I sold eight “Cheesesteaks, four to a friend who intended them as gifts, a “Fully Armed,” and a “Pirates/Mouse.” (The last reduced my stock-on-hand to a bare minimum, requiring me pick up a few more from Alibris, which I shall market as “Pre-owned.”)
Three sales went to two strangers buying from my website on the same day, which was itself notable since that about equaled my total web site sales in its years of existence. (I am, by the way, now Google’s third most popular Bob Levin, trailing the investigative journalist/ex-whistle blower/former FBI agent, and the Bob Levin, who is the head of something or other at some movie studio, but ahead of the Bob Levin who advises cat owners and the former Number One Bob Levin, the ex-Yale fullback who’d dated Meryl Streep.) One of my web site shoppers was a retired folklore professor and the other was a 24-year-old, Yugoslavian-born punk musician/cartoonist, which constitutes a pretty impressive demographic spread, if I do say so myself.
One non-purchaser recognized The Checkered Demon on my sign. Another said she’d taught at Swarthmore in the ’80s. One 84-year-old reader revealed that, as an aspiring Beatnik, hanging out in North Beach while attending Cal, he’d been at the first public reading of “Howl.” A poet, disappointed by his own sales record, complimented my originality and “balls,” A professor dropped into his remarks that “Annie Had a Baby” (p. 32) was a follow-up to “Work With Me, Annie.” (I was sure he had it backwards, but, nope, he knew his stuff.) I e-mailed an on line site devoted to current news of West Philadelphia, announcing my book’s availability. It ignored me. Oh well, I thought, probably no one lives there now who lived there when I did.
I decided to work on my attitude for when no one looks or talks or buys. I am not begging; I am offering a rich experience.