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Duff McKagan's column runs every Thursday on Reverb. His sports column on runs every Wednesday.
A many of you very well know, I am


Ain't No Business Like Book Business

Thumbnail image for duffmckaganitssoeasy.jpg
Duff McKagan's column runs every Thursday on Reverb. His sports column on runs every Wednesday.
A many of you very well know, I am a die-hard and hardcore book-nerd. Some of you may also be aware that I have been writing a book over the last year or so. The book, It's So Easy, is done, and has a release date now of October 4, 2011.

Cool enough. But now all of real fun begins. It is time now, for me and Touchstone/ Simon & Schuster, to actually go out and try to sell this book to all of the different booksellers out there.

Book Expo America has been taking place in New York all week. This is a closed convention, where all of the different large and small publishers show their new wares to buyers like Barnes & Noble, Borders, Amazon, Costco, Target, Hudson (you know, the stores at the airports), as well as all of the independent bookstores like Elliott Bay, Powell's, and the like.

For my book--and what is a common practice--they made up what's called a "catalogue copy"; mine is the first 9 chapters and the prologue to my book. It's pretty cool to actually see all of my solitary work actually coming to an endgame.

The night before my signing at the Expo, my senior editor and her staff at Simon & Schuster threw a cocktail party in my honor at a fancy restaurant in Manhattan called Lamb (so damn posh, right?). It was actually one of the sweetest things I've ever been too.

The publishing community is VERY different from the music community...or probably to be more exact--the publishing community is like some wonderfully kitschy and nerdy indie movie. The mood and personality that filled the room at this cocktail party in my honor was really not unlike the mood that we strike here in the comments section of this column: Interesting, thoughtful, smart, nerdy, and diverse.

I have been trained to be a little (OK, a LOT) dubious of rock and roll press. They always want "the dirt," or are looking for some snidely and wise-ass way to catch me off-guard or mis-quote me so that it seems much bolder and dumber than the things that they actually ask me about. And there was press at this cocktail party.

I quickly pulled my editor to the side and frantically told here that I didn't know that the press would be here at this party, and that I didn't want to talk to them at the risk of being miss-quoted for the umpteenth time. She looked at me quizzically, and stated that "The publishing press would never dream of doing something like that!" Yeah, I guess Kirkus Reviews and the book side of Associated Press and whatnot, just don't want the dirt. The publishing industry, it turns out, is just still a quaint little field, that is still in the business of actually being excited about new things, and press and all of the different publishing companies are still in the business of helping each other out. They want their industry to be strong, and there just really doesn't seem to be any sort of under-handedness and BS happening behind the scenes. This may seem like a bold statement from a neophyte like me, but I am pretty sure that I am right on this fact.

At dinner after the party, I sat with a few of the mucky-mucks from S&S. We were talking about books we had been reading. I had just finished One Bullet Away by Nate Fick, and one of the gentlemen that I was sitting with had edited that book. Yeah, that's right, for a book nerd like me, that was like sitting with the guy who had just produced the latest Rolling Stones record. Pretty cool.

At the Book Expo, I signed copies of my 'catalogue copy' for a thronging line of like-minded book nerds. There were a lot of people from other publishing companies, book buyers for larger and small stores, and librarians (even one from our own downtown Seattle Public Library).

The one big difference--and I must say that I WAS a tad crestfallen--was that none of them asked for me to sign their tits.

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