I went to lunch with a bunch of old friends from my running days today. I thought I'd be doing my first book signing, too, but no one had bought the book yet! Oh well, I had a sample copy to pass around that maybe helped the fence-sitters decide to buy. Like I said, "Well, it's got great maps and some nice pictures, even if the writing is crap!"
Next on my agenda after lunch (it wasn't really lunch for me since I didn't eat, but I watched others eat) was a survey of downtown book stores. First I went to Borders on State Street, which had six or seven copies of my book on the shelf. Then I went to After-words, an independent store across the street from the American Medical Association, where I used to consult. They didn't have it. I had hoped to dazzle the owner with my sample copy, but she wasn't there. Instead, someone gave me her business card and suggested that I e-mail her about it.
After eating lunch for real, I headed into Borders on Michigan Avenue, a huge store that does tons of business, probably more than any other book store in the city though I can't prove it. I was happy to see six or seven copies of my book there. I was less happy to see a hardcover edition on the bargain table of a book I had just purchased for full price in paperback at After-words. On the bright side, I had a credit balance at After-words from selling them used books, so at least I didn't hand over twice as much cash for the paperback (it's weak, but it's all I've got so humor me). Next I went to Barnes & Noble on Rush Street. That store had three copies of my book with the cover facing outward. I hopped on the L and rode home, stopping at The Book Cellar (which isn't actually in a cellar, for what it's worth), my nearest store. I explained that I was a local author with a new book, and the cashier had me leave a note for the owner with my name and number.
So the bottom line is that the big chains have it, which bodes well. Most people who don't buy it online will look for it at Borders or Barnes & Noble, and they should find it. Plus people who don't know about it can discover it while browsing there. I'll have to work on the independents, but all in all, I'm happy. I feared that it wasn't in any stores!
By the way, it took a couple of weeks, but Amazon.com has the cover photo now, as you can see to the right.