When you’ve driven an hour and a half to do a bookstore reading, there are messages you just don’t want to see when you get there. For example, there’s the communique below, received Monday afternoon from my contact at the Greensboro Barnes & Noble when I checked email upon arrival:
We have a bit of a problem. The warehouse made a mistake and transposed a number and sent my books to another store. Therefore, I don’t have books for tonight’s signing. I’m hoping that you have some that you can bring and I will have them replaced. Please let me know if you have them.
As Ian Faith might put it, having no books to sign (or, more to the point, sell) at a bookstore signing seems like more than “a bit of a problem.” But hey, work in the entertainment-media industry long enough and you’ll eventually find yourself living out scenes from “Spinal Tap.” This one was a cross between the band out touring to promote an album that didn’t exist, and the record-store signing where nobody showed up. A few folks were at my reading last night, however, and I’m afraid some sales got left on the table. Oh well.
On the upside, the afternoon interview on WQFS-FM went well and the reading itself was highly pleasant, thanks to a few friends in the house. Jeri Rowe, who wrote a very nice preview piece in the Greensboro News & Record (which I wish I could link to, but it’s not online), had me read the infamous “resume passage” from chapter two. Parke Puterbaugh, author of a number of fine books himself, asked some on-point questions, as did Eddie Huffman and Molly McGinn (a long-ago N&O co-worker).
At the end of the reading, one fellow ordered “Losering” and a few folks promised they’d come back when it was in stock, and maybe they will. The Barnes & Noble manager gave me a $25 gift card, so that was nice. Afterward, a few of us went to the Ryan Adams pizza joint, and I gave the waiter a copy of the book to pass along to whoever did their menu. I had the “Cherry Lane,” which I’d say was better as a food item than a song.
Meanwhile…I sure do hope they’ll have books in Charlotte on Friday…