Monday, November 16, 2015

The TRASHED tour so far

Got a little breather here in the TRASHED book tour madness. The opening leg– the SPX fest in DC, France, the new CXC fest in Columbus, the official US book launch here in Cleveland, then Comics Arts Brooklyn– all flew by without a hitch. Loads of fun. This weekend I'm off to appear at the Miami Book Fest, then I'll wrap up the Fall events with the Genghis Con indy comix fest here in Clevo. After that, everything tails off for the holidays. Stores don't want to schedule events during the Christmas Rush, because they get increased crowds anyways. 

Most book promotion is mostly done online now. I guess the thinking is that's more bang for the buck. No travel expenses and you can reach a lot more people. A lot of stores don't even want to bother with live signings, stores in the US anyways. In Europe, they love signings. What I've noticed more and more here is that if I do a store signing, I'll have a large stack of books waiting for me at the counter, requests for signed books from people who couldn't, or I suspect just couldn't be bothered to, show up during the signing hours. Some times I'll sign more of these books than books for people who show up! It's weird. The signing is over, the shop is closing up, and I"m signing a stack of books for fans I'll never meet. Not much of a payoff for me, but at least the bookstore gets the sales. That's classic America. We can barely be bothered to leave our homes!

So TRASHED just came out here in the US two weeks ago. It's getting a nice amount of press. All the comix sites have written about it, and a few mainstream sites, like Publishers Weekly, which picked it as one of its recommended books of the week, and in Entertainment Weekly, of all places. A few newspapers have reviewed it, those few that still review books. It hasn't gotten the widespread press that MY FRIEND DAHMER enjoyed, but that was a given. That book had the built-in, tempting news peg that media simply couldn't resist. TRASHED? This is just another comic book in the minds of Big Media Inc.

On the radio at WRUW, Cleveland's finest college alternative.
Podcasting with Tech & Comix writer Brian Heater outside Comics Arts Brooklyn.

The reviews have been almost all glowing ones, which is nice. I figured they would be, not to sound like too big a fat head. My garbage stories have always been popular and more well liked than any of my other work, and TRASHED isn't as controversial as MY FRIEND DAHMER, which some parties simply couldn't accept.

I was hoping the New York Times would finally review one of my books, but it doesn't look like that will happen. I'm just not one of the anointed. The Times has never written a single word about MFD, which is on the American Library Association's 100 Greatest Graphic Novels list. The only time the Times wanted to talk to me was after the Charlie Hebdo murders, because I was one of the few American creators with a big presence in France. Oh well.

Line out the door at a Paris bookstore!

Speaking of France, the news from there couldn't be better! TRASHED was released in French a month earlier than the English version. My publisher in Paris was anxious to get it out with plenty of time to sell before Christmas. I guess their shopping season is slightly different than ours, which, of course, doesn't take off until Black Friday. TRASHED got HUGE coverage in the French media, which really surprised me, and shot up the charts. It's already in its 2nd printing! My publisher tells me its selling better, out of the gate, than MON AMI DAHMER (that title sounds so much classier in French, no?). Now, after I won the Angoulême Prize, sales of that book took off, but that's still promising news.

I'll be heading back to France in January, for Angoulême 2016, then staying for the entire month of February, traveling around France and Belgium for signings. No, I'm not particularly worried about terrorism any more than I'm worried about being caught in the crossfire of a gang shootout here in Cleveland.

Then, hopefully, I'll have more signings in as-yet-undetermined cities into the Spring. After that, it's back to work on the next book.  And, no, I haven't decided what that will be yet.

Pugnacious Marc Arsenault, poobah at Alternative Comics, publishers of True Stories.

Oh. One more thing to look forward to. The next volumes of TRUE STORIES, compiling the strips of the same name from THE CITY, will start coming out in Summer 2016. Be nice to see them on the shelves. Three more, I think, then probably a trade paperback that collects them all at the end.