Tuesday, July 04, 2006

The Tour: Day 1, 2, and 3

The past few days have been spent in Phoenix for Thrillerfest. It was a great convention, but I missed much of it, having signed at 25 stores in the area.

At The Poisoned Pen I signed 80 hardcover (hc) copies of RUSTY NAIL, and five BLOODY MARY paperbacks (pb). If you live in or near Phoenix, please visit the Phoenix or Scottsdale Poisoned Pen stores for your Rusty Nail needs.

I did most of the following drop-ins with fellow scribe Barry Eisler, so if you're looking for signed copies of my books you'll likely find his available as well:

BN on 4847 East Ray, Phoenix - 7 pb

Borders 870 54th, Chandler - 4 pb

BN 311 W. Chandler Blvd, Chandler - 6 pb

Changing Hands 6428 S. McClintock, Tempe - 5 pb

Borders 1361 S. Alma, Mesa - 2 pb

Waldenbooks 1445 W. Southern, Mesa - 9 pb

Borders 699 South Mill, Tempe - 3 pb

Borders Biltmore Fashion Par, Phoenix - 9 pb (sold 1)

Bookstar 2073 E. Camelback, Phoenix - 4 pb (sold 1)

Borders 4555 E. Cactus, Phoenix - 5 pb (sold 1)

BN 21001 N. Tatum, Phoenix - 4 pb

Borders 700 E. Mayo, Phoenix - 4 pb

BN 7030 E. Greenway Parkway - 2 pb (sold 1)

BN 10500 N. 90th. Scottsdale - 7 pb

Bookstar 8919 E. Indian Bend - 6 pb

Borders 7135 E. Camelback, Scottsdale - 7 pb

Brentanos 7014 E. Camelback, Scottsdale - 5 pb (sold 2)

Waldenbooks 1445 W. Southern, Mesa - 5 pb

Waldenbooks 9631 N. Metro Parkway, Phoenix - 4 pb

Waldenbooks 302 East Bell, Phoenix - 7 pb

Borders 6555 E. Southern, Mesa - 5 pb (sold 1)

Borders Skyway Harbor Airport, Terminal 4 - 7 pb

Mysterious Galaxy (at the convention) 15 hc (sold out)

The Well Red Coyote 3190 W. Highway 89A, Sedona (at the convention) 7 pb (sold 5)

I also signed copies of THRILLER at a Walmart in Phoenix, but that doesn't count because they didn't have copies of my books.

Incidentally, I've been getting some good reviews for EPITAPH, my Phin Troutt story in the Thriller antho, and so has one of my favorite authors, F. Paul Wilson, who has a Repairman Jack story in the same book. I think this is wonderfully ironic--I read the first Repairman Jack book (The Tomb) when I was 14 years old and loved it. Repairman Jack is so named because he 'fixes' peoples problems. I fell in love with the character.

Eight years later, I wrote my first novel, an unpublished hardboiled tale called DEAD ON MY FEET. My protagonist was Phineas Troutt, a Chicago tough guy dying of cancer. Because of his situation, he'll take any dirty job for cash, which he then blows on drugs and hookers to help diffuse the pain of his lingering death. Phin calls himself a 'problem solver' which is a subtle homage (aka rip-off) of Paul's Repairman Jack character.

I never sold DOMY (publishers didn't think I could continue a series with a dying hero) but Phin pops up in my Jack Daniels series and plays major roles in WHISKEY SOUR and RUSTY NAIL. Phin has also been in Ellery Queen a few times.

I think its pretty damn cool that Phin now shares a cover with his literary inspiration, Repairman Jack. It gives me a fuzzy, warm feeling.

Thrillerfest recaps are being done on other blogs, so I won't go into any more detail other than to say it was a resounding success, I touched base with hundreds of authors and fans, and owe a lot of people beer.

Before leaving for Thrillerfest, I signed 15 copies of RUSTY NAIL at the Woodfield Mall Waldenbooks in Schaumburg. I also signed about 20 copies each of Bloody Mary and Whiskey Sour, hardcovers and paperbacks, so if you're in Illinois and need an autographed book of mine, that's the place to go until I return in September.

The BN in Schaumburg on Golf Road, and the Borders in Schaumburg on Golf Road, each have 30 signed copies of Bloody Mary.

Totals so far:

28 bookstores visited
339 books signed
472 bookstores to go

Which brings us to the driving protion of the Rusty Nail 500, which kicks off tomorrow in Indiana.

How does one prepare for a 60 day road trip? What am I bringing along?

Here's the lowdown:
  • A GPS to help navigate
  • A laptop to keep up with my blog and email
  • A radar detector
  • 480 copies of RUSTY NAIL
  • 15,000 drink coasters
  • 5000 business cards
  • 500 copies of Crimespree Magazine
  • 500 flyers
  • 500 Audiobook postcards
  • A lined notebook
  • The itinerary
  • Clothes, a toothbrush, and deodorant

While the GPS, laptop, and radar detector are obvious, the other items require some explanation.

My publisher generously donated 500 copies of the new hardcover to give to bookstores. I used 20 of them in Phoenix, to great success. After I sign stock at a store, I give the most enthusiastic employee a signed copy of the new book. Sometimes this is the manager, or CRM, but often it is the person who stocks the mysteries, or really loves to read, or got really excited that I showed up.

That person also gets a special Bleak House edition of Crime Spree, which has info about my upcoming antho THESE GUNS FOR HIRE (which also features a new Phin Troutt story), a flyer and interview left over from my library mailing with Julia Spencer-Fleming, and a postcard about my audiobooks.

Each book I sign gets a business card placed inside, showing the covers of the other books in my series.

Each person I meet in the store (fans and employees) gets a signed drink coaster. I don't spend more than 15-20 minutes in a store, but if fans are around I'll try to sell a book or two, which worked several times in Phoenix.

The notebook is what I call the deal sealer. I tell all the booksellers I meet that I love to thank people in the acknowledgements section of my books, and if they sell the heck out my my series and order more, I'll thank them in DIRTY MARTINI coming next year. They write down their names, I devote a few pages in the new book to thanking them, and we all win.

From this point on, I'll do daily updates whenever possible. If you've emailed me because you'd like to meet me or help out, I'll answer your email sometime today.

Now let's get this party started...