I picked up a new quirky cool vendor yesterday, American Auto and Import Repair in Gilbert, Arizona. The boss is Gerard. He's from Brooklyn. His wife and dog work at the shop too. Fellow teacher Mike Carlin hooked me up with Gerard and company. I can't express how cool it was to hear Gerard say in his perfect Brooklyn accent, "Mike and the guys said you're book is funny." It's meeting folks like Gerard that makes this whole book marketing gig so much fun.
In addition to American Auto and Import Repair, you can find THE EIGHT-FINGERED CRIMINAL'S SON at Chandler Auto and Tire, Papa Joe's Barbershop, Changing Hands Book Store, and The Book Frog.
Colleagues at the high school so askmetimes why I'm selling my book at garages and barbershops.
"Because it's funny," I tell them. "Selling books in barbershops and garages is funny?" they ask.
"Of course it's funny," Itell them. Next up is The Book Frog Eight-Fingered Criminal's Son signing and discussion on June 30th at 2 pm.
Rick Moranis has been invited. You might wonder why I've invited Rick Moranis. It's becuse he's following me on twitter. I don't know why Rick Moranis is following me, but he is. So invited him.
The Saturday book signing event at Papa Joe's was heckuva a lot of fun for everyone involved.
Did you hear that, Rick Moranis?
Rick Moranis is my most famous twitter follower.
Remembering the importance of never showing up empty handed to a Saturday barbershop book signing, I brought a box of fresh donuts. It was a busy Saturday. Scott Martin, the marketing teacher who got Papa Joe and me together, partook in the book and a haircut offer. Brett White of Chandler Auto and Tire, my other quirky cool Eight-Fingered Criminal's Son venue, came by for a haircut and a shave. Mike the cop, Papa Joe's version of Andy Taylor, took part in the shindig too. Bill the Entertainer ran the karaoke action. I took my shot at Under the Boardwalk and was quite terrible. I swear I sound fantastic in the shower. I don't understand why everything invariably goes to pot when I get a live mike in front of me.
Thanks to Papa Joe, Joe Junior, the Papa Joe's crew, marketing man Scott Martin, my family and rest of the colorful cast of characters who came down to make the Papa Joe's Eight-Fingered Criminal's Son Event a smashing triumph!
Next up is the June 3oth book signing and discussion at THE BOOK FROG in Rolling Hills at 2pm.
The first Papa Joe's Eight-Fingered Criminal's Son Event took place Friday, June 15. Realtor/guitar man Ty Lusk took a seat in a barbershop chair where he strummed, sang, told stories and generally provided a healthy helping of entertainment for Papa Joe and his crew, the customers and yours truly. My favorite song was Ty's cover of Pink Floyd's Wish You Here. Papa Joe was partial to Ty's Johnny Cash covers. Papa Joe's son Joe, aka Little Joe, a barber as well, snapped pictures with his I pad and kept the wise cracks coming.
Papa Joe even picked up Ty's guitar and strummed a few bars. Papa Joe said he played the guitar as younger man in Italy, pointing out that he was disappointed when they wouldn't let him play guitar in town marching band.
One of the highlights of the afternoon came when the brother of my former student Drew Vigil stopped by to pick a copy of the book. Drew is a corpsman attached to a Marine division in Afghanistan. One of the guys waiting for a haircut was a Marine between tours of Afghanistan. He explained how much he appreciated the work the corpsmen do for the Marines. I made it a point to thank the Marine for his service.
I thoroughly enjoyed signing books and shooting the bull with the colorful collection of characters who made their way through Papa Joe's on that lazy Friday afternoon. I kind of felt like one of the guys on The Andy Griffith Show. And no, I did not feel like Goober.
The two day Papa Joe's Book and a Haircut Event was unquestionably a success. The extavaganza began to materialize as I sat chomping down on my Grand Slam breakfast across the table from my friend and colleague Scott Martin. Scott's a marketing teacher. When I asked him for advice on marketing The Eight-Fingered Criminal's Son he told me I needed to meet Papa Joe the Barber. No stranger to strange and quirky ideas, I followed Martin to the barbershop.
Originally from Italy, Papa Joe has a thick accent, a twinkle in his eye and a whole lot of charisma. The walls of his barbershop are plastered with pictures of national and local celebrities who've frequented he shop an promotional events like the Christmas tree haircut deal in the photo. The place is a legitimate, old school barbershop, absolutely overflowing with atmosphere.
Papa Joe welcomed me into his shop and immediately proposed a Friday and Saturday book and a haircut event. The first 20 customers each day would receive a free book with their haircuts. I would be on had to sign books. Papa Joe called his buddy Bill the Entertainer for Saturday.
I told Papa Joe I would find entertainment for Friday. Dickey "Tom Jones" Imburgia from the first tire shop book signing couldn't make it but The Semester Review from the second tire shop book signing agreed to play. Papa Joe alerted the media and baby, we were good to go.
On Thursday afternoon The Semester Review cancelled. No sweat, things happen. The boys took care of me at the tire shop and I appreciated them, but I had less than 24 hours to find entertainment for the Friday book signing.
I put out a face book request, inviting anyone who could sing, dance, do impressions, card tricks, or otherwise entertain people at a book and a haircut event. My son-in-law offered to play air guitar.
Flipping through the business cards in my wallet, I noticed the realtor Ty Lusk's card had two sides. The back side promoted Lusk's talent for singing and playing guitar. Although we'd only met once, I gave him a call.
I left a message that went something like this: This is probably going to be one of the strangest voice mails you've had in a while. My name's Bill Snyder. We met a couple of weeks ago. I'm a writer and I'm promoting new book with a book and a haircut event at Papa Joe's Barber shop in Chandler. I was wondering if you'd be interested in performing - for free. We may have tv news coverage. All I can promise is that this will be a seriously unique experience.
Son of a gun if Ty didn't call me back and agree to perform. He said he had a cancelation and the whole thing sound like fun.
What are the odds?
I told my son-in-law he could play air guitar at the next event.
Last night I set up a booth at the Mesa 2nd Friday Books on the Beach Party, my first book festival. While it was an interesting experience, I didn't sell a single book. There were plenty of people, mostly teenagers dressed in black, but they weren't interested in buying books. There were a couple of guys playing guitar, singing Dave Mathews and Jack Johnson songs. They collected exactly three dollars in tips over the four hours I was there. One of the dollars was mine. A friend suggested I bring tennis balls to the next festival. Tennis balls, yeah...
Friday, June 15, from 1 to 3 and Saturday, June 16, from 11 to 2, I'll be part of a Book and a Haircut Event at PAPA JOE'S BARBERSHOP in Chandler, Arizona. Each day the first 20 customers will receive a free copy of THE EIGHT-FINGERED CRIMINAL'S SON with their haircuts. A quirky cool lounge singer will sing his lungs out and I'll be on hand to sign books. And I'm bringing tennis balls.
Pete and Becky, owners of THE BOOK FROG, the happeningest book store west of the Mississippi, have been kind enough to stock THE EIGHT FINGERED CRIMINAL'S SON and invite me out for a signing event.
The book can be found in the memoir and humor section.
You can believe me when I tell you I'm looking forward to my first legit book store signing at THE BOOK FROG June 30th. Not that tire store book signings are a bad thing.
THE BOOK FROG is something special. They've always got something going on. There are
book discussions, readings, story time, and some exceptionally interesting characters.
I'm looking forward to meeting Becky and hearing about her adventures in the book business.
The last time I saw Pete was 30 years ago. He was in the process of insulting, I might add with great style and panache, a security guard who had the audacity to kick us off of a college sound stage. We were working on our buddy Andy Peterson's college film and we didn't exactly have permission to use the facilities. We were ahead of our time. We were guerrilla film makers.
I'm betting you'd have to look long and hard to find a book store owner with a more interesting collection of exploits than Pete Ledesma. Football player, band member, Elvis impersonator, teacher, actor, stand-up comic, book store owner; this guy has been around the block a few times.
Yeah, I'm thinking the prospect of a conversation with modern day renaissance man Pete Ledesma is worth the trip out to THE BOOK FROG.
I'll be at THE BOOK FROG June 30th. Hope to see you there too.