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Tales from a Book Tour

I feel badly, the owner said. We had Tony LaRussa (the ex-manager of the St. Louis Cardinals) here last Saturday and the line went out the door, down the stairs, and out into the parking lot.

Now I felt even worse.

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A few weeks later I was honored to get invited to a reading in Seattle prior to a Mariners game it was to kick-off an event to honor Negro League players. It sounded like a good deal, although I was a little suspicious upon learning that my reading would be held at a sports bar next to Safeco Field. When I showed up and inquired where the room was that I'd be speaking in, I was informed that there was no such room. I ended up speaking in a space smaller than my living room, surrounded by a half-dozen pulsating big screen tvs and a swarm of Mariners fans getting their buzz on before the game. As I was talking, fans wearing Ken Griffey Jr. jerseys wandered right in front of me, close enough to touch; they'd shoot a what-the-fuck-is-this-guy-doing-here glance in my direction, and then walk away. I was pretty sure John Updike never spoke in a rowdy sports bar.

Although the reviews, scarce as they are these days, have been off-the-charts positive, I've been disappointed with the sales numbers. Part of it is the sad state of the publishing world these days; part of it the struggle for publicity; and another part of it is the bizarre taste of todays readers. This was hammered home to me the other day when I read that more than 20,000 people signed a petition protesting the casting of Dakota Johnson and Charlie Hunnam as the lead characters in the film adaptation of Fifty Shades of Grey. At the rate my book is selling, Syria will be our 51st state before I sell 20,000 copies.

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Posted in Photograph Post Date 11/14/2017


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