Monthly Archives: October 2011
I’m nearing the end of a round of appearances associated with my book. (That presumably will leave me a bit more time for blogging. ) The crowds have not always been large, but it has been gratifying nonetheless. In some cases, people have driven at least an hour, often at night, and in one case, very cold, rainy, windy weather. I recalled a time, a year before, when I decided not to venture out when it involved an hour’s drive in that kind of weather to hear another author who I did not personally know.
One of the nice things about these experiences was getting to meet more people who had known Elly Peterson: the daughter of her best friend in Charlotte, Michigan, the woman who urged her to interview for a job at the state Republican Party headquarters back in 1957; the daughter of the housekeeper who helped keep her home ship-shape when she was living and working in another city; men who had called her “Mother”; men who had worked on the staff of Gov. George Romney. And, in some cases, I got to see persons who I had interviewed for my book, and in the case of some phone interviews, meet them face-to-face.
One special case occured on a cold, rainy night in Ann Arbor, when an elderly gentleman arrived early at the Graduate Library for my talk. I recognized him as Lawrence Lindemer, the former University of Michigan regent and former Michigan State Supreme Court justice. He was the man who first hired Elly Peterson to work for the state Republican Party and the person responsible for her nickname of “Mother.” He had lived in Florida when I interviewed him by phone for my book, but had returned to Michigan following the death of his second wife. He had spotted a little blurb about my appearance and come out to listen. I think he was surprised when I recognized him, but it made the evening special for both of us. The Michigan Daily was on hand to capture the occasion, with a good story and a nice photograph.
Those are the moments that make it all worthwhile.
I’m headed back to Michigan this week for two more appearances in connection with my book. This is what is euphemistically called a “book tour.”‘ Most of my friends think this is the glamorous part of a being a published author, but for most authors it is not. It is all part of the process of trying to get someone to buy your book, and the costs associated with doing so should provide a nice offset against any royalties that I will receive this year on my sales.
It could be worse. In the past I have done “book-signings,” where a bookstore tried to “deliver” an audience, and you sat in a chair for an hour or so and hoped that someone would wander by and want to purchase a signed copy. This time, I was grateful to be able to work with about a half-dozen organizations to plan events that produced audiences that were large enough to make it, in my mind if not my pocketbook, worth the effort.
In the end, however, it falls back on “word of mouth”–when someone reads your book, and is enthusiastic enough that they tell someone else, be it a friend, library, independent bookstore, or the rest of the population of amazon.com by posting an online review. That they recommend it to their book club. That they purchase it as a present for their grandchild.
I’ve often read articles about what NOT to say to persons who have just lost a close family member. Over the past few months, I’ve had some experience with comments from well-meaning friends, some of which caused a little twinge of pain. So herewith are some thoughts about useful comments, and some not so useful comments.
First in the Not-So-Useful Category:
“Joan has told me such good things about your book, and she’s going to pass on her copy to me when she is done.”
Glad that “Joan” was enthusiastic, but I would be happier if this person was purchasing her own copy. Certainly two readers are better than one, but sales are what will drive the ultimate print run.
“I just checked your book out of the library!”
Sure, I’m glad that the library has stocked it, but I would rather that it was discovered there by someone who wasn’t already a friend of mine.
At the same time, I recognize that $29.95 is a lot of money, particularly in these tough economic times.
As for the “useful” comnments, I’ve most appreciated those from people who admitted they were surprised to discover they actually liked my book. The aforementioned “Joan” wrote: “Who’d have thought I’d find someone so far from my usual circle of folks so fascinating?”
As I’ve said before, an author’s book is like a child, and no one will ever love it as much as she does.
P.S. Hit Number 63, 249 on the Amazon best-seller list today. Pleased to see that that’s about 40,000 slots ahead of Christine O’Donnell.