Sunday, 17 November 2013

"Third Book! Third Book!"

So I was at the recent MPH Warehouse Sale 2013 and this guy was also there to autograph his books and other related merchandise.

Boey Cheeming at Food Foundry, Section 17, PJ, Sept 7, 2013
Boey Cheeming, author of When I Was A Kid 1 and 2, at Food Foundry
(Section 17, PJ) book signing, 07 September 2013

Yes, the same guy "whose nuts I (apparently) made famous", to paraphrase a former colleague.

This guy asked me what the next step was, now that he has two books out, as well as calendars, T-shirts, and custom Sharpie marker pens.

Feeling a wee bit responsible for his rock-star status, I advised him to go slow and take a break for a bit. I felt that he'd been burning both ends, doing his book tours, talks, and media interviews and photo shoots. He'd fallen sick at least once during his latest homecoming tour.

"Oh, really?" he went, and sought a second opinion from a colleague at the distribution side.

"No, he should keep up the momentum," she said with a look that searched me for signs of mental illness.

"Exactly," said the rock star. "There'd be trouble if her boss heard what you just said."

How are sales doing, I asked.

"Very good," my colleague said. "In fact, the second book is selling better than the first."

When I saw the first book, I didn't expect it to shoot to the moon, either. I'd felt it was good enough that I'd managed to help get the book sold in Malaysia and maybe Singapore.

So my colleague's sentiments were basically, "Third book! Third book!"

“When I Was A Kid”, Books 1 and 2
Better than hot cakes: Boey's When I Was A Kid, Books 1 and 2

Then we turned to the tudunged fangirls lining up to have their books and stuff signed, and get a custom sketch for their upcoming birthdays plus a photo with Rock Star.

What next after Book Two, we asked them.

"Third book! Third book!"

Guess it was to be expected.

"He has a following," one tudunged lady said, adding that everybody reads his blog, he's so funny, and all that, so of course they will want a third book - maybe a fourth and a fifth....

And here I am, worried over whether he will burn out, like a rock star of the musical variety. Rock Star works hard for his success. He takes every opportunity he can to promote his books, himself, and the notion that you can be successful doing what you love.

And he gives his fans what they want. Custom autographs? Sure thing. Want a Diablo doodle with his signature? No problem. A sketch of a Dungeons and Dragons card-game character? No sweat.

Boey doodles Diablo
Obliging author doodles Diablo for a fan

Some authors should take a leaf out of his book and burn the leaf that says "Who needs all that? My book sells itself." That's not true anymore - but has that ever been true?

Given that this book thing is all he's doing right now to make a buck, I suppose he is putting in the hours.

Some friends of a friend are nuts about his books as well. Relatable, they said of his childhood stories, and funny. My signed copy of Book 1 went to Turkey with a friend, who also took my signed copy of Book 2 to India - both with permission.

It's likely Friends of a Friend are also going, "Third book! Third book!" as well.

So maybe I shouldn't have rained on his parade by suggesting that he take a break - and miss all the fun of making a book and flying around meeting fans of all ages and demographics.

But I do want to see what comes out of his Sharpie for many years to come. I've read about how fame devours celebrities and it's something I wouldn't wish on anyone, even on bad days.

I'm hoping that Rock Star's crowd is much better.


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