy stickers, slapping one on the cover of each paperback as I signed and handed it over. It was that easy.
So later that day when I walked past a Borders, I detoured myself into it. There were no copies of my book on the shelf whatsoever. I stopped a rumpled-looking clerk, who was friendly and charming and quickly ascertained the situation: the store had four copies, but only one had been on the shelf. That one, happily, had sold, but no one had thought to remove the three remaining copies from their hiding place in storage behind the shelf. He was very apologetic, but I was just happy that a) they had copies and b) somebody actually picked up and bought one.
Today I found myself in the B&N at The Grove, a big Los Angeles shopping center that presents itself as a Hollywood fantasy of a quaint European plaza (the kind where every ‘brick’ and signpost is brand spanking new). The clerk I talked to was clearly dubious of me — when she had trouble calling up my book on the computer she said, “And you’re sure you actually saw it on our shelves?” (My visiting mother, bless her lovely heart, was buying one of those copies right that minute. “Yes,” I said. “I’m sure.”) I was jet-lagged with low blood sugar and dangerously late for the showing of Kiss Kiss Bang Bang at the movie theatre next door*, and in danger of getting cranky with the clerk in that unfortunate and homicidal sense of the word. But two copies were located and signed and I got out of there in time for the previews — I love previews — although it was one of those moments when you realize just how many books are stacked alongside yours, and how difficult it is to “get in the game, and to stay in the game” and how you are just a tiny speck of dust swirling through the vast and terrifying abyss that is otherwise known as Publishing.
On a brighter note, came home to Caitlin R. Kiernan’s To Charles Fort, with Love sitting on our hallway table.
*Great movie. You should see it.