I was perusing the fall author appearance schedule at the 5th Avenue and Union Square Barnes & Nobel. I like getting signed first editions. I have shelves full of them. Sara Bareilles is coming in October and I had absolutely no idea who she was so I clicked on the More Information link. To wit:
- Wristband event
- No memorabilia
- No posed photography
- Two books per person limit
- Purchases starting 9:00AM the day of the event and join the signing line outside the front of the store.
Sara Bareilles will only be signing her new title Sounds Like Me. Event guidelines are subject to change. Please follow instructions given by the events team. In advance, the courtesy of your cooperation is appreciated.
Please follow instructions. In other words, to borrow a famous New York Daily News headline:
Sara Bareilles To Fans: DROP DEAD
Carrie Brownstein will also hit the road this fall to shill her memoir. I’ll bet it’s thrilling. A New York Times fluff piece said:
…she’s relieved that book tours are generally not as extensive as music tours. “As much as I wanted to have a stop in Indianapolis.”
Carrie Brownstein To Indianapolis: DROP DEAD
Are book tours really so arduous? Is meeting your readers such sublime torture? Don’t these frail, delicate, l’artistes realize they’ve won the lottery? I can’t stand it when people turn unimaginable success into a crushing burden.
I’ve been to PLENTY of author meet-and-greets and, for the most part, they’ve been satisfying experiences. Michael Chabon is always engaging. Sherman Alexie is the best reader out there. At one reading, I asked Nick Hornby if I could publish one of his essays in a chapbook and without blinking, he said yes. Most authors seem genuinely appreciative of their audience. But some are tormented by us.
I went to a David Foster Wallace reading. I brought three older titles with me that I wanted him to sign. When I got to the table, he sat there with his arms crossed, looking straight ahead. Not at me. The Barnes & Nobel rep said, “Mr. Wallace will only sign one old book for every new book purchased.” He looked mortified saying it.
I felt stupid and small. I tucked my tail between my legs, got out of line, bought three more new books and went to the back of the line. He then, grudgingly, signed the old titles. In hindsight, what I should have done, was chuck the new book at his stupid bandanna and told him to jam it up his ass. Christ. He’s lucky to HAVE old titles.
Look, I know getting a book autographed is trite. I’ve meditated on it and I can’t figure out its appeal. But it’s something I like to do. It’s an innocent hobby and Dear Dead David made me feel ashamed for it. He took that small joy away from me. It would’ve cost him NOTHING to just sign the fucking books and send me on my merry way.
If I’m ever lucky enough to be published and I’m sent on an author tour, here’s what you can expect from me:
- A detailed, passionate inscription thanking you for reading my book.
- A vigorous handshake. I might yank your arm out of its socket.
- Two books per person limit? Feh. How many can you carry?
- An invitation. Can I buy you a drink? Are you hungry?
- Do your feet hurt? Can I give you a foot rub?
To all the tortured souls with impending book tours this fall, especially Carrie Brownstein and Sara Bareilles (I’m still not sure who she is), that’s how it’s done, you ingrates.
I’m on a roll. What’s my other favorite red button issue? Oh, yeah.
Awwwww…C’MON PEOPLE! SERIOUSLY?! Is this what we’ve come to? Are we, as a society, so addicted to mobile phones that we can’t even put the damn things down long enough to take a piss? Man, are we soft. China is going to dink our milkshake. The phone did not, despite my pleadings and offerings to the various Gods and Goddesses, slip out of his hand, drop onto the urinal cake and get pissed on.
Oh, yes I did, take that picture.
Summer is over and these two are none too happy about it.
It was a good season. Lots of sun and beach time. If this is global warming, I’ll have some more, please.
Summer is over for my little translucent, black-eyed friend, too.