March 16, 2008
A Thousand Miles in a Ford Focus
The book tour was a great experience in a lot of ways. There were a few with a big turnout and also a few with maybe a dozen or so people by the end, but I never had an event where the dreaded "what if you had a book signing and no one showed up?" occurred. I got to see writers I dig, like Gwen and Ariel, and a lot of old friends, and I got to meet people who touched me profoundly.
I've read a lot of critiques of the book tour as a marketing tool, and strictly speaking, I agree with much of what I've read. When you factor in travel expenses and hotels and all that, the sales you make on tour aren't going to even cover the cost of the tour itself. Perhaps the real value is in generating buzz and word of mouth, but still.
However, I wouldn't trade the experience of the book tour for anything. It's one thing to write about Schuyler's experiences and my own, and even to receive emails from the people who have been moved by those stories. It's quite another thing to meet people, however. I heard stories from parents who are in the place that we were with Schuyler a few years ago, a place with more questions than answers, and I cried with moms who were just happy to tell their story to someone. Never mind the fact that I was an author in my fancy pants. They were telling their story to someone who'd been there before them, and that was enough. What they didn't realize, perhaps, was how much I got from the experience.
So now it's over, and after driving over a thousand miles around Texas and feeling both very fancy and authorial one minute and then not one bit famous and fabulous at all the next, I'm home. Back to work, and back to play with Schuyler.
Yesterday I took Schuyler to see Horton Hears a Who, and when we got home, she took out her Big Box of Words. Together, we very carefully found all the words she needed (and spelled out a few not on the device), so that when Julie got home from work, Schuyler could tell her something very important she'd learned.
"A person's a person, no matter how small."
Today, Schuyler begins playing soccer, at a local program for special needs children. I took her to a sports supply place the other day and got her outfitted. We're taking Schuyler to play soccer today, and if you're a parent and that sounds like the most boring, every day, every kid sort of thing to write about, I agree.
It sure took a lot of work on Schuyler's part to get there, though.