Leaving the Heathman Hotel was tougher than expected. Not because I was sad to go, but because they somehow had no record of me staying there, making it a bit difficult to check out.
That never got fully straightened out, even though I had plenty of time, because the valet had apparently parked my car in Amsterdam--that's about how long it took to find.
Since I was driving to Seattle, and had a noon signing, I didn't find any of this amusing.
When I finally did get my car back, I broke the land speed record for Chevy Malibus (almost 83mph) and made it to the Seattle Mystery Bookshop with twenty minutes to spare.
There was a big crowd---all there for Jasper Fforde, who was signing with me. I pitched my books to the folks waiting in Jasper's long line and managed to sell quite a few. I also had some actual fans come to see me, which is always nice.
Jasper was a pleasant enough guy, English, polite and quick with the quip. I bought a copy of his latest book. He didn't return the favor.
TOUR TIP #17---When doing a signing with another author, buy their book. This not only supports the bookseller, but your fellow authors.
I wound up signing 30 books, then sticking around and handselling the remainder of my paperbacks before hitting the drive-by trail:
Barnes & Noble on Pine, signed 4 hardcovers, 2 paperbacks.
Borders on 4th, signed 3 hardcovers---they couldn't find my paperbacks (stripped?)
B. Dalton in Factoria Square didn't have any books at all. I introduced myself to the employees and made sure they ordered some (should have phoned first.)
Waldenbooks on Pine, closed a few months ago (phone first.)
Borders in Bellevue, closed last month (dammit dummy, start phoning first!)
Barnes & Noble in Bellevue, 4 hardcovers, 4 paperbacks.
Borders in Redmond, 5 hardcovers, 5 paperbacks.
Barnes & Noble in Woodinville, 4 hardcovers, 3 paperbacks.
Barnes & Noble in Federal Way, signed 3 hardcovers, 4 paperbacks.
Borders in Federal Way, signed 2 hardcovers, 3 paperbacks.
Since my brother lives in Seattle, I decided to stay with him and save the publisher some cash.
TOUR TIP # 18---Try to alleviate some of the publisher's touring expense when you can. I pay for my own food, extra gas, and never charge anything to the hotel rooms.
Apparently, I alleviated more cost than I thought. My publicist emailed, worried because i hadn't checked into the Heathman last night. This told me three things:
1. Your publisher is always watching you while you're touring.
2. My publisher seems to actually care about me.
3. The Heathman is run by a group of trained chimps.
TOUR STATS: I've signed 853 books at 96 bookstores, and have signed and handed out 700 coasters.
The GPS unit I purchased, a Garmin c330, is far superior to the rentalunits I've had. This thing comes prelaoded with 5 million business addresses, and every map in the US. So when I'm driving, I can type in "Borders" and it lists them all within a hundred miles. This is much easier.
Next tour I'll do a lot more driving, hitting stores along the way, and much less air travel, which is expensive, exhausting, and a time waster. Had I driven this entire tour, it would have taken perhaps three more days, but I would have been able to visit 50 more stores. A much better bang for the buck.
Only four more stores to reach the exhaulted 100. We'll see what happens...