Yes, I know. New Year's was two days ago. 2017 went kicking and screaming, giving me a stomach virus as a parting shot that put me two days behind. So Happy New Year!
Here's what I intended to do on the waning days of 2017: unclutter my office, my closet, and all those little piles of junk that accumulate during the year (okay, who am I kidding? Some of them have been accumulating for longer than a year). The uncluttering was to clear the space for me to get busy on my first order of business for the year, which is:
Launch Party Business!! That includes ordering the cake--wait, I said cake, but last year at my launch party although the cake was fun and delicious, someone tactfully pointed out that it was also a huge mess. So rethinking cake. It also includes: getting a poster made for Mrs. Dalloway's bookstore window, checking with the bookstore to make sure my books are stocked, as well as the books for Timothy Hallinan, who is doing me the honor of winging up from Los Angeles to interview me, reminding people on social media and through emails. Anything else? Oh, yeah, figuring out what I'm going to wear. (See closet uncluttering, above). And one more thing. Lose two pounds before the launch party. In the silver linings department, the virus took care of that!
With the new book, I also have a host of other things to do. Most urgent is completing my book tour schedule. Luckily, no one but me is super busy in the first few days of the year. Right? Right? Okay, wrong, but it's amazing how quickly people are responding to requests. Very heartening. For the first time, I'm planning to extend my tour to Florida and North Carolina. Why there? It's winter. I'd love to do the northeast, but have you looked at the weather reports? The northeast has to be put on hold until winter loosens its icy grip. And, by the way, I saw that it was 41 in Florida yesterday. If I want a warm weather tour, I may have to learn Spanish and head further south.
Putting together a book tour sounds innocuous enough, but it entails: locating bookstores in areas where you think you can draw an audience, contacting the bookstores to see where you fit in their calendars, coordinating them so you can go from one city to another without doubling back, and then making flight arrangements. Then when that is done, following through with social media, making flyers and posters, and contacting friends in the area. This is when I start thinking I need an assistant.
But who am I to complain? I know I'm really lucky to have these "problems." For years my biggest challenge was first writing a book that would catch the attention of a publisher, enticing an agent to take notice, waiting while the agent fielded rejections, and then repeating the above. I'll take the current challenges any day. To those of you struggling with the challenges of getting a book written and making publishing decisions, I send my hearty best wishes. Keep at it! Courage!
I will end on a tribute to Sue Grafton. Sue is like the French King Louis XIV. No, not the part where he was a big spender who bankrupted his country, nor the part where he threw lavish parties (although she could be great fun at a party), nor where he single-handedly invented modern bureaucracy. No, what I mean is that Louis reined for seventy-two years, from 1643 to 1715. People were born, lived long lives, and died while he was still king. There are those who thought he could not die! A lot of writers have started writing, become published, and had whole careers in the shadow of Sue Grafton. She reinvented the crime novel, and made it possible for many women to take their place in the mystery genre. It was easy to think that she would always be around. She will be missed by so many.