Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Book Tours

Book tours are highly overrated. Yeah, you get to meet folks like Dana Owens, aka Queen Latifah---after standing in long lines to get their autographs when you're at the same event. But when it's your turn to be on the other side of the table, the lines are a lot shorter. Okay, there are no lines. And the stress level is a lot higher. I don't know how on earth some authors have time to do these blogs daily or weekly. I barely get to eat daily. This month alone I've been to D.C. twice, Maryland, Newark, New York, Dallas and I think I went home one night, but that could have been a dream. In Owings Mills, MD I sold so many books I had to go get some more from the trunk of the rental car. Then, there was the book store in Baltimore where I talked to fifty people and sold six books in two of the longest hours of my life. The manager said it was only five, but I counted. It was six.
My ankles swell from standing for hours, passing out book marks that people throw on the ground as soon as they're out of my view. And my hearing is permanently damaged from the fluctuating cabin pressure in "da plane, da plane!" I'm on my third set of luggage. Suitcases don't like books it seems.
But when the coveted Essence Bestseller list came out at the beginning of May, I was on it. Self-published, unknown, exhausted me right there on the same page with Alice Walker, Walter Mosley, and Bebe Moore Campbell. At #6, I didn't quite make the printed version of the magazine which stops at five, but I was on the online list of the top ten.
Maybe it's a fluke, I tell myself. If all these people are buying my book, why am I standing in the hall at the mall in front of a bookstore begging someone, anyone to listen to a brief synopsis of my book? I'll tell you why. I write because I breathe and I breathe because I eat. If I don't eat, I can't write, and if I don't sell all those books in my garage, I can't buy food. It's a vicious cycle. But I'm chasing an elusive dream and I can't run fast...if I don't eat. I love being a writer, fat ankles and all.