Adventures in Marketing — Week 306

Sold a “Best Ride.”
The buyer, Marcel, an ex-insurance broker who has seen better days, is a three-peat customer, so I let him have it for half price. In return, he told me about the time he almost got to Philadelphia, stopping in South Jersey in some place “with an Indian (sic) name.” It was ‘87, and he had driven his ‘71 fuel-injected VW fast-back cross country, stopping outside big cities to avoid the traffic and taking busses or trains in. “I felt good about the country then.”
Why this approach didn’t work with Philly, I never learned, but I did hear about his mother, a Christian Scientist, who lived until 95. “All her friends were the same. She walked every day. Never drove a car. Filled out a health questionnaire for UC for 30 years. Thirty years! ‘How do you do that?’ ‘Eat right.’ And it wasn’t an easy life. Raising three kids. A single mom.”

In other news…
1.) A nice Reader’s Reaction to “Best Ride” from Irving, who was moved by the scene where Tisa takes out her tiara – a scene I had forgotten about. (It reminded him of a popsicle stick on which he had written a girl friend’s name in 1947,) And Wendy had nice things to say about IWKYA which she saw as “a love story,” which it is, as well as a book about an illness, which George P. kept harping on. “It is both,” Wendy said.
2.) My friend Michal (not to be confused with my friend Michael) has suggested I work out a deal with the café where it buys a stock of books from me, signed, and gives one to a customer who buys 10 drinks. And my friend Budd (not to be confused with my friend Bud) has suggested I sell naming rights to my usual table. “Clorox presents Bob Levin.”
3.) Truckers blockade, be damned! “Lollipop” has crossed the border from Montreal. Delivery expected Wednesday. Less than 100 copies remain unspoken for. Get your $15 to POB 9492, Berkeley 94709 or order via PayPal at
I should say, planets seem to be aligning, in some odd fashion, to promote it. Just yesterday, the NYT noted the passing of the writer of the song of the same title, which, in point of fact, has nothing to do with my book; and the week before, on the wall behind him in the photo accompanying the obit of a noted historian of the ‘60s was the poster which served as the basis for my cover.