Awesome, awesome I tell you!
I work at a small independent bookstore in St Louis and we just had Dave Eggers there to speak tonight. Firstoff, he’s a great writer. His books sell copies and copies and it’s just amazing stuff.
Second, he’s a big supporter of indpendent bookstore (and god knows we need it!). His new book when it came out in hardback was only released to independent bookstores (paper is now available to everyone). He didn’t say so, but I wouldn’t be surprised if all the stores he’s visiting on his tours are independents. It’s so hard to even break even right now, we really need more authors like him supporting us.
He does amazing things…I don’t know how he has the time.
First, he’s editor of McSweeny’s magazine (kind of alternative literary magazine, always doing different things, hardback paperback different formats).
Also, in the same building, they have tours to schoolkids where they come in and in an hour and a half they have to write a book (learn to work under pressure), where they periodically have the “editor” Mr. Blue yelling instructions down at them from the floor above, and then they get it bound and a copy of their very own with a cliffhanger ending so they can finish it themselves.
Because the publishing company is in a space zoned for retail, they have to sell something, they have a pirate shop (before they moved they had a shop that was all taxodermy equipment).
He organizes (or helps organize) a tutoring program for ESL students in the area.
He’s written two books…the first was a best seller (Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius), and the second (You Shall Know Our Velocity) was carefully calculated in its release so it wouldn’t be a bestseller.
Basically, this guy is anti-mainstream…if you look at all of his publications, they’re all different in their layout (the hardback for Velocity has the first page glued to the front cover of the book, no title page). When he visited Washington University, he was paid a couple thousand dollars, but he didn’t like that he was paid, so he took five dollar bills and passed them out to everyone who came to hear him speak.
Plus, he’s hilarious.
I wanted to buy his books just to support him! Unfortunately I don’t have much money, but I bought one of them.
Buy Dave Eggers! Buy McSweeney’s!!!