Sunday, October 24, 2010
The Leg Lady Flies Again!
It was a big week of traveling for me. I went to New Hampshire and Missouri via Arizona and South Carolina. The grind of traveling is always exhausting, but the school visits and the hosts were great on this trip, and that more than makes up for the gruel of getting there. Although this traveling did remind me of what I’m in for come January when Random House sends me on a two-week book tour for The Running Dream. I have a preliminary list of the main cities I’ll be visiting. Ready? Atlanta, Chicago, St. Louis, Seattle, and San Francisco. Any near you? I hope so! Book tour is tough, because you never really unpack. And with air travel being what it is you don’t want to risk getting separated from your luggage, which means you limit yourself to carry-on, which means you’re really sick of what you’re wearing by the time your two weeks is up. That said, if you’re an author lucky enough to have a publisher willing to invest in a book tour for your book, you don’t complain. You say thank you and pack. Authors don’t get paid for touring, by the way. I have some book author friends who were envious (in a very friendly way) that I’d been on tour regularly…until I explained to them that it was like doing two weeks straight of school visits and coming home empty handed. They were shocked. I was happy I could make them feel better. But it’s true—touring’s tough. The thing that makes it worthwhile is meeting people. Especially the ones who’ve collected your books over the years. Sometimes they appear at signings with a grocery sack of books that are read to shreds. Sometimes they have the first printing safely wrapped in a plastic cover. Sometimes they just want to touch me, which is so cute. Well, when it’s a young girl reader, anyway. So I’m psyching myself up for the good parts of tour, and reminding myself that it’s always an adventure. I have some seriously unbelievable stories from being on the road. Some are people-based, but a lot are just happenstance. I used to wonder, why does this stuff happen to me? And my publicist would apologize and panic at the thought of my being locked out on the roof of a building for an hour, but the question really is, who took the wrong turn to get on the roof in the first place? That would be me. And other authors don’t seem to get lost while out jogging, or dropped off at the wrong place, or have curtain rods smash down on them, or have booksellers douse them in catsup. It’s just me. So it must be me. Even when it’s not, somehow I think it still must be. Which (for whatever random reason) reminds me that it would be awesome to bring a prosthetic leg with me on tour. But I can’t see fitting it in a carry-on suitcase. And I can’t see carrying it on, either. But wait--if I wore pants (which of course I would) maybe no one would dare ask me what I was doing boarding a plane with my carry-on suitcase (of proper dimensions) and a computer bag (to be stowed under my seat), and my lunch bag (just a little paper Starbucks bag with handles, containing randomly squirreled away emergency snacks and hand sanitizer), and a big ol’ bulky fake leg. They’d probably just think, Wow…I guess she can’t exactly check her leg…what else is she supposed to do with it? As insurance, I could wear a shirt that says, LEG STORY $20 and see if anyone dares ask why I’m shoving a fake leg on top of their coat and hand luggage in the overhead storage compartment. Instead of forking over $20, they’d probably just look at me sympathetically and offer me their aisle seat. Okay! This might not be so bad! I am definitely psyching myself up for tour. Watch out, Friendly Skies, the Leg Lady’s coming on board.