Well, writing these detailed, not to say boringly endless, accounts of my book tours has been almost as exhausting as the trips themselves! But we’ve finally reached the very last installment of my reports, Monday, October 20. You might guess I’d spend my last day in New York packing and relaxing, but then you wouldn’t have been paying attention to my self-imposed schedule. Thank heavens I never had a real job as a lawyer or something. I’d have been one scary workaholic in my constant quest to do the job right.
That said, I began my morning with another gloriously relaxing brisk walk with my sister, this time up the west side of Manhattan along the river to somewhere in the 70’s. Then we walked back towards 5th Avenue and caught a cab back to the West Village for breakfast at another neighborhood bistro, Morandi, which was owned by the same people who ran Balthazar. Again the ambiance was golden Europe, this time with an Italian flavor. I had a hearty breakfast of roasted butternut squash with onions, spinach and poached eggs, washed down with a delicious café au lait. I wanted to take pictures of the charming dining room, but again my sister lectured me on invading privacy. Guess it’s a New York thing!
Fortified for more walking, I grabbed a few copies of Amorous Woman and my press kits for one final bit of book promoting business. First we walked over to St. Mark’s Bookshop, near all of those lovely Japanese restaurants. Approaching book stores to sell my novel has been one of the most challenging (and humiliating) parts of my activities, but I have to say that the people at St. Mark’s were cordial and professional and played no games. The small press book buyer ordered two copies of my book immediately on the basis of my pitch, and I left smiling and wondering why New Yorker’s have the reputation of being unfriendly. It certainly didn’t seem so on this trip.
Then we ambled up to the Museum of Sex, where a friendly young woman happily accepted a free copy of Amorous Woman, the second I’d given the institution, but I never heard back from them. I hope she—or someone—enjoyed it.
Last, we stopped by the Pleasure Chest in the West Village, a store that stays happily in the black from the bus loads of ladies on “Sex and the City” tours who swoop in to buy rabbits for themselves and their girlfriends back home. The owner told my sister that this one sex toy is totally responsible for his profits. The young woman at the counter was very cool about letting me leave a stack of my bookmarks at the entrance and mentioned that she’d just won a literary contest herself. We bonded over the writing life, I bought a small bag of penis candy for my man back home as a souvenir, and then it was time to pack and head off to the airport via A train.
My brother-in-law brought me a going-away bag from Batch with a dark chocolate cupcake filled with salted caramel, which certainly helped pass the time as I waited for my flight.
I felt tired, but happy with my New York visit. It had gone better than I’d ever dreamed—granted I’m a “have low expectations and the surprises will be good” kind of person. Looking back over my book tours now, I am still incredibly grateful to everyone who helped with the events and took their time to meet me. I'm also proud of myself for making the effort on behalf of my baby book, although sometimes I can't quite believe I did all of this myself. But no one else was going to do it for her!
I really did feel like a new parent who was trying to figure out how to take care of this mysterious, needy little thing—you know, like that scene in Eraserhead. There were times when I felt like a a fraud, as someone unworthy to take my book on tour, but with the support and encouragement of so many friends, I kept going. I sold some books, although not nearly enough to finance the trip, but what I really earned was a sense of self-worth, a feeling that my writing could be taken seriously by its harshest critic—myself.
So, in closing, I want thank everyone who came along with me. I’ve enjoyed sharing the trials of a newbie novelist with you and wish you many fine adventures in your writing life, too!
Donna, I find it really so generous of you to relate in detail your book promotion experiences like this. Not only are they lovely and entertaining to read, but they seem very humanizing to the promotional process, and while I am not a novelist and have not promoted a book, it seems to me it would be so nice for those who have to see such a sincere and informational account as you have offered. Thank you so much.
And congratulations. :)
Donna, this was a fine conclusion to your wonderful book tour tour. ;-)
Thank you for taking us along with you.
umm, and that cupcake sounds like something I could really go right about now!
Thanks for coming along with me on my looong journey. Travel is always more fun with congenial company!
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