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.


Anonymous said...

Too bad you don't get to make a circuit in the west. Colorado is great for running in! I will definitely read The Running Dream when it comes out, though. Good luck on you travels!

sammy4ever said...

OH! i don't live IN san fran, i live near it. like 20 min away near it.
"Book tour is tough, because you never really unpack."
I never unpack after trips or vacations. it all ends up in this clump in a bag somewhere on my bedroom floor, it's pathetic. :/

Pooja Dimba said...

I live like half an hour away from San Fransisco. I wish I can come.
I can't wait to read The Running Dream!
Great post!

quintessajazz said...

I live in New Mexico ... I'm totally out of luck here, Wendelin!

Anyway, I can't wait to read the Running Dream, or Night of Skulls (I hope it comes out right around October -- my birthday's October 2nd!)

Happy Reading, and have a great tour. I hope it's not too tiring!

Stefunny said...

WENDELIN! :D I crafted a special video for you. I hope you eat it. Here's the link:

Anonymous said...

"Sometimes, they just want to touch me, which is cute.
Well, when its a young girl reader, anyway."

When I read that, I literally spent two minutes with my face in my hands laughing. MLIA.

Anyway, I live like twenty five minutes from Chicago. This is why it sucks to live in the Chicago "suburbs" and not the actual city, because then everyone goes to the city and the poor suburban area is sitting around like, What? Wendelin Van Draanen visited around here? WHEN? And why didnt *I* know?

Thats allll. :)

Anonymous said...

Haha I love the leg thing! It sounds like something I would do :) I am so totally going to come see you in Chicago, even though I live in Wisconsin (go cows! and cheese!) And I'll be the one with the stack of all your books :) The Running Dream sounds really good and I love the title! And I can't what for Band of Skulls, so write write write!

Optimistic4ever said...

You always make me laugh! um, one question. What do I call you? Because Wendelin seems to strange but Mrs. Van Draanen doesnt sound right either. So what do I call you? Anyways, how did I do on the zombie thing last week? FAKE LEGZ!!!!

Alexa said...

I am going to read Running Dream. It sounds really good, and of course since you wrote it it will probably be awesomely great! I wonder if I can get somebody to take me to Chicago...I'll see! That's so cool, that idea about the shirt and the leg, $20 LEG STORY :D, I bet nobody would ask then!

Wild About Words said...

Only you can make something so annoying sound so funny.
Good luck on your touring adventures.
Maybe you sell oodles and oodles of books.

bookworm said...

*Wendelin:* I don't know if this is a lot to ask, but can you update your random house sammy keyes page? I check it when I check this blog (Duh) but I'd love to see a new picture or something for the new SK fans (of course, anyone who's read SK for the first time, even, is automatically hooked.) Thanks!

bookworm said...

Dang it, the italics didn't come out. :(

Elizabeth said...

"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 (-ouch!), or have booksellers douse them in catsup." I MUST hear that story... XD lol please :). And honestly, if you don't wear pants and charge for your awesome Leg Story(you. are. brilliant!), wear shorts and keep your eyes darting back and forth suspiciously and see if someone accuses you of STEALING the sucker from someone else. That would be hilarious :D. Whatever you do, carrying around such an interesting prop will likely give you the opportunity to tell more people about your book, and is definitely memorable! Good luck on the tour! I won't be able to attend...(NONE of those stops are near me! WWWHHHYYY?!?! Sorry, calming down again), wish I could though! (and I commented on the post before last, by the way, explaining my temporary disappearance). I didn't realize how brutal book tours were... no wonder I rarely hear about them! I hope that you have an amazing time with no... incidents :D.

Mark Parsons said...

Shh...! Wendelin is sitting right next to me, and she doesn't know I'm posting. (I'm supposed to be working on another project.) However, I just wanted to let you know that she's finishing up "Night of Skulls". And she's CRYING! (That's not a bad thing, in this context. That's a very good sign...)

So don't tell her I told you. (Tee hee...)


Anonymous said...

Oh my god,
That just made my day.
Like seriously.
Oh my god. c:

Jinnyd said...

Tears of joy? You could cut the tension with a knife! Can't wait to read Wedding Crasher, Night of Skulls, and watch The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. (DECEMBER 10 !!!!!!!!!)

Please tell us the catsup story! :-) And good luck on your book tour! And however did you end up on that roof?

Wendelin Van Draanen said...

Well that dirty little tattletaling husband of mine.

Not joy, I'm just ridiculously emotional. Good thing he wasn't here today when I wrote the last paragraph. Flood city.


So relieved to be out of the graveyard...but tomorrow I'm going for reals at night with a bunch of teens. H-hm. Research. After all, I still need to rewrite Night of Skulls a few times and I might pick up some cool scary details!

TOUR NOTE: just because the city listed is, say, San Francisco, that doesn't mean I won't be in a nearby town / city. I know I'm scheduled for Hicklebee's in San Jose, and in the Chicago area Anderson's Bookshop in Naperville. It's a couple of months away yet, so I'll update you when I know more.

Thanks, everyone, for your comments. I'll see you Sunday (Halloween, yay!).

PS Steffuny, your video is hilarious! Funny girl :-)

PPS O4E: Definitely call me Wendelin

Bookworm: Yeah, I know. But I'm not in control of the site --RH is. I'm hoping it'll get updated before tour.

PPPS: The Catsup Story: Only Lillian "Wild Ride" Penchansky knows the full story and for her sake I'm not going to share it. But it is quite a story.

PPPPS: Obviously this comment structure was well thought out. :-)

Eleanor said...

Can't you come to SLO????I mean it is Santa Luisa!!! You should TOTALLY come To San Luis!!! I would LOOOOOOOVE to get more of my books signed by you!!!! COME TO SAN LUIS OBISPO CALIFORNIA!!!! Please????
Hahahahaha bring a fake leg.... Hhaahahahahahahahahahaaaaa

xzx583 said...

I know the tours are hard, but it would be great if you could come th Rhode Island, or Boston, or even New York *sigh*