Sunday, October 12, 2008

Sunny weekend days stink for book tours

So yesterday I headed for the Chester County Book & Music Company, in West Chester, PA. It was a picture-perfect day Saturday. Not a cloud in the sky. Maybe 72 degrees in the Philadelphia area. In other words, the worst possible conditions for expecting anyone to set foot inside a bookstore. I get there early, and I'm automatically freaking out. No one is going to come, I figure. Then I start to wonder: what will I say on the blog? Will I admit that nobody showed up? After a great deal of moral wrestling, I decided that I would lie like a rug. Maybe a freak storm will hit in the next few minutes, and people will get this incredible urge to go book shopping, I thought to myself. The appointed afternoon hour finally arrived. I walked into the bookstore, and one guy was sitting at a chair, ready to listen to my reading. Thea, the extremely nice woman who organized my appearance, apologized to me about the kids raising money for charity outside. "They're selling gas cards," she said. Of all days." I acted insulted. "Well, I think I'm going to take my big crowd here and leave," I said. She laughed. The guy had brought a buddy with him, and the two are grease-heads, so we talked about our cars, and our oil sources, and stuff. We also talked a lot about the different stops I made during my trip, to the Wal-Mart, and the offices of Google, and to Fort Knox. I think I have to do a better job of explaining that the road trip was really a vehicle--for lack of a better term--for getting across a larger point about sustainability. Anyway, as I was speaking to them, other people slowly started to filter in, and listen to the discussion, and add their two cents, and buy the book. So the stop ended up going pretty well. Hopefully the Chester County Bookstore folks were pleased, considering that it was the most glorious day of the year outside. Today I'm speaking at the Odyssey Bookshop in South Hadley, MA. It's supposed to be perfect autumn weather in Western Massachusetts, ideal for gawking at the changing leaves. I'm hoping for a monsoon.