Last week something very exciting happened to me: my book
came out. Stuffed!, written by me and
drawn by Nick Bertozzi, was published on September 1st, and since I’m not one
of your prolific, established authors like Philip Roth or Rachael Ray, to me it
was a big day. So big, in fact, that I
decided to go down to my local Barnes & Noble so I could see for myself the
first time someone came in to buy a copy.
Naturally I took notes throughout the day – you never know what you’ll
need for your memoirs – and rereading them that night, I thought: I bet my
fans would love to see these. So here’s
my journal of Stuffed!’s first day.
Sept. 1st, 8:50 AM.
Arrive at Barnes & Noble ten minutes before it opens. Obviously I’m a little overeager, but I’m not
the only one who’s here early. There’s
also a gaggle of five 12-year-old girls and a man with his hand wrapped in a
9:00. A Barnes &
Noble staffer unlocks the door and, before they can ask, informs the girls that
there’s still no new Twilight book and they should stop coming by every
morning. They talk it over and decide
that they might as well go to school, since it’s the first day and all. Guy with wrapped hand asks whether anyone has
written a book called Finger Reattachment Surgery for Dummies, and if so, is
there an audio edition? He’s having
trouble turning pages. Without waiting
to hear the answer, I scoot upstairs to the Graphic Novels section
9:01. There they are:
two copies of Stuffed! Only two? They must not have unpacked the rest of the
order yet. But anyway, these two are
right there on the shelf!… the
next-to-the-bottom shelf. Why so
low? Then I see the little sign
explaining that the books are arranged alphabetically by title. That explains why Stuffed! is next to the
first entry in Frank Miller’s new series, Sin City Preschool: Corpse in the
But that shelf is so low… what if I just move one copy of Stuffed!
to a higher shelf where casual browsers will see it? Maybe up at the top there between Batman: The
Haunted Dark Knight and Batman: The Night of Dark Hauntings.
9:05. I realize that
it probably won’t matter where Stuffed! is shelved, because I’ll be right here
when buyers come in and I can just show them where it is. And since this is publication day, pent-up
demand means these two copies will probably sell in the next five minutes.
10:10. Okay, no
buyers have come in. One guy did stop by
and thumb through a copy of Watchmen: The Annotated Guide to the non-Dolby
Version of the Movie Trailer, but where are my fans? I know they’re a cultured bunch, so I can
think of only two possible explanations: either 1) they’ve all gone to the
opening of the new African and Oceanic sculpture exhibit at the Met, or 2) Spencer
Gifts is having a sale on Beer Pong balls.
10:38. I’m now
convinced that Stuffed!’s placement on a low shelf is not only keeping my
readers from finding the book; somehow, it’s keeping them from finding the
Graphic Novels section at all. The urge
to move the two copies up to eye level grows almost overpowering. But what if one of my wheelchair-bound fans
catches me and interprets it as an act of prejudice against the differently
11:00. I’ve got
it: I’ll leave both copies on the ‘S’
shelf where they are, but remove all the other books from that shelf and