Tuesday, March 26, 2013
Guest Post by David Jerome
“Book tours are designed to beat out of an author any affection he has for his book.” Michael Lewis
Four years ago this month I awoke at zero dark thirty every morning, in various curry-smelling Econo-Lodges around the country, to promote my book Roastbeef’s Promise. I’d either do a radio phone interview or an in-studio local television interview with a cookie-cutter newsperson named Jim or Terri who usually knew nothing about me or my book, but pretended we were best friends when the lights went on.
Most of the time the interviewers just read from the questions that my publicist had written or the Interesting Facts sheet that I‘d written. One of the “interesting facts” I had listed was that I could break dance, which I kind-of did, white-boy style in the mid-80’s. The lesson here is beware of what you write down on an Interesting Facts sheet, because show producers in four markets picked up on that little gem of information. I ended up demonstrating my severely-declining 43 year-old break-dance moves to viewers in Memphis, Chicago, Omaha and Denver. In Denver, I “jumped the shark” and did my break dance moves accompanied by the motivational sounds of the Denver College pep band.
In Memphis, the local morning show takes place in the common area of a large shopping mall called Peabody Place before opening. When it was my “hit time” the hosts of the show welcomed me to the couch and started with their questions. I looked around at the stores and escalators, and said, “You know, this is the first time I’ve been interviewed in a mall since I applied for a job at Hotdog-On-A-Stick.”
The allure of going on a book tour officially came to an end while sitting in the cold and breezy Des Moines bus depot amongst the best bums, ex-cons, and riff-raff the Midwest had to offer. While I waited for my bus to Omaha, I enjoyed a Hot Pocket fresh out of the depot’s microwave and a Pepsi from the vending machine and thought to myself, “This isn’t exactly the way I envisioned my book tour going.”
The weirdest experience was a phone interview with an East Coast radio station when my internal clock said it was 5:00 a.m., my current location said it was 7:00 a.m. and, “HEY, HEY!!!” it was mid-day for Jimmy & Johnny in the Morning!!! who’d been blasting Metallica during the commercial breaks and snorting coffee grinds all night. It’s like rolling out of bed, right onto a high-speed treadmill that leads to a New Year’s Eve party during the ten second countdown. A few minutes into the interview, I finally raise my energy level up to the hyper-active spaz-boys, Jimmy & Johnny just as they give a final plug for my book and scream their goodbyes. Then I’m totally amped-up, ready to fight the champ, and I’m alone in a quiet, single, non-smoking Motel 6 room where I guess now, I’ll get up and go get some of that lobby coffee with non-dairy creamer powder, and maybe peruse their free tourist pamphlets until the rest of the world gets up.
Going on a book tour was a bucket list check-off for me, but I quickly learned that it’s a hurry-up and wait, month-long marathon of travel and talk; punctuated with bad food, bumpy flights, and indifference at every turn. Atleast it all went for nothing since it was the worst month in the whole recession and no one in the country was buying anything - even travel-humor books by a first-time novelist!
See the break-dancing author at www.MrBucketlist.com