From left to right that's me, Jessica Marriott, and Stefanie Buszynski and Joanna Karra of the Toronto office who drove down to help.
You may be wondering how the heck you sign that many books in a day and a half. I know I sure was. The first step is a brand new package of Sharpies, of course. And look at this - they had a little blue squeezie ball for me because I'd whined so relentlessly about my hand injury. They were much better sports about it than I was! (But as I type this, I have no pain at all in my hand, which I believe I owe to the healing powers of the magic tater tots I had at our celebratory lunch.)
This looks like a lot of books in front of Joanna and Stefanie, right? - but it was only the tip of the bookberg.
Before we got going, Jessica - whose job title is something like She Who Oversees All, gave me a tour of the factory floor. An astonishing number of books are printed, boxed, and shipped from this facility every day.
On the way to the floor, I spotted this poster in the hallway (yay!) - - my mass market reissue which will be out in March.
Jessica stopped to show me just a few of the boxes of books we'd soon be opening and signing. Gasp.
There is a dizzying variety of machines that do everything from fold boxes to apply stickers to sort orders. At the start of the process, giant rolls of paper are printed with the author's words. I found it amazing to see the pages all laid out before they were cut.
Here is just a small section of the track that runs around the room, on which boxes travel on their way to being sent all over the world. Lisa Wray, from the Toronto PR team, described it as a roller coaster for books!
Here's Jessica standing in front of just a few of the pallets of books being readied for shipment.
That row of gray containers are "book condos," in Jessica's words. It's here that small numbers of backlist and older titles are stored so that they can easily be added to a customer's order.
Lots and lots of a popular title...
and one of the more stunning sights on the tour, bales of shredded books (Don't look, Junior! All books go to heaven, I swear it!)
In the background below is a machine called the "tin man" where (gulp) remaindered books are turned into what you see above.
And finally, this row of chutes sorts outgoing deliveries according to their destinations. Bon voyage, little books - readers await!
It's been a fascinating and invigorating few days. I wasn't the least bit surprised to discover that my new pals are every bit as generous and fun as everyone else I've met at HQ.
And now...though I'm not sure how I got so tired when all I've moved in the last 8 hours is my signing hand...which also served as my tater tot forking hand...it's time for a restorative nap.
Tomorrow, the adventure continues as I head to North Dakota!