Looking forward to your first book tour? Well, after reading the ravings of Bill Simmons (ESPN’s Sports Guy and all-around humorist), I’m not so sure being a New York Times best-selling author is all it’s cracked up to be:
My body clock is so screwed up that, on consecutive nights, I woke up in the middle of the night and had no idea where I was. My right thumb has swelled to 140 percent the size of my left thumb. My back is crumbling like blue cheese. My immune system might turn me into Patient X of Swine Flu 2.0 before everything’s said and done.
Because Simmons is a celebrity of sorts, I don’t have a lot of sympathy. He may have had to grind it out, but he was grinding out a nation-hopping, flight-plan-driven barnstorming tour with various people in tow. This was not your covered-wagon book tour where the lone author’s nineteen-year-old Isuzu breaks down outside of Grand Forks in the dead of winter.
By the same token, however, a celebrity author has to be ‘on’ all the time, and one who regularly appears on TV has to be ‘on’ in a way that satisfies people in the flesh. Whereas your History of Mold author has probably not created a lot of audience expectation, and will probably play to smaller crowds, someone like Simmons is probably going to have a fair bit of turnout. Hence the swollen thumb.
And none of this should take away from the sheer audacity of the feat. Like juggling flaming bowling balls, it’s as impressive as it is absurd.
In 11 days, I went from Washington to Philly to Bristol to Manhattan to Boston to Los Angeles to Chicago to Phoenix to San Francisco to San Diego. I would do it again.
Honestly, I marvel at someone doing something like this. Me, I don’t travel well. Going from city to city to city to city to city to city to city to city to city to city wouldn’t work for me, because I would need to stop in the second city and rest for three days. And then go home to recuperate from the resting.
But enough about me. Read the article. It’s funny, and maybe even laugh-out-loud funny depending on where you are in your own personal book tour of life.
Quote for Guy Gonzalez:
Every Mets fan at every signing asked me the same question: “Who do I root for in the World Series?” And each time, I told them, “Just avoid it completely.” Why torture yourself?
Quote for everybody else:
More than a few readers were aspiring writers asking for advice. I always told them the same thing: “Don’t get discouraged; keep plugging away.” The truth is, I don’t know the answer. Because there isn’t one.
As an aside, I think you should allow yourself to be discouraged every once in a while. Just don’t let it stick. And don’t take anything personally. You’re trying to do something damn hard, and it’s getting harder by the hour. Cut yourself some slack if you don’t make it on your first try. Or your thirtieth. Or ever. (Aspiring to be a professional writer is a lot like aspiring to juggle flaming bowling balls. You’re going to hurt yourself trying.)
Oh yeah — one more thing. Not once in the entire column does Simmons mention the name of his own book. It’s mentioned at the bottom, in the thumbnail bio, but he doesn’t hype it himself. I’m sure that’s breaking twenty rules of effective marketing, but I respect it. Even if it’s inevitably due to the fact that he’s a functional zombie.
— Mark Barrett
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