Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Publication Day

I planned to blog early this morning, but the hotel phones and internet were dead. I used my cell phone to call the front desk, where someone explained that they were upgrading their system and nothing was working. When I asked why they hadn't done it at at 3.00 am, she said that was when it had had started, and they'd be done in half an hour. (When I left the hotel, about half an hour later, she said they'd be done by 4.00pm). High tech works so well, when it works, but when it goes wrong it goes so wrong.

Saturday was wonderful and a bit daunting: I had seven lines of people to get through. The festival estimate was that I signed for about 1400 people, some of them in the rain. (The rainbow was fairly wonderful.) I was given a Panda at one point, and also heckled by someone who turned out to be my friend Brian Henson, on his way across the Mall to give a talk at the Smithsonian. The Henson exhibition goes until the 5th of October, looks marvellous, and I wish I'd been able to see it.)

The Festival officially ended at 5.00 pm, and there were still about a hundred people waiting, so I got up, picked up a pen, and scurried down the line, scribbling on opened books and apologising for not personalising things, and then we were done. It was an adventure, signing for people with a broken finger, but it definitely made me happy that this is now a reading tour...

Neil! You deserve lots of credit and general applause for taking care of the long, damp line at the National Book fair this year. I was at the tail end of the sixth line (there were seven) and plenty of folks around me were worried that you wouldn't get to them but based on my two previous encounters with you, I assured them that you would NOT let them down. I hope your hand didn't hurt too much, it had to be a bit awkward signing with that finger splint on! Thanks again - good luck on the rest of the tour!


...which I post because, truth to tell, I wasn't certain that I'd be able to do it all either.

Today... I got briefed on all the things that are happening. The new incarnation of the website has gone live and is filled with all sorts of wonders and marvels. (And, more importantly, no more flash animation.) (Except possibly for the Graveyard Book Sudoku.) (The Graveyard Book Screensaver is currently Mac only, because AVAST on my computer was convinced it contained a Trojan, and while it didn't, and no-one else's viruscheckers saw anything wrong, Harpers wanted to make sure that no-one with Avast would have to worry about whether there was a Trojan in the mix.)

The videos of the chapters of the Graveyard Book Chapters will go live one or two days after the reading. With luck we can get them up quickly enough that the people at the end of the tour will be completely up-to-date...

Dear Neil/Mr. Gaiman,
You mentioned in your journal that perhaps you weren't "trying hard enough" to make it on the Banned Books list. You were probably joking, but I just wanted to ask what exactly you meant by "trying hard enough". Does it mean that in order to "try hard enough" you have to write about controversial things that you don't believe in? Unchallenged books are just as valuable as the ones that are; it's just a difference in subject matter. A book with "offending" material is just as important as one with material that more people accept. I just wanted to know your opinion on this.

Well, partly I was joking, and partly I was very serious. You know you're doing something that matters when people start trying to ban it. When the American Family Assocation and the "Concerned Mothers of America" wrote to tell us that they had blacklisted Sandman, I figured I was doing something right.

Who decides which stores will sponsor your tour appearances? Is it the publisher? I ask this because I had planned to take my wife and kids to your appearance this week at the Tivoli Theatre in Downers Grove, Illinois. However when I called for tickets, I was told by an Anderson's bookstore representative that in order to get a ticket EACH ONE OF US needed to purchase your book--and also pay $5 for each ticket.

Since I can't afford $100 and don't need four copies of your book, I've had to cut my wife and son out of Thursday's event. I looked through the rest of your appearances and it doesn't seem like buying a copy of the book is a prerequisite in any other city.

If Anderson's is trying to recoup their costs for staging this event at the Tivoli, I'd like to appeal to whomever plans your next tour to either go with a larger bookseller or ask Anderson's to find a less costly venue that would allow families in with tickets and one purchased book.

According to Harpers, there's some miscommunication somewhere -- no-one is trying to make families buy multiple copies of The Graveyard Book. That would be silly (and mean). I think this should have been sorted out with Anderson's, so if you call them again you shouldn't have any trouble getting your wife and son in.

Hi! I'm going to your reading in Philadelphia on Wednesday, and I just called the number for Border's on your website and they told me that the event starts at 5:00, not 6:00 (which is what your website says). The guy at Border's said "There are going to be a lot of disappointed people" so I thought I'd give you a heads up. Looking forward to seeing you whatever time it starts.

According to Elyse at Harpers, "6pm. Definitely 6pm. Doors open at 5pm, perhaps that's where the confusion was." And given that Borders has it up on their website as starting at 6.00pm, I would not worry...


I could have sworn I got an email from Author Tracker telling me that your Graveyard Book readings in the states would be broadcast on the interweb. However, now when I try to look up a link for the broadcasts, the interweb assures me that I must have dreamt the whole thing.

Did I imagine it? If not, do you have the link? I was really looking forward to my first experience with the book being you reading it...


I don't think the link to that page -- which will be somewhere on -- has been posted yet. I'd keep an eye on as a likely place, if I were you, and an eye on this journal as I'll post the actual location as soon as it's live.

Oh god. It's 1:30. Right. Done.