I'm A Publicatin' Fool
We had a great experience this week. In rain--Illinois is getting Seattle weather...looks like 14 days of rain around here--we had to drive down to Lebanon, Indiana to the Hachette warehouse to sign hardcovers of Into the Beautiful North. This is a treat reserved for few authors, and I was thrilled to get into that club. I was not thrilled to get up at 5:00, though. Nor to hit the road by 6:00 and toddle off in weather and Chicagoland traffic. But we hit it and quit it, in the timeless words of George Cilnton and P-Funk. We booked on down toward Indiana and coffeed-up at a Starbucks, then promptly sped past the I-65 turnoff toward Indianapolis.
(These are stacks of the new book! Pretty!)

So, here's what you have to do--you have to go to a shipping warehouse for a major publisher. If you love books and also movies like Star Trek--DUUUUDE. First of all, it's a thing of wonder, that building. We were placed aboard a golf cart, and we drove through the vastness of stacks and forklifts and ramps and chutes and pallets and books, books, books, books. The whole building is intelligent, and spends the day talking to itself via computers. A muttering, fussy building the size of the Mexican town in my novel! (OK, maybe not Trek. Maybe it's more like a mid-60s James Bond movie--where ninjas will break through the roof and try to blow up Blofeld and SMERSH.)

We went to a workroom at the far end of the maze, where two huge cart-loaded mountains of books awaited me. 2,000 copies. It was funny to see how this operation worked: we had four people unloading the carts and stacking books on the table; one person sat next to me, opening the books and putting the cover flap on the title page and passing the books to me; a women names Jesusa beside me taking the books and pulling the flap out; a woman named Mickie taking the books from jesusa and putting them in boxes. It was a clatch! Poor Cinderella, watched. And watched. And watched--I signed for five hours. (C edits to add: She wiped the sweat from my brow, took pictures and made wry quips)

Afterwards, we posed for pix in front of the pile--looking like hunters that had just brought down an elephant. I signed books for the employees. Then our hosts took us through the entire building to see how these books get from the publisher to you. It was astonishing.

They took me to a room where every Little, Brown first edition ever published is stored. Yes, Hawthorne. Yes, Louisa May Alcott. Did I want to steal? Ohhhh yeah. I got to sign the wall where some of the authors write their names. Michael Connelly, Preston & Child, my ol' compadre Sherman Alexie. The folks there asked for a cartoon, so I drew one on the wall. Just like high school. Except in high school, I was drawing sheep on bosoms and bellies. A wonderful job, if you can get it.

Three hours down; five hours there; three hours back. A marathon. I learned how cool twitter really is on the drive, by the way. I twitted about the purple trees along I-65, and somebody twitted me back with the botanical info about the trees!

Whew. My hand was sore. But the book is gorgeous. I can't attest to what's written inside the book, mind you. I did my best. What else can you do? So far, the response has been awesome--except Kirkus Review, who said you expect more of me than a lame-ass book like this. I reject that. But you will be the judges.
(This is me with the awesome Hachette crew of Doug, Alicia, and Kim. Thanks guys!)

Book tour is starting soon. We'll kick off in Kankakee, Illinois. (If you've read the book, or if you're going to read the book, you'll know why.) Then here, at Anderson's Books in Naperville. Then, all hell breaks loose. I'll try to keep you updated here. But if you want to come along, be with us on the road, in the readings, in the radio station studios, in the hotels, you're just going to have to bite the bullet and join us on twitter.


AS always, wish you were here.

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