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Thursday, December 21, 2006

Comic Shop Time

I finished by noon, having under-booked so I could open the comic shop for a few hours and do some writing. The neighborhood kids, who follow a couple of titles (and at these cover prices, all any kid could do is follow a couple) have yelled in at me to open up the comic shop. They then laugh and run off. They know I’ll let them in to look around even if the front entrance isn’t open, while I continue working in the repair garage; but I think they feel uncomfortable doing it. I sell most of my comics to steady adult customers, who browse around while I’m changing their vehicle oil and filter. The Christmas lights are up, and I’m in a good mood, because I sold one of my self-published novels to a customer picking up a car yesterday. Only a few more to be sold for my self-publishing savings to be up to the mark, and I can bring the next manuscript forward from rejection hell into the light. :)

The Miss Snark Crapometer has been an eye opener. Not so much because I’m surprised at writers having a hard time coming up with a hook, but because there are so many demon and angel manuscripts. Although I didn’t get a number in the Crapometer, the hook I sent in was for a book I’ve had pages requested for from agents already. Usually I call it a day when I hit somewhere between twenty and thirty rejections, depending on when I get the vanity press kitty up to speed. My son has suggested I might have to die, and then my books could hit the big time. Smart Ass…

Oh look, here through the door of my beloved comic shop entrance come a few of the 38th Avenue gangsters. They’re okay with me though, because they know I have Mr. Smith and Wesson with me. They usually just look around and leave, because they hate it when I make them repeat whatever it is they ask me at least four times, or until they say it slow enough for me to understand. They have a ritual when wanting to take a shot at me. One of them will walk up to the shelf with my self-published books, and thumb through one of my books, cackle and then put it back up on the shelf while giving me what I think is a knowing look. If they knew how really thick my skin is, they wouldn’t waste their time. My writing has been insulted by experts. Writing this while they’re browsing is making me smile, and one of them has noticed. He’s walking toward me, with a head bob warning he wants to ask me something.

“Hey, grandpa, I got a car question for you.”

I am a grandpa, and boy can I answer car questions. So far, so good, and in English.

“I’m here to help you with anything I can,” I lied.

“That’s your old Buick out there in front, ain’t it?”

“Yes, it is.” Oh boy, there go my windows and tires. Mr. Buick gets parked inside the shop from now on.

“How much you want for it?”

“Five thousand dollars,” which is my stock answer. It’s a beater, but it’s my beater, and that’s the only price that’ll make me feel good about selling it.

This evokes much hilarity from the three young men.

“You crazy,” the asker says, shaking his head. “You can’t get five thou’ for that clunker.”

No, really? This kid is quick.

“It gets me where I’m going,” I say instead, “and I didn’t ask if you wanted to buy it. You asked me how much I’d sell it for.”

“Okay, ol’ man, I get you.”

The three turned to leave.

“You guys forgot your free comic, and poster,” I shock them, and they walk up to the counter again. I gesture at the large selection of promotional comics I have left over from free comic book day, and the stack of folded posters I get from the warehouse free. “Pick out a couple of anything you want from the samples.”

Fifteen minutes later, and they’re walking out with their comics and posters. Freebies: the universal language. They even replied to my ‘Merry Christmas’. Maybe Mr. Buick can stay outside after all. :)


Jordan Summers said...

Bernard, You and your garage adventures. *ggg* I think you should take your work to the epubs. Several of them are putting the books into paperback if the word count is long enough. It sounds like it might be a good fit for your older work. Just a thought. Merry Christmas! Jordan

BernardL said...

I took my old works to the full length of Vanity, Jordan. :) All of them are offered in e-book, paperback, and hardcover. My last one (Peace) is the only work I didn't get into e-book offering because of a misunderstanding with AuthorHouse. I'm glad you like the garage adventures. The last one I wrote while it was happening was a real kick. Those young men weren't always gangster wannabe's. I remember when their Moms used to walk them in front of my shop to the grammar school around the corner. Merry Christmas to you and your dh. :)