Holy crap, I’ve only got one week before I hop on a plane and begin my book tour. Some random thoughts on this:
* The book tour, as most of you know by now, is going to be three weeks long. On one hand: Excellent. I feel like a rock star being out on tour this long. I feel like I should have roadies and tour managers and wreck hotel rooms and stuff (note to Tor: I will not wreck hotel rooms). On the other hand: Three weeks is the longest time I will have spent apart from my wife in 11 years. It is the longest I have ever spent apart from Athena. People who know me know that after three days away from my family, I get a little twitchy; this is three weeks. I’m specifically not putting Journey’s “Faithfully” on my mp3 player because I know if I listen to it midway through the tour I’ll cry like a baby, and then I’ll feel like an ass.
* Also, while I am bringing work with me and intend to update blogs and what have you, at the end of the day for those three weeks my job is to be on tour, and to promote the hell out of The Last Colony and the other books. That means that this week is going to be devoted to actually trying to get a whole bunch of crap done on the assumption that John Scalzi in heavy-duty self-promotion mode isn’t necessarily going to be writing scintillating prose.
I mean, who knows, maybe I might: Maybe all those lonely nights on the road, with only my laptop and a bottle of Coke Zero to keep me company, will be perfect for banging out chapters of The High Castle and jamming through interview questions for authors and finally writing that rock opera I’ve been meaning to get around to since high school. But I suspect it’s best to work on the assumption that what I’ll mostly be doing with my nights is lying on a hotel bed in a daze, watching whatever’s on HBO. So: this week — worky worky worky.
* Here’s a fun wrinkle I gave absolutely no thought to: The public announcement of the results of the SFWA presidential election will be made during the Nebula Awards Weekend in New York City, which takes place May 11 – 13, which is the weekend immediately after my tour ends — Indeed, I fly home from the tour on May 10 (which is, coincidentally, my birthday). So if I want to make the Nebula Awards Weekend, what I do is fly home, spend 12 hours or so with my family after three weeks of not seeing them, and then get on a plane to spend another three days away from home. As you may imagine, I’m full to the brim with ambivalence for this plan. Not that I don’t want to go to the Nebula Awards Weekend; I think it would be cool. I just wish it were, you know, two weeks later.
Now, one simple solution is to take them with me to NYC, and if I do go, then at the very least Krissy will come along. But I’m sure we all recognize there’s a difference between that and actually being home after three weeks. This is what I get for being a write-in candidate and not thinking ahead.
* On the other hand, how cool is this: At most tour stops, I have an escort, paid for by Tor. No, not that kind. Really, you people disgust me. I mean someone who’s there to pick me up and drive me around to where I need to go and then drop me off at the airport so I can catch my flights. Yay! Someone pointing in the direction of where I need to go! After a few days of this, I’m gonna need that, you know?
* All right, here’s a theoretical question for you all: Do you think it’s possible to pack for a three-week book tour using only carry-on luggage? Because you know what, I’m going to 14 different cities on this tour, and that’ll be about a dozen opportunities for lost luggage. And once that luggage misses a flight, it’s done — by the time they get it to me, I’ll be two cities forward on the schedule, and wearing the same underwear, which I’m sure will be a treat. If I keep everything in carry-ons, the only person who can be faulted for losing my luggage is me.
Now, I think I can do it, because I’m a pretty low-maintenance sort of guy: I’m going to be mostly be wearing “author casual” (i.e., t-shirts and jeans), the components of which can generally be jammed into a duffel bag without too much damage. I might bring a more dress-up ensemble for a couple of events, but I’m not really worried about them getting wrinkled because most hotels have irons, and I actually know how to use one. As long as there’s someplace for me to do laundry somewhere along the way, I might actually be able to pull it off.
Am I deluding myself, here? Seriously, I want input on this. One carry-on bag, one backpack. Will it work for three weeks?
* Okay, since you asked, I’ll tell you the one thing I’m nervous about, which is that this tour is not exactly cheap. Plane tickets, hotel rooms, escorts, fresh stuffed animals made each day from the local Build-a-Bear franchise propped up on my hotel pillow, as negotiated in my contract rider, a constant stream of Coke Zeros — all these things add up. So what I’m worried about is Tor dropping all this cash for the tour, and having, like, six people show up at every stop. It’s not that I won’t be happy to see those six people — really, thanks for coming out, you guys — it’s just that at that rate the promotional cost comes to a couple hundred dollars per head.
So, please, if you’re thinking of coming out to one of the appearances — and I hope you will — won’t you please also drag along every single person you’ve ever met in your entire life? Or at least a couple of friends. I promise to be vastly entertaining: I’ll do a little reading, I’ll answer questions, I’ll even re-enact the entire Día del gato del tocino for your amusement. Really, you and every single person you’ve ever met in your entire life will have a good time. And of course, every appearance is free (although if you pick some books at the bookstore while you’re there, the proprietors will thank you — and if the books you happen to pick up are mine, I will thank you too, and sign them, even). Honestly, this is a hell of a deal for all y’all. Please come. Please please please oh God please.
* To sweeten the deal for you, here’s a little tidbit: One of the things I’m considering reading on the tour is the first chapter of The High Castle, my novel that’s set for release in early 2008 — provided, you know, I finish it in the next few months, WHICH I WILL (he says, loudly, because he knows his editor is reading this). This is the chapter whose first line is “Judge Sn’s assassination was getting in the way of his golf game,” and it only gets better from there, honest. By showing up, you’ll be getting a sneak preview of a work no one else will be able to get their hands on until next year. Heck, I haven’t even sent my editor this chapter yet (although, uh, I should probably do that soon).
So: If you don’t come out for the tour appearances, you’ll just have to wait for this chapter until 2008. Like a common troll! And we both know you’re not a common troll. You’re an uncommon troll — the kind who goes to see authors on their book tours. And that’s the best kind of troll there is.
Wait, that didn’t come out right. Well, you know what I’m saying.