Sunday, December 07, 2008

Back from New York, recuperating

Today is the first day in about three weeks that I can take a breather, relax, and reflect on all that has happened since Towers of Gold was released a little more than three weeks ago.

All I can say is: wow!

I never expected this response. I never expected to have so much fun. I never expected to be so tired.

A few highlights:

I went to A Great Good Place for Books in Oakland last night (Dec. 6) As soon as I walked in, Kathleen, the owner told me she had sold more than 30 copies of Towers of Gold just that day.

By 7:15 the store was so full it was standing room only. We had to delay the talk so people could buy books. It was a great crowd who knew a lot about California history.

In contrast, I spoke earlier in the day at the San Francisco Public Library. I think that talk set the record for the number of people it put to sleep.

On Sunday, the Chronicle named Towers of Gold a Literary Pick and called it a “superb biography.” Wow again.

In New York, I was a guest on the Joe Franklin radio show.

Joe Franklin is a show biz personality. He hosted one of the first TV talk shows, which ran on television for 40 years. He apparently has interviewed more than 300,000 people. He now has a daily radio show on Bloomberg Radio's "Lifestyles" segment.

For some reason, Franklin invited me to be on his radio show. I entered the studio to find a man in his 90s who was as charming and personable a person as I have ever met. He told me had had interviewed Charlie Chaplin, five presidents and now me! What a sweetheart.

Other observations:

Worst attended talk: SF State. There were six people in the room, including me. One was the professor who invited me, one was the book seller, leaving three members of the audience. Oh well. At least two bought books.

Best attended: At Rancho Los Alamitos in Long Beach, CA. There were about 110 people in the audience. I don’t think anyone fell asleep. This was a rancho that Isaias Hellman bought with partners in 1881. The people there really knew their history. This one was pure pleasure.

The one that made me most proud: The Huntington Library, hands down.

The most informative talk: At the California Historical Society. The wonderful staff of the North Baker Library went through my book and brought out documents I had cited. Those attending could see Hellman’s report card from Germany, letters to his wife and son, and much more.

The most jarring moment: Going from the glow of discovering I was on the San Francisco Chronicle best seller list to my agent’s office on Park Avenue in New York City. As soon as I walked in I realized that as well as my book was doing in California, no one was noticing it in New York. Not that my agent wasn’t enthusiastic. But I could tell.

I was also an Amazon addict for a while. The review of Towers of Gold came out in the Los Angeles Times on Saturday Nov. 29 and the San Francisco Chronicle review came out on Sunday Nov. 30. After that, (and before, if I am honest) I was addicted to Amazon, something that authors are warned against. I will share, though.

Sunday Nov. 16, in the morning, five days after Towers of Gold is released, with minimal press attention: Sales Rank: #9,108 in Books

Sunday Nov. 24th in the evening, after appearing on the Larry Mantle Show, an NPR show in Los Angeles: Sales Rank: #2,944 in Books

Nov. 30, in the morning, a day aftter the review in the LA Times Sales Rank: #2,166 in Books

Later that same day, after the SF Chronicle review: Sales Rank: #1,179 in Books

Around 5:24 pm eastern time: Sales Rank: #1,106 in Books

Around 10:10 pm eastern time: Sales Rank: #669 in Books

That's the highest i got, but I think it's pretty good.

It’s not over. I talk at Clayton Books on Tuesday and then at Metropolis Books in Los Angeles on Thursday.


ed said...

FYI. You probably would have received at least one additional radio interview in New York, had publicists at St. Martin's bothered to return my emails.

Peter Richardson said...

I got mine! Yesterday in Sonoma ... a signed copy.