If I were rich and untethered, could eat whatever I want, had low blood pressure, owned a German Shepherd, had already spent some time in England, was able to afford Hulu, wrote a bestseller that was also artistically stunning, and knew a few great friends in the area, I would live in the state of Oregon. Or San Francisco. This is the first thing I'd like to tell you.
We have returned from our book tour, my book tour--which secretly fronted for a family vacation. Yes, my kids and husband were present.
If you've read my book, And So We Die, Having First Slept (link here), you've undoubtedly thought this: "Hey, I wouldn't let MY kids hear that." I didn't let them, either. That's one good part about having your event at a bookstore or library. Places to read books. This is the second thing I would like to tell you.
I won't bore you. Rather, I'll offer some advice and some secrets. A secret: someone truly crapped their pants and rushed to a park toilet outside of Portland and had to have his or her underwear cut off with a pocket knife because the park toilet was so disgusting that taking off the pants and shoes was tougher than cutting off the underwear and spending the rest of the day without them (I will not entertain further questions about this.) Following this event, we spent the day at the Oregon Zoo and Powell's. One of us was not wearing underwear. Is this the third thing I would like to tell you?
Enough with the numbering . . .
I should tell you other UTTERLY COMPELLING things.
I truly believed (believe) in this book. I have a highfalutin, egomaniacal sense that it's a good book. It's had a sad publishing history. I have felt the artistic doom and the professional woes of its history. So, I put everything I personally could into it. Which was limited. I feel like I really went for quality. I had a few great people on board. I seriously spent money on weird things because I (with my freakin' degrees in creative writing) tried to be a business woman. I bought Facebook ad space. I tried a Book Riot ad campaign. My guess: I sold a copy or two from this. I tried to sell my book to small publishers to re-publish it. But EVERY SINGLE ONE OF MY FRIENDS HAS ALREADY PURCHASED IT, SO, WELL, WHO ELSE IS GOING TO BUY IT? I'm just sayin' -- writers, know what's up.
As a final book-push (it is slightly final), I went on a book tour. I'm doing some big things this summer, because--again--I believed (believe) in its value. But the June tour was a big deal. My attempt to move outside of my circle of friends. We hit the coast.
Another UTTERLY compelling thing is that my husband must get some attention, like a huge amount. Even though he has been my Sugar Daddy from the get-go (Do Not Marry A Writer), he supported my financially-draining efforts. I'm not even completely sure that HE believed (believes) in this book like I do--but I know that he loves me, he knows this was important to me, and he supported me 100%.
In our family, we assume it's cancer. (He has an MRI on Friday.) But he was in EXCRUCIATING pain for our whole vacation/book tour. We had his bike in the Honda the whole time (he's a crazy mountain-biker), and he was in too much pain to do it. But, God Bless Him, he took the kids to the beach every single time he could.
That's not all. About two or three days before we left, Tim's company--which we both have strong feelings for (I'll explain in a sec), went on furlough--due to funding. We hope it's temporary. Despite the fact that we will essentially be without his income, we decided to go on the tour. We did think about canceling it. We really did. Because our middle class status just got middler--and we were heading for broke.
Tim works for a cancer research kind of place.
Like noble and good work, like the kind of work you don't have to hate yourself for doing.
Not all of us are so lucky, if you know what I mean. For that reason and others, Tim is committed to them. For my part, I have to assert this: when I was going through my breast cancer debacle, they really were there for us. Tim went to every chemo with me, missing work to be with me on Wednesdays. We got these fabulous meals from his coworkers that I'd never be able to make even if I were cancer-free. I will remember this!
Also, I'm pro-meaningful work.
But here we were (are). With this baggage and more in the Honda, we left on my book tour!
|I had a great time at the Flintridge Bookstore & Coffeehouse in La Canada, CA!|
|So, yeah, this was a good one. I loved working with her. And an awesome bookstore!|
|This is my favorite book tour promo photo: Rob's book and mine . . . It looks pretty good.|
|The world's largest Yo-Yo is in Chico, California.|
|Do you see my book?|
|The only Little Library I found on the whole trip was in Eugene, OR. You were right, Heidi. NO Little Libraries to be seen.|
|You must go to VooDoo. That's all.|
|Another great Bookstore: TSUNAMI BOOKS IN EUGENE.|
|Best Oxymoron in a Used Bookstore Ever. Tsunami.|
|We walked through many, many enchanted forests--especially in Oregon--and Tim humored me. Over and Over.|
|So I was originally going to do this amazing integrative performance, in which I read and Jackie and Jason Cowsill performed their music--but it fell through. Jackie and I are great friends, and she's also been instrumental in |
everything--from the design of the cover to the audiobook, to conducting outreach and promo. So, of course, we stopped by their home in Eugene. And I love them to pieces.
|We stopped here.|
|This is a restaurant in Newport, Oregon. |
We didn't eat here, but it has a great name.
|We did eat a few free breakfasts, though. BOOK TOUR ADVICE: |
Stay in hotels with free breakfasts. Do not go too low-budget on hotels, lest you get suicidal.
|This was at our hotel in Lincoln City. It was my favorite hotel, the Coho. Man, what a view!|
|This is Bob's Beach Books in Lincoln City! They bought my book to put on their shelves! BOOK TOUR ADVICE: Stop in at all the good bookstores and talk to people. That's where the readers are, and people will get you. I liked this one a lot.|
|Our friends' dog. We met a lot of good dogs.|
|San Francisco Hotspot!|
|So we actually saw this, I think, at Left Bank Books in Seattle, but . . .|
|Then, we saw it on a car in the Redwoods . . .|
|So I gave them a book.|
|Thank you, Tim. I'll get a job now.|
|Last day at Pismo Beach. I'm reading this, and it's very good. BOOK TOUR ADVICE: read good books.|