Thursday, November 17, 2011

Drive-By Signing




While the official stated release is November 23rd, copies of Theft of Swords have been surfacing at various bookstores across the nation and the United Kingdom. Recently Robin and I were having lunch at a restaurant across the parking lot from a Barnes & Noble and dared to do a drive-by signing.

Truth be told, it was Robin’s idea. She is devious enough that I question the true motivation in choosing that particular eatery. While there—using her iPad—she tracked to see in what stores the books were in stock. California, Michigan, Chicago, Portland, just about everywhere—Davenport, Iowa was one of the few places that did not have it yet. So with leftovers in hand, she coaxed me into walking over and seeing if they had my books on the shelf. They did.

Theft of Swords, the new split-frame, gold-based, fresh-faced American edition was there right under the Science Fiction/Fantasy sign, on the shelf directly above Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. Not too sure how I felt about that. Being near was comforting, even exciting, like being an actor and walking on the set of your first film where you meet one of your idols. But being above just felt wrong. They had four—one spine, the rest face out. Nice.

We gathered them up and walked to the customer service desk. I felt awkward. “Um…I’m the author of these. Would you like me to sign them?”

The desk attendant immediately called for backup.

The supervisor arrived. “Sure, we’d love you to!”

I couldn’t help but think how very strange this was and how trusting our society still is. We still serve food before payment, still deliver goods on credit, and people in bookstores let you sign new books you claim to be the author of, without so much as asking for I.D.

“Sharpie or pen?”

“Pen. Sharpies bleed through. Readers hate that. Learned it the hard way.”

“I feel like I should get a camera,” one of them said.

Trying not to laugh made it hard to sign. Yeah, it’s like Tom Cruise was right there in front of them, except they had no idea who I was, nor would anyone they showed the photo to. No one took a picture of me, until later. After I finished signing, Robin and I put the books back on the shelf, just as they were, and then she snapped the above photo in which I gave my best dopey looking, I-should-be-writing-right-now,-but-instead-I’m-posing-for-photos-in-a-bookstore-because-my-wife-made-me, pose. Still, let’s face it, how could it not be fun? And of course it doesn’t hurt that my book is the only one in color.  

In other news, reviews are also popping up, like this one of Wintertide by Sarah at Bookworm Blues, and a Theft of Swords review by Stefan Fergus at Civilian Reader. Everyone is being very generous. Even Liviu Suciu at Fantasy Book Critic is offering a rerun of his first reviews of my books. Gotta love them bloggers.

And in addition to crashing stores to deface books, I’ve been busy doing both written and live interviews. What I’ve learned is that my computer’s audio capabilities are not conducive to the podcast world, but my wife’s little laptop is. If interested, you can listen to me chat with the zany folks over at Sci-Fi Saturday Night this Saturday I believe. I’ll add a link when I see one.

I did another interview with Tim Ward, but that may take a little while to hit the interwebs as we chatted, along with Robin, for hours, and I’m sure Tim has his hands full with editing. Again I’ll post a link when one becomes available.

Now my only concern is that with Skyrim’s release, everyone will be preoccupied and miss the news that my books are finally on the shelf. Is anyone not playing that game?

7 comments:

  1. I'm not! I played the first Elder Scrolls but my computer wasn't up to the challenge. I have a new comp though, perhaps I owe it to myself to test it out. ;)

    Congratulations on the publication of your book. I'm looking forward to reading it. I'll look for it at my local bookstore on my way to work.

    As always, great post!

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  2. That is awesome! I just had my first signing at a Barnes and Noble last weekend. I sold out of the 18 copies they ordered in. I will have to do a "Drive By" sometime. I have a picture of the event on My Blog

    Skyrim came out at the right time. My second novel is finished and I am just waiting on a preferred release date next month so I actually have time to play it, even though I should be re-outlining the final book in the series.

    Your blog is one of the best gems out there.

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  3. I remember the old Arena Elder Scrolls myself, Karen. That was like last year right? =)

    And I checked out your post about the B&N signing SB. Go back to the "Dealing With Failure" post and look at the comments.

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  4. I may or may not be losing sleep playing Skyrim. :)
    Btw, Amazon supposedly shipped my copy of Theft of Swords a few days ago, looking forward to rereading the books.

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  5. After reading this I thought: oh why not and checked kobobooks for Theft of Swords. It was a mistake. A big one. Because it was and I was clicking the purchase button within 2 seconds. Now I am writing this trying not to reach for my ereader. If I bow to temptation I won't get any sleep tonight.

    Minor Note: While flipping through the ebook to see if it was indeed the "real thing". I found that the chapter headings were corrupted (ie. spacing between charters was wrong). I don't know if this is only an issue with the kobo ebook edition but it is present on both my ereader and my phone app.

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  6. I received my pre-order of Theft yesterday. So hopefully yours will be arriving today.

    I was surprised to see the book out on KoBo. To my knowledge the ebook version isn't available until the 23rd. Maybe it was a test or something. Still, thanks for giving into your temptations.

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  7. Hey Michael,

    The podcast interview is up http://www.audiotim.com/audiotim16-michael-j-sullivan-and-robin-sulli

    Also, I made a Saturday Spotlight post to review Theft of Swords and post the details of the paperback giveaway: http://timothycward.com/2011/11/19/saturday-spotlight-theft-of-swords-by-michael-j-sullivan/

    Thank you so much, this was a lot of fun. I will post the bonus content of our interview (minus spoilers) in a separate AudioTim podcast later this week.

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