Saturday, February 13, 2010
Treasure of the Salvation Army
Who says you can't find interesting things at the Salvation Army? I'm not major frequenter, but I enjoy the hodgepodge, the hope of finding a small lost treasure. Mainly, I like to see if there is anything utilitarian that might enhance the ambiance of my apartment.
Usually, I ransack the book section. It's amazing what gets tossed for junk. Some of it is clearly sub-junk.
While I was debating whether or not to appropriate a second edition Robert Bly book of poems for 79 cents I came across what seemed to be an uncorrected proof of Elizabeth George's new novel "The Body of Death" which is slated for release this Spring. Seven hundred Xerox-copied pages topped with a flimsy mimeographed cover. It had the contact info for the editor associated with the book. Now I'm not dumb enough to think this was some lone copy. Obviously, a pre-publicity campaign had been launched. Copies sent out to all the usual suspects: newspapers, radio stations, C-SPAN, Oprah, Charlie Rose, The View, etc.
What did strike me as interesting though was the 6 city tour marked on the inside of the book. Six cities. Hmmm. I considered all the top cities recently touted as the cultural meccas of the universe: Vienna, Vancouver, Toronto, Paris, Berlin, Melbourne. But no, there were only 6 American cities listed: New York, Philadelphia, Boston, Chicago, San Francisco, and Seattle.
To be sure, this was a pretty decent start, but what Portland, Minneapolis, Santa Fe, San Antonio, Cincinnati, Providence. And what about Canada? I was shocked to see such a small book tour for such an established best seller. I mean, all by mysef I pieced together 8 and half cities. On my dime of course, but still this sort of frightened me.
I recently read that the Beatles in the latter part of the sixties did little touring. One year in fact the Beatles capitalized on a rumor that Paul McCartney died in a car crash. Everybody was stoned those years so the brains behind the band cooked up psychedelic messages on the records when played backwards.
Now in this globalized mobile home-office world of infinite hours PR people have been paid to cut corners. I imagine this is why Elizabeth George, as big as she is, doesn't need to globetrot unless for her own self-needy peregrinations. I actually called up the PR person. Why the hell not? I wouldn't mind a bit of help on my own Shades of Luz campaign. She never called me back, but she did respond to my email and said that if I was so inclined I could keep the uncorrected proof of the book. I never actually bought it.
I picked up a copy of Robert Bly instead.