Squawk Radio

Sunday, February 26, 2006


Before I was published, I thought going on a booktour would be glamorous, a time filled with fine hotels, fine food and adoring fans.


Booktour is grueling, funny, wonderful, surprising, embarrassing and exhausting, often all at the same time. The booktour for THE BAREFOOT PRINCESS started when the Scranton PA Library asked for a romance writer to speak for Valentine’s Day. My publicist at Avon called and asked if I was interested, and I shrieked, “Yes! I can go to Philly afterward and see my daughter!” You’ll note at no point did I say, “Yes! Because booktour is glamorous and filled with fine hotels, fine food and adoring fans.”

I have been on booktour before.

The tour started in Buffalo with the Worst Hotel in the History of the World (some of you may recall my bitter blog about the banana a la armpit) and a fabulous booksigning at the Waldens in the downtown mall. Not bad — no fine hotel, no fine food, but by golly, some adoring fans!

Then off to Scranton. (Not a good hotel, almost starved trying to get a meal, but no bananas.) The Scranton Cultural Center is one of the most glorious pieces of architecture I’ve ever seen, and when they showed me the auditorium where I would speak, I burst into laughter. And took a photo to show you.
This place must seat two thousand people! I, um, didn’t fill it up. But I gave a great speech (she said modestly) and sold books to Irene M’s sister and a lot of really friendly, welcoming people in Scranton.

The next day I had two autographings and a tour of the HarperCollins book distribution center. Yes, I know, you’re thinking, “That doesn’t sound glamorous.” Wrong! It was fascinating! And flattering! And breathtaking! I got there and — look at my banner! I’ve never had a banner before!

And they had a cake! With my cover on it!

And they had a huge poster they had me sign! They’re going to have it framed and hang it up with the other authors in the hallway.

Then I got a presentation of what the distribution center does. In brief, they sell, take orders for and ship out most of the books printed by HarperCollins, the umbrella company for Avon and a lot of other imprints, too. The actual distribution center is a highly computerized system with 99.1 percent accuracy, and when Ron Pocius took me on the tour, I was open-mouthed at being surrounded by millions and millions of books stacked in cartons and whipping past me on the conveyor belt. It was an author’s heaven. Then Dan Holod took me through the office where I met the people who take book orders (God bless them every one!). I ate with and signed books for Olga Nolan’s sales staff (first row, Kerri Sikorski (with scarf), moi, and Dawn Rembish, second row same order, Deb Evans, Olga, Denise DePalma & Kim Gombar.)
As if the rest of it wasn’t enough, they gave me a Valentine’s box full of candy (which may have saved my life considering the fight I had getting fed) and the same safety belt the people in the warehouse use, embroidered with my name. Very stylish! These people are surrounded by books every day, and they love to read and they love authors!

Bad hotel, no food, but major adoration coming at me and I returned it completely! Thank you, HarperCollins Distribution Center!

Tune in for Booktour, part two, this afternoon!
Christina Dodd, 11:44 PM