The Sporadic Beaver

Top 10 Events of May 2012

June 1, 2012

Tags: Beaver Street, Nowhere Man, Gli ultimi giorni di John Lennon, Tiffany Granath, Christy Canyon, Ginger Lynn, Book Soup, Amazon, banned books, Erich von Pauli

Christy Canyon and Ginger Lynn, hosts of the Sirius XM Playboy radio show You Porn.
It's been a helluva month. Allow me to share some of the highlights and lowlights:

10. A blogger in England puts my John Lennon bio, Nowhere Man, on his list of "Top 10 Books," among the works of such commercial powerhouses as Dan Brown, Stephanie Meyer, and C.J. Sanson. This has happened dozens of times before, and each time it does, it reminds me anew that 12 years after publication, Nowhere Man has achieved "cult classic" status.

9. A rave review of Nowhere Man: Gli ultimi giorni di John Lennon, in an Italian magazine, calls the book “daring,” “an unforgiving but truthful portrait,” and a “must for… Beatles fans.”

8. The Italian edition of Nowhere Man sells out its first printing, but Italy, like the publishing industry itself, is in such a state of economic and political chaos, nobody seems to know if there will be a second printing.

7. My wife and I spend a blissful week in Santa Barbara, at our friends’ house, “Casa de los patios,” as it’s called. We begin each day sipping coffee on one of five patios, gazing at the mountains in the distance. “Another goddamn beautiful day,” says the mistress of the house each morning, as she comes trotting onto the patio with her four dogs.

6. For the fourth consecutive month, this website hits a new high in traffic.

5. I read and sign Beaver Street at Book Soup, the legendary independent bookstore on Sunset Strip in L.A.

4. I’m interviewed about Beaver Street on The Tiffany Granath Show on Sirius XM Playboy radio.

3. After a year of hustling and promotion, the first printing of Beaver Street sells out in the U.K. There will be a second printing… sooner or later.

2. Christy Canyon and Ginger Lynn interview me about Beaver Street on their Sirius XM Playboy radio show, You Porn. Christy shows me her extraordinary (and ageless) breasts. Paul Slimak (Henry Dorfman in Beaver Street) calls in as Erich von Pauli, the character he plays in the Beaver Street promotional videos, and has everybody in the studio cracking up as he threatens to launch his V-2 missiles. It’s one of the best hours of radio I’ve ever participated in.

1. Claiming at various times “technical problems,” that they don’t have the right to sell the book, or that the book is “unavailable,” Amazon effectively bans the print edition of Beaver Street in the U.S. and there appears to be nothing anybody can do about it.

Loose Ends

May 23, 2012

Tags: Tiffany Granath, Bloomsday on Beaver Street, Book Soup, Kendra Holliday, Shameless Grounds, Nowhere Man, Gli ultimi giorni di John Lennon, Paolo Palmieri

If you're one of those people with Sirius-XM radio, perhaps you heard me yesterday on The Tiffany Granath Show. I know somebody was listening because my 20-minute chat with the enthusiastic host, who was excited to get her hands on the paperback edition of Beaver Street, resulted in a modest surge in sales. I'd also like to thank Tiffany for assiduously plugging the New York launch event on June 16, Bloomsday on Beaver Street, which is free and open to the public.

Though my Book Soup event seems like ancient history at this point, I haven’t written about it yet, and I’ve been meaning to say that I’m pleased with the progress I’ve made in reading the so-called “dirty part” from “The Accidental Porn Star” chapter, which I’ll be reprising at the New York event. My performance, I dare say, is beginning to feel like a cross between a Lenny Bruce stand-up routine and a recitation of a Shakespearian soliloquy. What stands out in my mind about the reading was a man who was browsing through some art books off to the side, paying no attention to me—until I began reading. Then he looked at me with a huge smile, mesmerized, as if he couldn’t believe what he was hearing. The Accidental Porn Star had connected with The Accidental Listener.

Just before I left for L.A., my old pal in St. Louis, Kendra Holliday, posted a video of her interview with me, conducted moments before the event at Shameless Grounds coffee house. It’s an interesting document of a very nervous writer, with a lot on his mind, about to embark on a U.S. promotional tour. I have mixed feeling about this video. Some of it, I think, is outrageous and hilarious. In other parts, however, my nervousness is obvious, and I find it difficult to watch as I struggle for words. But this is the book biz in the 21st century, where every writer, no matter how reluctant, is forced to become a performer.

Finally, here’s a link to a Google-translated review, posted yesterday, of the Italian edition of Nowhere Man: Gli ultimi giorni di John Lennon, which has sold out its first printing. (Here’s the review in the original Italian.) The critic calls the book “daring,” “an unforgiving but truthful portrait,” a “must for… Beatles fans,” and praises the “excellent translation” of Paolo Palmieri. Made my day.

Live, from New York… and Occasionally L.A.

May 22, 2012

Tags: Christy Canyon, Ginger Lynn, Tiffany Granath, Paul Slimak, Erich von Pauli, Beaver Street

I've often said that the live radio interview is my preferred form of book promotion. I've done hundreds of such interviews since 2000, when my first book, Nowhere Man, was published. Usually, I'm sitting at home, in New York, talking on the telephone. When the chemistry's right and the host has actually read the book, the interview can be like free-form jazz--it can go anywhere.

My May 10 appearance on Christy Canyon and Ginger Lynn’s Spice Radio show, You Porn, out of L.A., was memorable for many reasons. Christy, an author in her own right, had indeed read Beaver Street—the book was full of her notations in the margins. She was an excellent interviewer who knew how to make me feel comfortable, asked all the right questions, and let me answer them at length. She also had a good sense of pacing, knowing when to gently cut me off if I was going on too long. The show got off to a fine start when Christy showed me her astonishing breasts, and asked if I recognized them.

“Yes,” I said, “I remember them well… and they haven’t aged at all.” I then urged the show’s listeners to give her breasts a well-deserved round of applause.

It was towards the end of the show that a character from the book, “Henry Dorfman,” who in real life is professional actor Paul Slimak, called in as Erich von Pauli, the deranged Nazi character he plays in the Beaver Street promotional videos. Von Pauli had everybody in the studio cracking up, as he praised the book’s superior literary quality and threatened to launch his V-2 missiles if Amazon doesn’t get their act together and make the print edition available immediately.

The show went so well, and everybody had so much fun, the Spice Radio people have invited me back to appear today, at 3 PM (EST), on The Tiffany Granath Show, on Sirius-XM channel 102. A rotating panel of sex experts takes your calls on this “advice show,” as it’s described.

Well, I’m ready, and I’m looking forward to seeing you on the radio this afternoon.

How To Sell Books

May 21, 2012

Tags: Christy Canyon, Ginger Lynn, Book Soup, Beaver Street, Tiffany Granath

The author busts sod with a pickax in the Santa Barbara sun. Photo by Mary Lyn Maiscott.
I've returned from California jetlagged, upside down, and out of sync. My plan is to spend the next few days easing into New York reality and writing more about my Book Soup reading and my appearance on Christy Canyon and Ginger Lynn's Sirius-XM radio show, which went so well, the Spice Radio people have invited me back to talk about Beaver Street on The Tiffany Granath Show tomorrow, at 3 PM (EST). But before I embark on a day of dental appointments, laundry, and dealing with insurance providers, I want to share with you the most important lesson I learned in L.A. about selling books: The book itself doesn't matter. What's important is how you look when you're selling it.

If you want to move product, the best thing to do is get out in the California sun, take off your shirt, and wield the biggest, most macho tool you can find. So that’s what I did. And yeah, I realize I need to work on my tan. But if I say so myself, this ain’t too bad for a middle-aged author who’s generally loathe to venture into the afternoon sun. I’ll let you know how it works.