A Virtual Pub Day

I usually write the blog on Wednesdays, but Bill just looked at the schedule and said, “Holy Moly! You’re totally booked for Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday!” So I guess I’ll get with the program today.

Months ago, June first was scheduled to be a big day around here. It’s pub day for Unfinished Business, Ali # 16, from Simon and Schuster, but it was also the due date for completion of the manuscript for Nothing to Lose, Beaumont # 25 from HarperCollins. I finished the last bits and pieces of that and handed it off to my beta readers yesterday morning, May 31. (Squeaker you say? Yes, but that’s the magic of having a deadline. I meet them!)

What did I do with myself the remainder of the day? I signed book marks and book plates for people who had requested them and got those in the mail, and I also got my steps. By the way, sometime around noon yesterday I crossed over into 12,000,000-step territory. That number accounts for a little over five years of walking 10,000 steps a day, seven days a week, and it weights in a little over 5 miles a day. Total mileage right now is 5,750 miles. And I’ve kept off th 65 pounds I lost when I first started walking.

Maybe Miss Grumpy pants is doing an encore at the moment, but there’s a local TV commercial that gets my goat. It’s an ad for a senior living development, and in it one old guy says to several others, “Hey, I got my 40,000 steps today.” No, I don’ t think so. That would mean he would have walked at least twenty miles. What that tells me is that whoever wrote that script has no idea what it actually takes to get those 10,000 steps. But I digress.

So what am I doing to celebrate publication day on the first day of this virtual tour? For one thing, I had to roll out of bed at 8:05—early for me—because we had workmen coming. So far, I’ve answered email, made breakfast, got today’s ten thousand steps, and had a haircut. Next up is take Bill to PT, stop at the bank, and be back home in time for the Poisoned Pen event at 7:00 PM. (By the way, if you missed it, you should still be able to view it on line.). But before the event, here’s what’s going to happen. Bill and I will have dinner at our usual time, and when the evening is over, I’ll be sleeping in my very own bed. And why’s that important? I’m about to tell you, because here’s a glimpse of fifty-some pub dates past.

Book tours may now be things of the Pandemic past, but they were always wonderful and terrible at the same time. In the days before books hit the shelves, I’d track down a haircut and a mani/pedi and load up my luggage with enough clothing, makeup, and electronics to support my being on the road for three weeks at a time, give or take.

Book tours sound glamorous, but they entail a lot of work. For a typical one, I’d have to negotiate multiple airports and multiple flights that often included weather-related flight delays. I remember being stranded in Atlanta one night. The airline supposedly had rooms for us, but that didn’t happen. Eventually, I flagged down a Hilton bus. The driver told me the hotel was booked, but I didn’t care. I went inside, threw my Hilton Honors self on the mercy of the desk clerk, and ended up spending the night on a cot in the dining room area of the hotel’s presidential suite.

Book tours usually mean hopping from time zone to time zone with wild abandon, without ever staying in any one place long enough for your body to adjust. Staying in a hotel for two days at a time is like being on vacation because it’s the only chance there is to have laundry done. So you end up going to bed in strange beds every night, trying to sleep and then needing to wake up at odd hours. That’s especially true if your body’s usual time zone is Pacific and you have an early morning flight on the East Coast!

Book tours also mean eating at odd hours—before, after, or between events. At luncheon speaking events, while being seated at a head table, that usually means not eating at all because my host or hostess would spend the entire meal asking me questions the answers to which were most likely going to be suppled in my subsequent talk. As for the meals? Some of the one on offer were more than slightly questionable. I’m thinking especially of the dinner we had years ago at one of Seattle’s now long-defunct biker bars!

Most on-tour days were booked with multiple events. Each one takes an hour’s worth of speaking as well as an additional hour of signing books and greeting fans. Are you tired yet? The truth of the matter is, I’m getting tired just writing all this down, and it’s also bringing out my IGP—Inner Grumpy Pants. On tour, the comment I dread most is some sweet faced woman who smiles at me sympathetically and says, “My dear, you look SO tired!” Considering everything I’ve just told you, why the hell wouldn’t I be? And no matter how annoyed you are, it’s important to be polite to the people who tell you how awful you look, because the fan standing in line behind her will be eager to pass the word along if the author exhibits the least bit of annoyance.

So although I still prefer speaking to live audiences as opposed to virtual ones, I’m coming around . I’ve looked at the upcoming schedule of events. There are lots of them—many in places I’ve never been able to visit in person. That means I have the potential of meeting lots of new readers. But do you know what’s missing from that schedule? Airports, airline flights, hotels, and many, many dodgy meals. And there’s also the welcome prospect of far less wear and tear on these old bones.

So we’re off to the virtual races, folks. Stay tuned for Tales from the Virtual Trail. And where will you find them? As they used to say on old time radio—Tune in next week—same time; same station!

26 thoughts on “A Virtual Pub Day

  1. Wow! You amaze me! We are about the same age. My steps goal is 5900. During our Florida “winter” I manage up to 7000. Now summer has arrived, 5900 isn’t happening much.
    And one more thing, seems like everytime I read one of your books I find a personal “zinger” that just grabs me.

  2. Thank you for an early blog post. I take it from today’s comments that virtual book tours will be the method of marketing in the future. I completely agree with your point of view particularly about the reduction of costs to an author. You also do a wonderful job online it’s obvious that you think about what you’re going to be doing before you do it.

    On the issue of daily steps. In 2017 my daughter gave me a generic step counter. One year later I started to use it. I find both the motivation from counting steps as well as the cumulative effect very helpful.

    I am a former runner and current hiker. I checked my generic Fitbit this morning and since 2018 my cumulative daily average on steps is a little over 19,000. I have a home up here in Flagstaff Arizona so I’m fortunate enough to be able to hike in the Grand Canyon and Mt. Humphreys, the highest mountain in Arizona. When hiking Humphreys I will exceed 25,000 steps and if I hike from the rim to the river in the canyon I will exceed 40,000 steps. So the gentleman who claims an average of 40,000 steps is either overly optimistic or spends 10 to 12hours a day walking at a brisk clip.

    My wife is a fan of David Sedaris. Now only Sedaris knows how much of his writing is real and how much is exaggerated. My wife mentioned to me once that David Sedaris walks a lot. I found this article in which Sedaris describes his obsession with walking. Having a bit of an obsessive personality I can relate to that aspect of his walking. Only he knows how true the progression to 60,000 steps a day is.


  3. The other upside to virtual tours besides reaching areas your couldn’t before is the smaller carbon footprint by not flying, driving.
    I miss seeing you in person and getting my picture taken with you but I’d rather see you virtually and have you rested and happy.
    When someone writes about the good old days on social media, about how great they were I think, yes it was great but now is even better. What I would have given to be able to have FaceTime or zoomed with my grandparents, cousins and all my long gone favorite authors.
    Most authors don’t come into my area, they usually go to “bigger” cities like Los Angles or San Diego and when they do I can’t always make it to events due to family, work or financial obligations. I’m loving all these virtual events.
    Some may not agree but I prefer to look on the happy side, find the silver lining, I’m that type of gal. The only consistent thing in life is change, you learn to roll with it or get rolled over.
    My kids have taken my lessons of being flexible to a new bar by attending virtual learning, and meetings early on, even before the pandemic, making good use of the advancements in technology.
    My daughter didn’t let her 20 minute mandatory work meeting disrupt her day on the lake last year. She zoomed from her shade raft on the river and ten minutes after the meeting she was back to paddle boarding with her friends.

  4. You just made me commit to get back to my walking schedule after a week of rainy cays postponed it.

  5. Unfinished Business was wonderful! I so enjoyed the characters and then my favorite character, JP Beaumont was included? The best! I have a neighbor that is now reading your books because of the Virus. She’s handicapped and our library was closed for over a year. I was happy to lend her books plus get you another follower. Great book.

    • Can’t believe your neighbor hasn’t tried audiobooks. Audiobooks are how I found Beau and Ali and Joanna.
      After in libraries for over 30 years and inhaling books, I love being able to borrow books at any time of the day or night.
      Hopefully, her library has digital borrowing which includes Kindles.

  6. I hope you won’t mind my telling about another author, but it is a funny story. This happened in the late 70s before authors toured very much.

    Arlene Francis used to have a talk show on radio station WOR in New York each weekday morning. I listened while driving to college classes. One morning her guest was Wayne Dyer an unknown author who was driving around the country with a trunk full of his first book getting interviews wherever he could.

    He was such a positive happy person that I decided I’d buy his book the first chance I had. One thing he said was “I’m losing my hair. Should I worry?”

    I stopped in a bookstore. There was a copy of his book. He was as bald as a bowling ball. I started laughing. The clerk was a bit worried until I explained what he had said on the radio.

    Of course, we know he went on to have a very successful career as a writer.

    I’m glad you can do your publicity from home even tho I know you miis meeting yourreaders.

    • I only came around to like Arlene Frances on youtube re-runs. My dad ruled the roost when I was a kid so we didn’t watch the game shows on TV, though I knew of her. She really was quite a witty and smart woman.

  7. food–always a problem if you have allergies or intolerances. and food in strange places, even worse. I became a vegan for health reasons (Forks Over Knives video, I recommend it). Being a vegan makes eating out even more problematic! But I don’t care, because I like what I am doing.

    I read the new Ali book the day it came out. I loved it. No surprise!!!!

  8. Finished, Unfinished Business. Good reading. Two comments, and forgive me if I am being critical, after all this is fiction and most anything goes. First, can a person travel across state lines without parol officers consent? Second, how can there be foot prints from home to shed if there was snow overnight, which what I believe officer says to Broomy. Again, please forgive me for being a jerk!

  9. Oh, Judy, I am amazed as everyone else at the number of steps you take each day! You are the most dedicated and determined person I know. To lose and keep off 65 pounds is such a fabulous feat. Anyone can lose weight, but to keep it off is the hard part. I speak from experience.
    I totally understand why you would enjoy the virtual tours just from all the time and exertion required otherwise. I am plain & simply selfish when I yearn for the live and in-person tours.
    A day in the life of Judy Jance is exhausting. After reading today’s blog I’m going to sit here and have another cup of coffee.

  10. I’m hoping that in the next few months I can get back to having a step goal. All of that is on the back-burner until I figure out whether or not I need hip surgery. I’ll know that in the next week and a half. I can’t wait to not hurt anymore.. One question. How does one become a beta reader?

  11. Unfinished Business was great. Especially liked Mateo and assume we will hear more about him in the future. And, even though they are difficult, sure hope to see you at a book tour in Seattle–at least it is close to home and you can sleep in your own bed!!!

  12. Just completed Unfinished Business and I think it’s now one of my favorites! I cried in the sad parts, felt shocked at the gruesome parts, laughed at things Beau said, and was so happy with the ending! Your books are truly superb reads! I can’t wait for the next one!
    You have inspired me with your step count! It’s an effort for me to get going (I’m 71 with two arthritic knees and one knee replacement) but I’m not giving up! Thank you and happy virtual trails to you!

  13. I love all your books. I can’t wait to get the new ones. I have read all of Ali’s books. Now I’m going back and reading all of Joanna’s and J.P.’s books. I meet you one time in Tucson. Thank you for everything you do!!

  14. I have always wondered why you put yourself through those tours. I take the Maynard G. Krebbs attitude about them. WORK!
    You look marvelous!

  15. Jet lag is something that has never really bothered me. Having gone around the world twice and gone to Tokyo and Sydney on what were basically glorified weekends, I have had some experience. Maneuvering through airports and taking multiple flights is also never really concerned me. I actually get kind of exhilarated traveling. It is weird as most of the time I am very much a home body but when I travel I can go, go, go. Congratulations on the new book and keeping up those steps! Enjoy your week!

  16. I have pushed myself a couple of days, and one day I got in 20,000 steps, another day I got in 22,000, I know how hard that was, so 40,000, I don’t think so either!! So I think that I will settle for my 10,000.

    • As I said above, whoever wrote the script for that commercial has never done 10,000 to say nothing of 40,000!

  17. Oh I just finished “Unfinished Business.” I loved it and shed lots of tears. It was beautiful. I feel like I know all of the characters and I love all of them. Thank you for a wonderful 2 days I was reading it.

  18. Judy, you are one impressive lady. That is a grueling schedule. And with time changes? Wow!

  19. Thanks for another interesting and enlightening blog. I’m glad you are doing virtual book tours. It’s maybe selfish of me but I want you around for a long time so I always have a new JA book to look forward to. You mentioned that Bill is doing PT. I hope he’s doing okay. Of course at our age PT is a good for all of us, whether doctor ordered or not. I just downloaded the new Ali book. I’m starting it this evening. Now I can put on hold re-reading other authors series, for lack of something worth reading.

  20. Loved Unfinshed Business, I think it one of the best on this series! Wanted you to know your new year’s blog about the 10,000 steps got me to pull out a fitbit I received the previous year and I’ve exceeded 10,000 steps almost every day since! Looking forward to next JP book and happy to see him in this one.

  21. I just joined your list. I just learned about.
    Easy Al from Bellevue
    I’m sure that Bill won’t remember me but he should be your walking buddy.

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