Jeremy Mercer ❖ Online

10,261 miles (16,514 kilometers) later

December 18, 2005

The thing is over. Twenty-three bookstores in 44 days. A demi-circle of North America. A blur of friends and festivities. Sugary affirmation at most every stop. A constant lack of sleep. An abundance of fine meals and beverages. And even a few books sold.

How does one measure a tour such as this? Well, as with all things in life, the first question is whether it was a happy time. And the answer is ohmygodyesyesyes. I was able to see some of my dearest friends. I made new friends, several of whom I suspect might be keepers. I was able to visit a host of new cities. I was constantly inspired by the courage and dedication of independent booksellers. In short, it was pretty much pure joy, aside from that nervous gut-sore hour before each show. And that, of course, is a very small price to pay.

But the tour was not just for fun. I was promoting a book. How did that go? Who can tell. In some cities, the bookstores reported that they had sold 30 or 40 books. A lot of these stores would have only ordered a couple of copies but instead ordered a couple of dozen as I was visiting. I also met a lot of my readers, probably an average of about 20 per show, so close to 500 in all. And, I hopefully lodged myself in the minds of the booksellers so that they remember me when the guillotine book comes out in 2007.

Another objective was media coverage, and though it is hard to tell what spawned what, this too seems to have been successful. There were reviews or tidbits in a bunch of big papers and magazines – The Chicago Tribune, The Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, The San Francisco Chronicle etc – and also dozens of hits in community papers such as the Mercer Island Reporter and the West End Word. There was also some radio work, including spots on NPR and CBC. But was that a result of the tour? In England, I have been all over the media – The Times, The Independent, The Guardian, BBC radio and television – and I wasn’t driving from Portsmouth to Newcastle like a madman. It is all very mysterious.

In the end, the most important thing is that I got dirt on my uniform. I went out and played the game and gave it my best. That is the kind of feeling that makes for a good night’s sleep. As I always say, the one thing in life you can’t afford is to have regrets. I don’t want to end up at the age of 85 sitting in my pee-stained trousers and asking ‘What if I’d …’

I did a book tour. I had a hell of a time. And I am grateful for it. Thank you for reading along with me.


Related Categories: Waystations.

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© 2010 Jeremy Mercer. Website by Strangecode.
photo : Stefan Bladh

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