Last night That Rachel H. and I got in the car and drove off to Aurora, for my what-is-supposed-to-be-annual-but-isn’t trip to the York Region Guild. It’s one of my favourite gigs, partly because it always starts with a pot luck, complete with beer and butter tarts, partly because they do awesome things like make a donation to MSF for me, and partly because I get to spend time with people I adore, like Curlerchik Sandra, and Helga, and Tove.
I’ve been ready to do this for a while, and tried to figure out how I would entertain the guild during the evening meeting. It’s a small guild, so a formal talk seemed odd, but a really informal Q&A didn’t seem right either, and so I hit on the idea of reading from my new book . It was perfect, I thought – because so far as I know, I’ve got the only copies in Canada, and me, my agent and my publisher are the only people in the world who have them. The publishing date is the 18th of October – so it would be, I thought, a cool sneak preview.
Imagine my shock, when (after beer, butter tarts and a ride in a convertible) I walked into Needles and Knits, and there was this:
Dudes. A WHOLE BOX of the new book. A whole box. I just about fainted. Then a I had a little worry about what on earth Tove had done to procure them before the pub date, and then I decided that was her magic and that I didn’t care, because all I could think of was one thing.
Every time I have a book come out, the first people to get it are Americans. This is all fine and dandy, and the way it is, because my publisher is American, but as a Canadian, it always stings a bit that my family, friends and co-knitters are always the last to see it in a store. (This has always galled my mum, who feels that it is her right to see it in a shop straightaway, and stalks the shops to achieve this.) I always get tons of mail from people in Canada writing to say "but you’re Canadian, why do Canadians get it last?" or "Can’t you get them to ship to Canada early, so at least we get it at the same time?" Sadly, I have very little to do with the rules of customs, the border or the shipping schedule of a publisher. I have even less to do with the fact that the publisher in the US has to first ship it to a distributing publisher in Canada who then ships it out to Canadian stores. It’s just one more stop for the Canadian books… and there’s nothing I can do about it. Further to that – you wouldn’t believe how little I have to do with the population of Canada, and what that means to how many books get shipped or events executed here. We might be a country larger than the US, but we’ve got a comparatively tiny number of people, and that’s just a reality when it comes to business.
That’s what I was thinking about last night, when I saw that box of contraband pre-pub date books. I was thinking that somehow, through some miracle – the first people in the world to have the book live in the not-at-all-bustling-metropolis of Aurora, Ontario…
and I laughed.
For the US, I’ve got a more-or-less finalized tour schedule up on the tour page. I hope I’ll be near you.