Sunday, September 02, 2007

Good News in Kansas City

Dateline -- Kansas City, August 29

Kansas City.

Another city I’ve never visited before. My escort, Dick Brown, took me to have some K. C. barbecue for lunch, and on the way to the restaurant, my cell phone rang.

It’s my editor, Keith Kahla. He rarely calls — we have an almost exclusively e-mail relationship.

“Why do you think I’d be calling you on your cell phone while you’re on book tour on a Wednesday afternoon?” he began.

“Don’t torture me,” I said. The second Wednesday after the on-sale date is when you learn about whether you’ve hit the New York Times bestseller list. Publishers get a PDF of the NYT list e-mailed to them some time on Wednesday afternoon — as early as noon, as late as 5:30, I’m told — representing book sales for the week ending the Sunday before. If you have any hope of making the list — if you’re close — it can be a very tense afternoon. (More high-class problems, huh?)

“Number seven,” he said.

I let out a whoop, startling Dick, who was driving and almost veered off the road.

The first time I’ve ever been in the top ten. Seven is, of course, the traditional lucky number (Seven Wonders of the World, seven days of the week, seven ancient planets, seven deadly sins. James Bond’s 007 . . . seven dwarves . . . and a good number at the slot machines.)

On the way into the Harrah’s North Kansas City casino, there’s a big billboard, with three big red sevens on it and the slogan, “We’ve got your number.”



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