One thing I have always enjoyed is meeting readers and fans. I was a fan of this genre long before I ever made my living as a professional in it, and I’m still a fan. I like physically interacting with other fans, and sharing their enthusiasm for something we all love. I like shaking hands, taking pictures, and signing books for the people who have supported me financially over the years.
Years ago, when I was starting out, I used to go out on the road for three or four months, and criss-cross the country and sign books for people. Didn’t matter where. A convention in Kansas. A bookstore in New York City. A strip mall in Kentucky. A comic book shop in Wyoming. If there were people there to sign books for, I’d go. Over the last twenty years, I’ve signed books in every state except Hawaii and Alaska.
Then I stopped. If you’ve read THE GIRL ON THE GLIDER, you know part of the reason why. But another big factor was that I had a young child, and I just didn’t want to be away from home that long. Well, now that young child is turning eight, and he’s content to play by himself, and he’s okay with Daddy heading out on the road for a few months (as long as I promise to bring him back some things from the places I go to).
I’m heading out on the road again this year, in support of THE COMPLEX and PRESSURE. This tour will run until December. It will cross the country several times. There will be scheduled signings and appearances, which you can keep track of here. (That list will have a lot more official dates added to it soon).
But there will be surprise, spur of the moment signings and appearances, as well. I’m calling these “pop-up” signings, and here is how they will work. I sign in Scottsdale, Arizona on June 28th and San Francisco, California on July 1. While I’m driving from Scottsdale to San Francisco, I pass by a Barnes and Noble in some small town we’ll call Dinkle, Arizona. I walk inside and find their stock of PRESSURE or THE COMPLEX. I then notify folks via Twitter and Facebook and the Forum that “I’M AT THE BARNES AND NOBLE IN DINKLE, ARIZONA FOR THE NEXT TWO HOURS”. And then I wait to see if anyone shows up, and if they do, I sign their books and chat with them a bit before heading back out on the road. And it may not even be a bookstore. It may be “I’M AT THE STARBUCKS IN FIDDLESTICKS, MISSOURI FOR THE NEXT TWO HOURS. BRING YOUR BOOKS AND LET’S HAVE COFFEE”.
This will require some participation on your part. Don’t think “Oh, there’s no way he’ll pass through my town” because there’s a good chance I just might. But you’ll have to pay attention to Twitter or Facebook or the Forum, because these “pop-up” signings won’t last long, and once I’m gone, I’m gone.
Which brings me to this — I get why people post comments like “Come to Dinkle, Arizona” or “Sign in Smith, Tennessee!” But here’s the thing, folks. It’s not up to me. I sign where I’m welcome, and if your local bookstore didn’t invite me, and if they’re not agreeable to a pop-up signing should I happen to pass by them, then I can’t sign there. So if you post, “Come sign in my town” I’m going to respond with “Come to one of these signings instead” and then link to this list of scheduled signings across the country.
You should also know that this is probably the last time I’ll ever do a tour that’s this extensive. I’m not saying I won’t be doing signings or public appearances in the future. Indeed, I’ll probably do them until the day I die. But this will be the last time I spend months on the road, driving across the country. It’s not a farewell tour, but then again, it sort of is.
“Livin’ legends are a dying breed
There ain’t too many left
To tell the truth, I ain’t been feelin’
Real hot lately my damn self…”
— Waylon Jennings