Monday, April 11, 2011

What's Coming Up This Week? Hess, Laken, Lamott, Sandlin, Spit, in Alphabetical Order.

Monday, April 11 (tonight!) at 7 pm, Ronnie Hess at Boswell.
Ronnie Hess is talking about her book Eat Smart in France.  This event is co-sponsored by Alliance Francaise.  Hess is a travel writer who continues a series started by Joan Peterson in Madison.  It's a little confusing because her company, Gingko Press, has the same name as an art book publisher in New York. It turns out she had nothing to do with The Disposable Skateboard Bible.

So are you planning a trip to Paris this summer?  Wishing you could go to Paris this summer? Get some advice from an expert on restaurants, markets, and cooking schools.  It's a blend of travel, food, language, and culture, and the perfect prelude to lunch with Patricia Wells next Tuesday at Bacchus.  Don't have your ticket to Well? My apologies, but that event is sold out.  I've also heard that her event in Lake Forest is also sold out. You can still buy a signed copy from us.  We'll have signature only after the lunch, but if you want Salad as a Meal or one of her other books personalized, you'll have to purchase it beforehand.  Contact the store at (414) 332-1181 or you can also request this online.

Tuesday, April 12, 7 pm, Anne Lamott at Alverno's Wehr Hall, which I've learned is 3400 South 43rd Street, for Imperfect Birds.  But I just talked all about this on Friday? 
I know that our reminder email on Friday made some impact as we received a number of calls and visits afterwards from customers with questions.  It also came out last night at dinner at Riviera Maya. You have the option of Imperfect Birds in paperback or a Boswell gift card.  Due to a special purchase, backlist is not substitutable, but you can use the card to get $10 off another Anne Lamott title.  It's time for me to check in with the Alverno Presents gang to see how many tickets we sold over the weekend.  I really want to do Anne Lamott proud.

As an aside (honestly I'm all aside, right?), I was cleaning my desk area (don't ask) and decided to file/toss many piles of paper.  I came across a Schwartz newsletter from 1995, and yes, Anne Lamott was scheduled to appear. That must have been the paperback of Bird by Bird, which continues to be her most popular book. Several people have asked me what is with Lamott and birds?  I don't know, but that's a good question for her.   

Can I still by a ticket?  Yes.

Wednesday, April 13, 7 pm, Anchee Min at Boswell, for Pearl of China (paperback).
Another wonderful appearance by a larger-than-life author, and this one is free at the store.  Like Lamott, we've been selling a lot of backlist off our author display.  Sharon wondered why when we mention the author's coming, the customers (who sometimes buy more than one backlist title at a time) don't seem as enthusiastic as you'd think they'd be.  Part of the deal of author events is to get the books in front of the customer, and in the end, if they buy the book and the event in free, is it really so bad?  Some people just don't like crowds.  I for one, sometimes prefer to be alone...reading.

Thursday, April 14, 8 pm, The Sister Spit tour at Boswell, including Michelle Tea, MariNaomi*, Ali Liebegott, Kirk Read, Blake Nelson, and Amos Mac. I also just did a full blog post on this!  Let's just say it's an extravaganza.

Friday, April 15, 7 pm, Valerie Laken at Boswell, for Separate Kingdoms (paperback). The subject of tomorrow's blog post. I really enjoyed Laken's collection of stories, as did Jim Higgins, who reviewed it in yesterday's Journal Sentinel

In putting together our spring print newsletter mailing, we reworked it so many times that we had a gaffe, and Valerie Laken was left out.  I'm going to publicly apologize here.  You want the newsletter to land before the events hit, but you just don't know how long it will take to get through standard mail.  Plus we always underestimate how long it is going to take for the piece to be printed.  I will say that we got it taped and to the post office in record time--all mailed out within four hours of receipt. So I really have two apologies, because some folks are going to get the print newsletter after the Anne Lamott event is over, and possibly after Anchee Min. 

One day I'm going to have to take some pictures of the mailing facility for the blog, if you're allowed to. It's rather fascinating, particularly as it is, at this point, set up for more mail volume than actually occurs.  What it must have been like in the heyday--yet another thing for which to be nostalgic.

Saturday, April 16, 2 pm, Lee Sandlin at Boswell for Wicked River.
These weekend day events can be touch and go, especially in nice weather.  I try to focus on events that skew older, as these are the people who tell me they don't want evening events.  After last week's small turnout, I'm now nervous, but we've been already selling Wicked River pretty well.

Here's an excerpt from the Minneapolis Star Tribune review:
“Sandlin transports readers back to a renegade time on the Mississippi, a rollicking ride full of marauders, floating brothels and rough characters spit straight from the pen of Twain himself. Sandlin’s own prose style is a fluvial joy, conjuring early-19th-century Mississippi voyageurs, red-shirted wayfarers who bartered, bought and stole goods Up North that they transported downstream in primitive skiffs and flat-bottomed boats.” 

So how did last week's events go?  I think I've already mentioned that both the Donna Leon and Paolo Giordano events went quite well, for respectively, Drawing Conclusions and The Solitude of Prime Numbers--actually above projection. Here's a photo with Angela Damiani (our English reader), Paolo Giordano, and myself. Signed copies still available.

We knew Jeremy Greenberg's event for Sorry I Peed on You on Saturday was going to be quiet.  Though we were selling books off the event table (and also the Mother's Day display), it was hard to get a handle on what the talk would be about. Unlike Five Very Good Reasons to Punch a Dolphin in the Mouth, Greenberg wasn't quite at a million hits per joke. 

Greenberg did, however, get a good television interview that day.  That said, those don't always translate to audience gains for us.  He did tell us, however, that is Amazon numbers shot up, which I guess was what I expected. Hey, and publicity hits and internet sales are part of the game here. The strange truth is that when we promote a book, the Amazon ranking goes up.

Oh, and if you were planning to attend the Giggles Comedy Club in Brookfield, which I had alluded to in our email newsletter, it apparently closed about three weeks ago.  We had a good time talking to Greenberg, and the several folks that bought the book thought it was hilarious.  It is pretty funny, and is still staying on our Mother's Day table.  It also makes a good shower gift.

And one final note on events passed. An unspecified semi-local author's book whose newest collection of stories didn't sell as well as he'd hoped.  It's got a cartoonish jacket.  It is speculative, an area in which he hadn't previously published.  And the book is over $25 for a paperback.  That price point is out of bounds for all but your best friends. Sometimes I do wish authors would ask our opinion ahead of time.  There's no way that book couldn't have been published at $20, even print on demand.  Once it's done, there's nothing to say, alas.  But now I have another $24.95 paperback fiction event book on the schedule.  This is the last we shall say of this.

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