TAoD tour, a round dozen of days

On the last day of The Great The Art of Detection tour, I slept in until 7:30 in the morning, about two hours after I usually wake up. I convinced the hotel’e2’80’99s internet service that I was to be trusted with their electrons, checked my email, washed my hair and had breakfast, and sauntered out of the hotel at ten o’e2’80’99clock.

Then the drop-ins began, working my way through the east bay: Black Oak, Deisel, Dark Carnival, Barnes and Nobles on Shattuck and in Jack London Square, Borders in Emeryville, B&N in Walnut Creek. All of these stores sell my books, all of them have managers and staff who know what they’e2’80’99re doing (except maybe one, but let’e2’80’99s not talk about them because maybe it was just a bad day.) I signed, I shook hands, I gave them each a thank-you packet, and I managed to circle the Bay in time for a quick dinner and the evening event at Book Passage in Corte Madera, my last tour event’e2’80’94I have two more to come, in Half Moon Bay and Santa Cruz, but they’e2’80’99re not until next week.

So is there any point to this grueling ritual of the publishing world? Or is the writer merely undergoing a semi-masochistic experience designed by the publisher to teach her not to ask for more promotion?

A tour is exhausting and it is exhilarating. It’e2’80’99s your chance as a writer to meet the people who are the ultimate point of this entire year of effort, the readers. Audience questions point to where audience interest lies: if everyone were interested in the love life of the characters, then perhaps future books (or blogs) should address that. On the other hand, if they’e2’80’99re interested in research and the informative aspects of the novels, that may justify an emphasis there.

It also allows the writer to make contact with the bookseller, whether by doing an event or just dropping in to sign and chat. ‘e2’80’9cRead anything exciting lately?’e2’80’9d is a great opening line, as you take out your pen and the manager is standing there, too polite to go off and get back to work. Or, ‘e2’80’9cWhat’e2’80’99s the big book this summer?’e2’80’9d (The consensus? There doesn’e2’80’99t seem to be one this year, perhaps as a reaction against recent experience’e2’80’94everyone’e2’80’99s afraid to create another Dan Brown machine.)

But now I’e2’80’99m home, and yes, Vicki, home does look different’e2’80’94mostly because I had to fight my way in the front door because of the waist-high stack of cartons from the Mystery Bookstore in NY that, in a moment of weakness, I agreed that they could send me. When will I learn?

But the cat was pleased to see me, woke me up at 5:15 by staring at my nose purring loudly, at which point I shoved him in the direction of my knees and went back to sleep for five minutes, and came wide awake with an earthquake, the first in quite a while.

Homecoming is not always such an earthshaking event.

But thanks to all of you who came out to an event, who told me you read this blog, and who bought (or will buy) the book. You make it all a pleasure.

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  1. Anonymous on June 15, 2006 at 10:04 pm

    Your comment on your cat waking you up made me appreciate my cat, who, whatever else she does, does not wake me up. (Probably because she can do more mischief when I’m asleep, but still, it seems as if it might be a thoughtful gesture on her part.)

  2. Anonymous on June 16, 2006 at 12:42 am

    My own cat doesn’t wake me, either, but she has been known to leave me half of her breakfast, on the floor beside my chair. Sometimes I get the head … sometimes the tail. Iris Lady

  3. Vicki Larson on June 16, 2006 at 1:32 pm

    Do you suppose the cat was warning you about the earthquake? Awesome thought. But I think animals are supposed to be tuned to such events. I’m so glad you had a good tour and will return to your writing invigorated. We await your every word. I have read TAoD and – true to form – I enjoyed the Sherlock insertions the most. I enjoy the Martinelli series, but I LOVE the Russell ones. Why that is, I have no idea. But there you are.
    Have a great time wallowing in your own nest!

  4. riobonito on June 16, 2006 at 3:01 pm

    I’m glad you are safely home too. I love to hear about all your adventures and misadventures, ahhhh, no place like home, with kitties as alarm clocks. Let’s see the earth quake, that is one thing I don’t miss about living there. After the Loma Prieta we slept in our clothes for a few nights, for those of you that don’t understand, you don’t want to be out in the street in your ‘night clothes’ heaven forbid! Thanks for keeping us updated Laurie~

  5. Anonymous on June 17, 2006 at 10:17 pm

    Dear Ms King: I was looking on your website for any mention of why the UK publication of _TAoD_ is so much later than the original date given. I think the original date on Amazon was 30/5/06, and it’s now changed to 20/8/06. I’ve just given in and ordered an American copy – shame as the UK cover looks rather good. But it would be interesting to know why the delay. Many thanks.

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