That’s the rate I was able to sign books.Â I had no idea I was that fast.
A few days, I blogged about getting stuck in an airport en route to Chicago.Â Â The reason IÂ flew to Chicago was to visit theÂ warehouse ofÂ Levy, a national book distributor in Romeoville, IL, that supplies mass market books to a huge number of retail outlets.Â But because of storms in the Chicago area,Â my flight was cancelled (after an 8-hour delay) and IÂ ended up stuck overnight in Portland Maine.Â But the next day, by some miracle, I managed to fly out and got to my destination about nineteen hours late.Â I went straight from O’Hare to the Levy warehouse, where I was greeted with this sign:
I was then ushered into the cafeteria, where I was confronted with a table covered with booksÂ to be autographed.
1500 copies of a single title.Â That’s what you’reÂ seeing in this photo.Â And that was just a quarter of the books waiting to be signed.Â The man in the photo is Jerry Wujcik from Random House sales.Â I’m sorry he’s so hard to see in this photo becauseÂ he looks exactly like Harrison Ford.Â Â Trust me, he does.
I sat down and got to work.Â With the assistance of some great guys from Levy, who kept the books moving,Â we got a mini-assembly line going.Â (The guys kept muttering under their breath, in Spanish: “Wow, she’s fast.”) Â In about six hours, I was able to sign 6,000 paperback copies of four of my backlist titles: THE SINNER, BODY DOUBLE, VANISH, and THE MEPHISTO CLUB.Â These will be distributed to varous retailers.
People always ask me if I ever get writer’s cramp, and the truth is, I never have.Â Not even during this marathon signing session.Â I managed to keep going, at a rate of oneÂ book every 3.8 seconds, but I admit that my signature began to deteriorate.Â By the end of it, it was lookingÂ pretty wormy.Â But I guarantee that if you pick up a paperback with anÂ autograph sticker on it,Â I did indeed sign it.Â Even if it’s the sloppiestÂ signature you ever saw.
When the signing was all over, here’s what the finished product looked like in the warehouse: 6,000 copies boxed for shipment.Â And that’s my super-efficient team standing with me:
Why fly all the way to Chicago to sign books?Â The answer is clear: readers love signed books.
I don’t have the hard facts here, but one person in the book industry told me that an autographed book sells five times faster than an unsigned book.Â That alone makes a trip to a distributor a very worthwhile visit indeed!