I got back from book tour a few days ago. Thanks to the release of Fallout 4 and a marathon day of radioactive looting and shooting super mutants in the face, I’m just now getting caught up with emails and blogging. I get a lot of emails. It is funny what happens when you don’t read any of them for three weeks.
The reviews for Son of the Black Sword are really positive. I’ve got to say that the fans are really seeming to like this one. It’s always hard to talk about the new book on tour, because most of the people in the audience haven’t read it yet, but everybody I spoke with loved it.
The numbers are still coming in, but right now it looks like Son of the Black Sword has had a great release. My guess is that it will be a Grimnoir sized release, not Monster Hunter sized. Don’t get me wrong, both are good, but Nemesis was ridiculous. Nemesis was pay off the mortgage twenty five years early numbers. This was a new genre for me, so I wasn’t sure how that was going to translate in sales, but looking good so far.
Where SotBS really shined was on Audible. The only thing that beat me in sci-fi and fantasy was the Martian (though as we’ve seen before, there is a big gap between properties with a new movie/TV tie and everybody else). I got the numbers for the release week on Audible, and damn… Really good.
I listened to the audiobook on various airplane rides and while driving from city to city. I finished it while driving around somewhere out west. Tim Gerrard Reynolds did a fantastic job. Even though I knew what was going to happen next, I still got sucked in.
Speaking of the SotBS audiobook, I’m really glad I brought it with me, because I could have subtitled this tour The Still Not a Real Author Tour: Larry Gets Stuck in Traffic. No wonder big city liberals hate cars. That’s because when you do drive it is a miserable experience, and all you do is park on the freeway. In Boston, you pay tolls in order to have the privilege of being stuck in traffic. Hell, your traffic is so bad it takes the shuttle forty five minutes to make it from the rental car drop off to the airport terminal. How the hell can you get stuck in traffic at the airport? That’s why you guys all want robot cars.
One fun thing about what I do, I get to try out a lot of rental cars… Pro tip. The Chrysler 200 is a death trap. It is an example of what happens when the government manages a car company. Lots of useless widgets, gadgets, and flashy buttons, with a giant rear view mirror that goes blocks 30% of your windshield for tall drivers. Oh, I’ve got a start button and shift with a pin wheel, but tall drivers can’t lower the seat enough to actually see anything on the right side of your car. Brilliant. If you are given one of these, give it back. Unless you really want to squish pedestrians.
The last couple of weeks have been really hectic. I was signing in a different city nearly every day. There were a few stops where I flew in, and only had enough time to pick up my luggage, rental car, and check into my hotel to shower, and then go to the night’s signing, only to get up the next morning and do it again.
It was great to meet so many fans, or see people again who I’d met on tour before. Of course since the entire Monster Hunter Nation is a bunch of comedians I was given lots of presents, and I now have more melon ballers than I know what to do with. Modern Manhood. Achieved.
I wasn’t the only author who had a good book signing during this tour. Part way through somebody asked if I’d sign Mike Kupari’s new novel. I was happy to.
I got so many presents and swag that by the end I was getting overweight charges on my luggage. Because most of my San Diego signing was military (and a surprising number of feds), I got a pile of coins from various units and ships. I love those.
I got hats, minis, books, bottle openers, fan art, and all sorts of weird stuff.
Most events they’ll have me in an area where I can shoot the bull for an hour, and then sign after. For the people who show up, they know I’m pretty enthusiastic about this stuff. We hang out, joke around, I tell everybody what is coming up (including some stuff I don’t talk about on the internet yet), and then I answer questions. Very few of my events ever finish in the expected time frame, and we end up closing down a lot of stores. You folks are just hard core like that.
I don’t know how many book store managers I had to try and explain the various inside jokes to, like why I had to keep drawing manatees in people’s books or members of the audience would randomly shout HOOOOOOON.
Basically my fans are amazing. I love you guys. I wouldn’t trade my fan base for anyone else’s. You’re just that hard core.
There were a few days where I had enough free time to squeeze in some fun. When I was in Minnesota I went and hung out with the JP Enterprises crew and toured their place. If you aren’t familiar with them, they make really super nice, high end, custom rifles. JP owns competition shooting for a reason.
I’ll be posting more stuff about JP Enterprises later. It was a pretty cool visit, and it looks like I’ll be doing a book signing at SHOT Show with them this January.
I am a food nut. I love food. So when I go on book tour I always eat really well. Whatever it is that the locals eat, I’m in. I only eat boring chain restaurant stuff when I’m too tired to drive somewhere else or that’s all that’s still open. I love seafood, but I live a thousand miles from the ocean six thousand feet about sea level, so when I’m on tour by the ocean, I’m stuffing myself with fish. Minnesota? African food. North east? Portuguese food. Yay! In Seattle, Michael Rothman took me to Ruth’s Chris where the steaks come from magic happy cows, who’ve lived care free lives, and their meat is extra tender because the cow gets daily full body massages, and virgins play soothing music to them on flutes. Basically, I love to eat well, and book tour is perfect for that. It helps that at character creation I got triple sixes in Constitution.
The only real hard spot this trip was when I got food poisoning my last night in the Boston area. After years of book tour adventure eating, my iron gut finally failed me. I’m pretty sure it was from a Boston Cream Pie. I got it for lunch, couldn’t finish it, and put it in a to go box. I left it in the rental car, and ended up staying at the signing far longer than expected. I should have thrown the pie away, but I thought, what the heck? It is probably still good. It wasn’t hot today… So I made a very bad decision and ate it when I got back to the hotel. It still tasted great, up until when it tried to kill me. I started getting violently ill about midnight. I had to get up at four the next morning to catch my flight to Seattle. I thought I was going to croak. I didn’t bother to sleep. Normally I get fatter on book tour, but not this year! This year I paid my stupid tax.
We averaged about 30-40 people at most of the stops. By far my smallest signing was in Cambridge, but it was on Halloween. San Diego and Phoenix were the biggest, with over fifty people each, and my home town signing was even bigger. But this does bring up a funny story that became this tour’s running gag for the fans, and the source of the official Still Not a Real Writer Tour name.
One stop was at Powell’s in Beaverton. It is a great store, and I had a great time with a good crowd. But I saw later on Twitter somebody had apparently seen me there, and taken to Twitter to talk about my pathetic showing, and how nobody was there at the lamest book signing ever, and hashtag something about how I was the saddest puppy of all.
That struck me as odd, since we had over forty people show up, which by most author’s reckonings is great, and we filled the signing area to the side. But then I realized what he’d probably seen (mistakenly thinking that a Puppy Kicker was honest and not just lying about me on Twitter, silly me). I’d gotten there almost an hour early, and had killed time just hanging out in the audience with the seven or eight people who’d shown up really early too. I figured that was what he’d seen, because by seven o’clock we had filled the chairs, and more people kept coming in the whole time. So being my usual diplomatic self, I responded and told him that the “big hand goes on the seven, doofus”. Luckily, some of the fans had taken pictures of the crowd too, and since you guys are so super helpful, you posted the photographic evidence to the dude.
Now, a smart person would say, whoops, my bad. But not a Puppy Kicker. They have that whole narrative about how anybody who disagrees with TRUFAN is irreparably damaging their career, so of course he doubled down. Oh no. He was there at 7:05! And he saw my 40! And that was still horrible garbage failure of suck, because that bookstore ROUTINELY gets 500(!) people at a book signing…
This of course came as a surprise to the people who work there, and my more famous author friends who sell ten times as many books as I do, who only got around 200 there. Basically, you can count the number of mega superstar authors who routinely get five hundred people at a book signing on your hands, and have fingers left over. Puppy kickers are harsh, man. I think the average book signing in America is like five to seven people.
But I don’t make the rules. Five hundred it is! Anything less is shameful garbage.
Of course that running gag led to my fans being super helpful the rest of the tour. You guys are full of all sorts of comfort. Rounding up the local homeless to pose in the group shots was a brilliant idea. Utah tried to rally the troops so I’d finally qualify as a Real Writer, with over sixty people attending. If we counted small children and service animals, we had 79. Sadly, 77 humans and 2 dogs still falls far short of the minimum requirement. But maybe someday I’ll be a real writer, and finally satisfy the… Oh hey, look another six figure royalty check came in the mail while I was gone. Sweet. What was I talking about again? 🙂
(for the record, I have had over 500, but only at conventions where I’ve been in a booth, stretched over a few days. I’ve probably broken that number at DragonCon, and I know for sure I’ve done it at Salt Lake City ComicCon and New York City ComicCon… but shhhhh… If I go spreading that around, they’ll declare a thousand to be common, and anything less is crap!)
I’m about traveled out now. Luckily I don’t have any other events for a while. I’ll be at Chattacon in January in Chattanooga. I’ll be at SHOT Show in Las Vegas in January also. I’ll be at LTUE in February. Other than that I believe I’m clear until April, when I’m doing my first ever European book tour. I’ll be signing in England, France, and Germany. I’m taking the lovely Mrs. Correia with me for the Europe trip.
Now I’ve got to get back to work. I’ve got to do some editing on the Tom Stranger project (shockingly enough, I was able to get away with probably 80% of the MHN inside jokes!). In order to refresh for the deluge of upcoming MHI projects I need to reread the five books. Then I’ve got to work on Monster Hunter Grunge, and I owe Sarah Hoyt a whole bunch of outlines… Right after I play just a teensy bit more Fallout 4. 🙂