Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Bar book signing Thursday!

The Pond is abuzz with excitement today! It’s just about 24 hours until my bar book signing!

It’s different, you see, because The Pond is usually abuzz with things like Crown Royal, Wild Turkey and locally brewed Duquesne Beer.

Thus, we’re left to consider the many joyful ways a literary book signing in a corner tavern differ in places actually dedicated to selling books, not booze.

I’ve participated in both. Care to guess which I prefer?

As Dave, the sage bar owner, said: “I’m sure your book signing will be a huge success -- or it’ll be like every other night in here, but with a stack of books.”

Works for me!

Aspiring writers dream of holding fancy book signings like John Grisham.

They don’t think of sitting way back by the fire exit in some godforsaken chain store where they keep the dusty books devoted to the study of Mayan architecture.

That happened to me in 2003 when I was determined to do everything I could to promote my new book, “Hole in One! The Complete Book of Fact, Legend and Lore on Golf’s Luckiest Shot,” a book the New York Times cited as the Bible on the topic in this article.

So it was a decent book and a big seller among people who’d had the rarest shot in sport.

The problem was the shot is so rare that people eager to buy a book about it are outnumbered by things like albino bison.

Book sellers understood this and banished me and my sales table to store sections so removed from regular traffic anyone wanting to find me would have to navigate a book shelf corn maze in order to do so. It was truly humiliating. I’d sit there for hours all by myself.

On the plus side, I became a self-taught expert on Mayan architecture.

It was vastly different for The Pond’s book signing for the same book.

I sold 40 books! The bartender was a very aggressive sales lady and threatened to withhold drinks if stingy patrons refused to buy.

Plus, every time I’d sell another 10 books or so I bought the bar a round.

Soon everyone in the bar was all gassed up and guys who don’t even read things like comic books were saying, “I never knew a book signing could be so much fun!”

That many of them eventually used the book to prop up short table legs didn’t bother me one bit. We all had a great time.

In fact, the fun got out of hand.

This is true: For the first and last time I can remember, Dave had to physically remove one drunk for unruly behavior.

“I had no idea literary events would attract so many hooligans,” he said.

One big question floating around is how much I’m going to charge for the books.

I expect the price will fluctuate along with my sobriety.

I plan on selling the $15.95 books for a base price of $14, but I told the friendly kitchen staff they can have them for $12.

But I suspect some patrons will try to get me drunk because they know I’m more generous when I’m tipsy.

Under those circumstances, the price could descend to as low as $10.

I’m thinking of using a sliding scale for multiple purchases: the first is $14; buy another and that’s $12; etc. But that might lead to mathematical chaos.

For instance, some shrewd buyer might say he wants a dozen copies and by extrapolating my scale contend I actually owe him $6.
The vibe, so far, is positive. Dave putting my tweets up on the electronic chalk board has lead to legions of new fans who told me the old sports trivia questions used to make their heads hurt.

And The Latrobe Bulletin put me, Dave and a bunch of bobbleheads on the front page Saturday announcing the event. That was very cool.

So if you’re in town on Thursday, please stop by The Pond from 4 to 8 p.m. You can buy a book or just say hello. The food’s good and you’ll see why me and my buddies spend so much time there.

I’m anticipating a huge success.

Or else it’ll be just like every other night, but with a stack of books. 

And that’ll be just fine with me.

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