Skip to main content

So I was on the last leg of my seven-hour, 212-mile “Use All The Crayons!” Winter Book Tour when I began to ponder the ways in which my humble little stretch differed from one involving bestseller Dennis Lehane.

He’s the award-winning Boston author and screenwriter for blockbusters like “Mystic River,” “Gone, Baby, Gone,” and “Shutter Island.” He stays at the finest hotels, eats sumptuous meals and practically anything he desires. For all I know gets his pick of the each city’s finest hookers.

Me, I got in my 2007 Saturn Vue and drove to five Pittsburgh-area Barnes & Nobles, met some store managers, signed 50 books and snagged an Arby’s Beef & Cheddar at the drive-thru on the way home.

And, man, I swear it was all great. Great!

I got the news last week that all seven Pittsburgh-area Barnes & Nobles are now selling my book.

Getting a self-published book into Barnes & Noble is the literary equivalent of a walk-on player from a Division III school making the cut with an NFL team. The odds against it happening at all are very high.

When B&N decided in August to buy my book, they didn’t buy 10,000 copies.

They bought 10.

They sent all 10 to the store nearest me -- Greensburg, Pa. -- to see how they’d do.

Well, they did great -- and thanks to each and every one of you who helped make that happen.

So last week I’m in there to sign any new copies and the store manager tells me, “Hey, I’ve got good news. They’ve started selling your book in all the Pittsburgh stores. They either noticed how well it was doing here or one of our book buyers liked your book enough to order it for all the area stores.”

Either way, it’s a heady validation. The book is following the exact trajectory it needs to become a national success.

And I’m doing all I can to goose it along.

That meant driving to the stores, introducing myself to store personnel, signing the books and thanking them for anything they can do to increase the book’s visibility.

I guarantee you, they’ve never met an author like me.

I say this because they all asked if I needed a pen.

Apparently, many traditional authors are pampered enough to show up to sign books without pens. So I’m guessing my speculation about hookers isn’t that far off.

I not only came prepared with a working pen, I brought my deluxe box of 96 Crayola Crayons with safety-tuck crayon sharpener to prevent bloodshed from careless toddlers and drunken adults.

Each store had 10 copies. I’d sit there in the cafe for about 30 minutes doing my all dandy doodling.

The store managers and employees were uniformly wonderful. They were so enthused for me and several said they’d put my book on display at the high-traffic Customer Information desk in the center of the store. That was key to elevating sales in Greensburg.

So I’m sitting there at the last store thinking about how well the day had gone.

That’s when I felt a little twinge of anxiety.

What if this is as good as it gets? What if people in other parts of Pittsburgh don’t dig my book the way they are Greensburg? What if the run stops here?

I can’t let that happen.

That brings me back to Lehane and maybe the one thing we have in common: we’re both geniuses at self-promotion.

Lehane’s been in the news for offering to name a high-profile character in his next book after whomever finds his missing beagle, his beloved Tessa. The result has been an avalanche of national news stories about his devotion to the dog and the unique way he’s instigating a search.

I hope it succeeds. Despite the fact that he’s probably a fan of both Tom Brady and Bill Belichick, Lehane seems like a great guy.

What else could I do to stir interest in my book?

Then it hit me.

I’ll pay you to read it.

I took a $5 bill out of my wallet and tucked it cozy inside so it won’t fall out.

I’ll even tell you the exact location: It’s on page 13.

That’s important because page 13 is home to Tip no. 33:

Every time you stay in a hotel, take the Gideon’s Bible out of the drawer and open it to Luke 12:22. Read it and then put a five-dollar bill in between those pages and return the book to the drawer. The passage talks about how God always takes care of our needs and we shouldn’t worry about material things. If someone is looking for inspiration, perhaps your five-dollar bill will seem like a divine reminder.

I, in fact, do this often. I did a story about the Gideons and admire their mission.

Interesting factual trivia: hotel managers told me the item they most often find bookmarking the Bibles are condoms.

I won’t tell you any more other than to say the money book’s not in the Greensburg or Cranberry stores (as of now).

But from now on it’s going to be a staple of my secret signings. It’ll be another Easter egg reason for strangers to pick up the book and give it a browse.

Tell friends. In fact, I encourage you to join the fun by pulling a random copy from the Self-Improvement section and slipping a $5 or whatever between pages 12 and 13.

And this should go without saying but, please, leave only currency.

Keep the condoms for yourself.

www.EightDaysToAmish.com

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site