I’m in Cincinnati at the moment, enjoying a visit to the city where one of the more momentous events in my professional life happened 12 years ago. I was on book tour for HARVEST, my first hardcover thriller. And here in this city, I learned that I’d hit the New York Times bestseller list for the very first time. For that reason, Cincinnati will always hold a special place in my heart.
Another reason it’s a favorite place for me is that I get the chance to catch up with a media escort who’s been with me every time I’ve visited the Cincy-Dayton area. Just to be clear, I’m talking MEDIA escort, not escort as in ESCORT service, a difference which sometimes leads to amusing misconceptions about what it is, exactly, authors do on the road. Media escorts are generally hired by the publisher to make authors’ lives easier on the road. They drive us around, take us to interviews and bookstores, feed us, pamper us, and make sure we’re not going psychotic. A good media escort is like a surrogate mommy, and Kathy T. is one of the best, a woman who’s also become a friend. She and I can’t remember how many times we’ve been together, but I think it’s been at least five times, and over the years we’ve shared stories about our kids and our marriages and our personal crises. She’s watched me mellow over the years, since my first few releases. I started off as a nervous author, worried about my very survival in the publishing world. Now I’m feeling a little more confident, and know that what matters is simply that I write good books, and leave the sales to good luck, which is sometimes what it comes down to.
Over the years, after twelve book tours, I’ve come to know many great media escorts around the country. They’re the familiar faces waiting at airport baggage claim, the friendly voices on the phone, the helpful life-savers who’ll sometimes even offer to launder your suitcase of dirty clothes, time permitting.
So here’s a big thanks to all the escorts who make life on the road a pleasure for authors. We don’t always remember to send you thank-you notes (because usually we get home and realize we don’t have either your email or your mailing addresses!) But we couldn’t do it without you.