Clicking on banner ads enables JWR to constantly improve
Jewish World Review Sept. 12, 2002 / 6 Tishrei, 5762

Art Buchwald

Art Buchwald
JWR's Pundits
World Editorial
Cartoon Showcase

Mallard Fillmore

Michael Barone
Mona Charen
Linda Chavez
Ann Coulter
Greg Crosby
Larry Elder
Don Feder
Suzanne Fields
James Glassman
Paul Greenberg
Bob Greene
Betsy Hart
Nat Hentoff
David Horowitz
Marianne Jennings
Michael Kelly
Mort Kondracke
Ch. Krauthammer
Lawrence Kudlow
Dr. Laura
John Leo
Michelle Malkin
Jackie Mason
Chris Matthews
Michael Medved
Kathleen Parker
Wes Pruden
Sam Schulman
Amity Shlaes
Roger Simon
Tony Snow
Thomas Sowell
Cal Thomas
Jonathan S. Tobin
Ben Wattenberg
George Will
Bruce Williams
Walter Williams
Mort Zuckerman

Consumer Reports

Signing books is half the fun | It is not as easy to sell a book as one might think. The honorable and ethical writer will degrade and humiliate himself, sell his soul to the sales department of his publisher or the devil, or both.

This is one day in the life of an author who will remain nameless, and these are his notes:

11:30 a.m. Arrive at bookstore. Books are on a bridge table in back of the store. Asked if they would move the table to the front. Manager says it's never done but he will make an exception.

11: 45 a.m. Sit at table with four pens. Ask manager if he read the book. He says, "No, I can't read every book in the store."

12:00 p.m. Told manager to have his security guard stand next to me when I sign books because my fans can get unruly.

12:15 p.m. Awfully quiet in the store. One lady comes up to me and asks where the Martha Stewart books are. "I don't know. Would you like to buy this book? It's more sexy than Martha Stewart." She sniffs and moves on.

12:30 p.m. Asked manager if he was sure he advertised in the newspaper. He replies, "Of course I did. There is no sense having a book signing if no one hears about it." The manager tells the security guard he is no longer needed.

12:45 p.m. A man comes up to the table and picks up a book. He opens and reads the jacket and then looks at me. I'm very excited - I have a live one. Then he starts to read a chapter. Then he looks at me again. Then he puts the book down and walks away. A deadbeat if I ever saw one.

1 p.m. A lady comes by with her 10-year-old son. She says to him, "You see that man sitting there? He is a writer. Not like the Harry Potter books, but still a writer."

The son asks, "Can we buy his book?"

The mother says, "It's not for children. But you can get his autograph in case someday he becomes famous, like Dr. Seuss."

1:15 p.m. Man comes up to table and says, "Do you remember me?" I say, "I think so." He says, "Then what is my name?"

"I'm thinking," I say.

"VMF-113. Marine Corps. World War II. We slept in the same tent."

"Of course. How could I forget? You're Drum."

"No I'm not. I'm Sullivan."

"Right. How about buying a book?"

"How about giving me a complimentary one for old times' sake?"

The manager says, as he watches me sign it, "That will be charged to you."

2 p.m. I say to manager, "I might as well sign the unsold copies."

The manager says, "You can't do that. If you sign them, we can't send them back to your publisher."

I say, "Thanks for asking me to the store."

He says, "Thanks for coming. As we say in the book business, You win some and you lose some."

By coincidence, Mr. Buchwald has a new book in stores titled "We'll Laugh again."

Like this writer's work? Why not sign-up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Comment on JWR contributor Art Buchwald's column by clicking here.

09/10/02: To lose one's center
09/05/02: Moot court
08/29/02: I spy-you-spy
08/27/02: No smoking --- I love you
08/23/02: Ashes to ashes
08/14/02: Wall Street good news
08/09/02: Things in my attic
08/01/02: Damage control
08/01/02: Another icon
07/30/02: Draft all the lawyers
07/25/02: House for rent
07/23/02: Doin' time
07/19/02: The loophole game
07/16/02: Money as a game
07/11/02: Just desserts
07/02/02: So you want to win?
06/19/02: Homeland security parking
06/13/02: The Accused
06/11/02: Don't let them know
06/06/02: The FBI changes its ways
06/04/02: RED ALERT
05/28/02: Malice On Purpose: I'm scared!
05/23/02: Barbie Doll
05/21/02: Why Bermuda?
05/19/02: White collar prisons
05/15/02: Those in depression
05/09/02: Mother's Day in the market
05/07/02: Salary negotiations
04/26/02: Homeland security
04/24/02: The greatest breakthrough
04/18/02: Conflict of Interest
04/15/02: The Sign That Couldn't
04/11/02: It's Cherry Blossom Time
04/08/02: The Young Audience
03/31/02: Safe Deposit for Sale
03/26/02: Au Revoir to Soft Money
03/21/02: Andersen Defense Fund?
03/19/02: Celebrity kickers
03/15/02: A Mickey Mouse solution
03/13/02: Shadow government in the sandbox
03/07/02: The Way It Is
03/05/02: Not telling the truth
03/01/02: Book flogging
02/27/02: The players are mad

© 2002, TMS