I have returned. For a week. And then I’m off to Portland, Oregon to continue my attempt at a “Year of the Dog” tour.
And how has it been? Well, as a “Year of the Dog” promotional tour, I’d have to say it leaning towards the failure end. And oddly, not for lack of interest or fans. The schools I visited had ordered their books months ago and since “Year of the Dog” was not scheduled for release until Feb., didn’t order any. And the bookseller at the Chinese New Year event had never had an author come before, so conservatively brought only 25 copies of the book to sell. They were gone in a flash. I was a tiny bit annoyed as I had traveled a LONG way for the event and the attendance was 700+ people. A lot more books could’ve been sold. But the book people knew that and were very nice, so I gave myself a mental slap for being a snot (on the inside). It would've been horrible if none or only some of the books had sold, so even if I wasn’t quite satisfied, best to be grateful.
However, as an exercise in ego gratification, the tour is already phenomenal success. Nothing is more touching or rewarding then seeing hundreds of the cutest Asian girls looking at you with stars in their eyes. And having their parents say, “She LOVES your books. She sleeps with “The Ugly Vegetables” at night and we’ve read “Dim Sum For Everyone!” so many times that the binding is worn out.” And to hear it not once, but a number of times. It’s a heady experience, one that is uplifting and humbling at the same time.
I have grumbled and griped about my lack of success, judging it on coveted awards, promotional budgets and envy of peers. But, in the presence of my youngest devotees, those complaints are disgraceful. Yes, of course this is a business, of course I need to make money. But that’s not the reason I became a children’s book creator. The ability to connect with children is.
So, with those thoughts soothing my irritated soul, the tour will continue…and perhaps (if I am lucky) I’ll get to sell some book on the way!