Slow Regard of Silent Things: Recapping the Tour

When I started my book our for Slow Regard, I had high hopes of writing a few blogs while I was on the road.

Nothing big. Just little posts where I would mention some of the fun things that happened on each particular night. Maybe post a picture or two. Maybe if I was really ambitious, I’d put a cap on some of the blogs I had mostly done.

But no. Eventually, I will learn the truth: I cannot write a blog when I’m touring.

So here’s some highlights:

  • Pre-Tour:

Believe it or not, my signing tour actually started *before* my book came out.

As many of you know, Worldbuilders tried an experimental mid-year fundraiser last year. We ran an Indiegogo for a week and raised over $200,000 dollars.

Among other things, we gave people the chance to pre-order of signed copies of The Slow Regard of Silent Things. And in three days we sold about 1600 of them.

I wanted to make sure those folks got their books as close to the book release as possible. So in the week leading up to my tour, I signed about 2000 books.

20141023_041942

Believe it or not, that wasn’t the hard part. The hard part was bubble-wrapping, boxing, addressing, and shipping those packages.

20141027_024554

You don’t really understand how many 1600 packages are until you see them all in one place. Those shelves up there are stacked three deep, and there are other shelves I’m not showing you here.

Despite the tight timeline, the Worldbuilders team pulled it off. All the packages were shipped off the Monday before the book release.

I’m really proud of the fact. This was our first kickstarter-ish project, an experiment that was vastly more successful than any of us had hoped. I think it says a lot about my team that they put in the extra hours and made sure everything shipped on time so y’all could get your books in a timely fashion.

  • Opening Night: Portland.

Not only was this the first day of my book’s launch. This was my first-ever ticketed event that wasn’t a team-up with Paul and Storm.

The thought of selling tickets to my events seems strange to me. It offends my egalitarian sensibilities. But the simple fact is that you can’t fit 600 people into a bookstore. And even if you could, they couldn’t all hear me do my reading, or see me, or have seats.

So Powells arranged for a venue, and 800 people paid to come out and see me.

.@PatrickRothfuss and Nate Taylor get ready for tonight’s event! #PowellsEvents @MajorSheep pic.twitter.com/ppgUX5o8Po

— Powell’s Books (@Powells) October 29, 2014

It was a posh venue. Ushers and balconies and a delightful sound system. If I’d had my act together, I would have taken a picture of the crowd that showed up. But I didn’t, because I even think of it.

The Doubleclicks where there to open for me, and they rocked the house. I got misty when they sang “Wonder” like I always do. Then they invited me out to play the cat keyboard during the chorus of “I love you like a Burrito.”

Here’s the thing, we planned it before hand. I practiced a couple of times. I went so far as to number the keys on the cat-keyboard.

But I still screwed it up. More than once. Every time, in fact. On every chorus.

It was a great time.

B1FhkArCMAAGSFA

The signing afterwards was lovely, and I was joined by Nathan Taylor, the dashing artist who illustrated the book. Unfortunately, because I’m an idiot, I forgot to mention him to the crowd beforehand.

People brought me art. People brought me hugs. People brought me pie.

The next day I stole the fancy soaps from the hotel and it was off to….

  • San Diego:

The thing I remember most was that there was a really cute baby in the front row. Before my reading I talked to him for a bit, and when he reached for me, his mom let me hold him for a couple minutes. Thank you, baby mom. That meant a lot to me.

There were some awesome D&D players there who asked me geeky questions. They reminded me of me when I was their age.

And this happened.

B1OSAbsIcAAIqQi

That’s right, they’re all wearing cloaks. They all came to the signing from the same college where they have a book club. They call themselves “The Scrivs.”

It doesn’t get much better than that.

  • Seattle:

This was another ticketed event, and another 800 people or so showed up. It was in a church across the street from the University Bookstore.

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Unfortunately, it wasn’t until I was already there that I realized it would be really funny to go in with a bunch of dry ice hidden under my clothes then cuss a lot and pretend to catch fire. Maybe next time.

The fabulous Molly Lewis opened for me, but I didn’t try to sing with her, as I’ve already screwed that up once before. (I’m pretty sure there’s a video out there of me making a hash of Tom Lehrer’s Elements with her.)

I also learned that Molly is doing a musical called ThanksGiving Vs. Christmas.

Image.axd

If you live near Seattle and don’t go to it, you probably really need to examine what you’re doing with your life. Seriously.

My friend, illustrator and frequent collaborator Nathan Taylor was at this event too, as Seattle is close to home for him. And in a blithering display of lame, I forget to mention it to the crowd a second time.

In an attempt to make it up to him, I’ll mention the kickstarter he just launched.

As for my reading and Q&A, I can’t remember much of what I said. But I do know that I talked about feminism a bit, and at one point I held forth about the several ways that Frogger was sexist.

I felt pretty stupid about that afterwards, until a guy in the signing line said, “I’d never really thought about sexism in games before. But you’re right. Frogger is sexist. That’s kinda fucked up.”

So I’m counting that as a win.

  • Milwaukee:

At this point I’m four days and four cities into the tour. I’m getting around 3-5 hours of sleep a night with supplementary naps on planes and in cars.

Because of that, I remember less and less of the events. I know it was Halloween in Milwaukee, but I can’t bring to mind the costumes except that someone came as Batman.

The other thing I remember is that in the signing line, someone told me that their creative writing teacher required them to go to a reading as part of their class, but that my reading didn’t count, because I wrote fantasy.

I had her record a video where I voice my opinion on the matter.

Here’s the video. It isn’t entirely safe for work, as I remember saying the word “Bullshit” about seven or eight times.

 

Then onward to…

  • Lexington:

The cafe attached to Joseph Beth bookstore changed their menu for the day of my event:

Damfine menu

I’m proud of my addition: the Damfine Apple Pie.

We had about 600 people show up, including two gender-swapped Kvothe cosplayers showed up. That’s never happened before.

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  • Chicago:

People brought me wine and wizard hats,  and after the signing I had dinner with Peter Segal and some new friends.

Other than that, all I can remember is that this was actually in a town called Skokie.

Skokie. It sounds like an adorable animal sidekick from a Disney film.

Skokie.

  • St. Louis: (Fenton) 

The last stop of the tour. It might be unfair to call me a shambly mess, but it wouldn’t entirely be untrue.

Some of my friends who live in the area turned up at the signing, and it almost made me weepy. These are the old friends, the ones I’ve known since college. The people that have known me most of my adult life.

I haven’t been a very good friend over the last five years. My life has upheaved several times in several different ways, and I’ve been endlessly busy with one thing and another. All of that has turned my ordinary bumbling forgetfulness into complete isolationist non-communication that sometimes lasts for years.

Despite this, some of my friends drove miles and miles to visit me. They stood in line for hours. They brought me food and presents. They are better than I deserve.

  • The Reviews:

The best part of hitting a different city every day for a book tour is that I was too busy to obsess about reviews. And when I got home, I was mostly too tired to care anymore if people hated it.

Besides, I’d already heard from many of my readers that they loved the book.

Some of them on my blog:

“Thank you for giving me a moment of connectedness. Thank you for helping me love (just a little bit) a piece of myself that I’ve always hated.”

Some on twitter:

(And apparently I’m some kind of sadist, because when people read my book and cry, I feel strangely proud.)

People have also forwarded very nice reviews written by people I respect.

Like this one from NPR titled: Slow Regard is a riddle wrapped in a Mystery Living in an Underground Tunnel.

And an equally lovely one from GeekDad.

Some people don’t like the book. Or they were expecting something else. There’s a delightful blog about the book called: “This Pretzel is the Worst Lasagna Ever” where they discuss the problem of reader expectation in a wonderfully ridiculous way. Another blog dealt with the same issue with considerably more snark.

Generally speaking, I don’t go looking for bad reviews. I’ve been down that road, and I don’t plan on traveling it again. Besides, I already knew people wouldn’t like this book. I said as much in the author’s forward. And I knew people would be pissed that it wasn’t book three because I have the ability to see into the future and read people’s minds.

When writing The Name of the Wind, I decided I’d rather write a book some people love and other people hate, rather than write a book that everyone thought was pretty much okay. That seems to be what I’ve done here. So I’m happy.

This helps.

#2(Click to Embiggen.)

I’m pretty happy with taking second place after Grisham.

To all of you that came, if we had a moment during my tour and it wasn’t mentioned here, don’t take it the wrong way. I had so much fun with all of you. I appreciate the gifts, the hugs, and the thousand small kindnesses you have shown me. But this blog is already ridiculously long, and I have to wrap things up.

Stay beautiful, my people,

pat

P.S. Stay tuned for the big launch of Worldbuilders on Monday. It’s going to be awesome this year.

This entry was posted in appearances, Nathan Taylor, the longest fucking blog ever. By Pat35 Responses

35 Comments

  1. SporkTastic
    Posted November 8, 2014 at 3:53 PM | Permalink

    EEEEEE! I took that pic of the R63 Kvothe(s) in Lexington! (A part of my brain is doing the equivalent of the king in the Princess Bride “she kissed me! …yes, I realize that Pat is not a “she” and that a blog did not kiss…you know what? I don’t have to explain my giddiness to the internets. :-P )

    It was *so* amazing seeing, meeting, and enjoying the in-person wit of the Rothfuss. And thank you so much for the Slow Regard of Silent Things; I’ve learned a bit more about “Auri Shui” and how my Things Are Not Quite Happy, and got a peek into her absolutely beautiful mind as well. :-)

    And your author’s note after the book made me cry, in a good way. Dunno if that counts for your sadism or not, but I will wanna give you big big hugs.

    • SporkTastic
      Posted November 8, 2014 at 4:01 PM | Permalink

      Some of those pics (the good ones) are also here (I don’t know if those lovely Kvothe(s) got ’em or not):

      https://twitter.com/SporkKeeper/status/529372951171182592

    • Mauschen
      Posted November 8, 2014 at 5:41 PM | Permalink

      Hi hello! Skirted Kvothe here, pardon me while I scream for the next SIX WEEKS BECAUSE OH MY GOD I’M ON PAT’S BLOG

      • SporkTastic
        Posted November 8, 2014 at 6:06 PM | Permalink

        Yes, very much squee. :-D

      • brokenglass
        Posted November 8, 2014 at 8:01 PM | Permalink

        The one with the one sewn in pocket?

        • Mauschen
          Posted November 8, 2014 at 8:39 PM | Permalink

          Yep! I’m adding more as I have time to. Hopefully next time I’ll have all sorts of little pockets.

  2. ali rahemtulla
    Posted November 8, 2014 at 4:06 PM | Permalink

    Lucky sod, coming home to find Cutie Snoo and Oot waiting for you. What do I get, a loving family? Pah!

  3. justajenjen
    Posted November 8, 2014 at 4:10 PM | Permalink

    You’re not too far off on the Disney animal sidekick track. It does sound like something they’d use. As I remember from my 8th grade civics class, Skokie comes from a Potawatomi word meaning marsh. I was born and raised in Illinois, about an hour away from Chicago. Now that I’ve moved to France, I have a fantastic time trying to teach government officials the way all the Native inspired names of the places on my official records are supposed to be spelled and pronounced.

  4. Andrew
    Posted November 8, 2014 at 4:32 PM | Permalink

    Thanks for stopping by Seattle, Pat. It was my birthday the following day, and even though I was deterred from taking a picture with you, our beards entwined, out of all the things I got that week, enjoying an evening with your transparent thoughts on sundry things: sexism in the early gaming industry (a problem we are still dealing with unfortunately, as well as in American culture on the whole), many pieces of horrible advice from your college humor column days, and a wonderfully rewritten version of a classic Rhode Dahl children’s tale….well, it was honestly the best birthday present I could ask for. It still boggles my mind you were able to cross over the threshold of a church and not burst into flames! …kidding

    You always say you’re horrified when people say you’re a great example, but I’d counter if there’s anything to admire about you, it’s your honesty and grounded nature. Your mind might be adrift in Faen, but you stay right down here with the rest of us. No barriers. No illusions as to who the real Pat is. It’s refreshing.

    I am still working my way through “The Wise Man’s Fear,” but I’m excited to dive into the Underthing with one of the most whimsical characters ever written. Thank you. Thank you. Come back soon, and you can bet I’ll be there.

  5. Sam
    Posted November 8, 2014 at 4:35 PM | Permalink

    It was definitely fun seeing Patrick (replace this word with “you” if your name is Patrick Rothfuss and you are reading the comments on this post) in Skokie with my dad! We particularly liked the guinea pigs story. I happen to live in a Northwestern dorm, none of which allow even fish as pets, so unfortunately I might not be able to halfway drown an animal in order to keep it.

    We also walked into the Barnes and Noble right when Patrick (you) did. My reaction to this situation was nearly to exclaim, “Hi! You’re Patrick Rothfuss!” I suppressed the instinct to shout useless things, but now I will always wonder how Pat (you) would have responded. Is it better to try not to be annoying, or to allow interesting gut reactions out into the world and see what happens?

    • Posted November 8, 2014 at 5:42 PM | Permalink

      I grew up in Skokie back in the 1960’s when I went to live with my grandparents when I was five. They had one of the first houses there – my grandmother told the story of a bus driver not wanting to let her off the bus because there was nothing out beyond the street but woods. My grandmother would’ve loved reading Patrick’s work – she owned a bookstore during the depression, wrote short stories all her life, and encouraged me when I began writing fantasy of my own (I just write to share stories with my friends these days). I’m sorry I couldn’t have been there; it would’ve been great not only to have met Patrick but to have seen how much the neighborhood had changed.

  6. kdculb
    Posted November 8, 2014 at 4:47 PM | Permalink

    I do not know if I like your book as I have not read it yet. I was at Disney when it came out but it was in the mail waiting for me when I got home (I think it was the fifth book down on the fourth stack to the left in the picture above). I will start it tonight. If I don’t like it no biggy, I have not liked every book I have read; it wouldn’t make it a bad book it would just mean I didn’t like it.

  7. Posted November 8, 2014 at 5:16 PM | Permalink

    The Slow Regard of Silent Things was like a breath from Kvothe’s world. Which is not to say I’m not practically living in it already every day; I’ve had the two audiobooks playing one after the other all summer. But it was a NEW breath. Much like the Bast book in Rogues, it is that wonderful bit of extra detail that makes me grin in manic glee and hold the book close. And after reading, the taste of tears in the lump in the back of my throat cannot wipe the happy smile away.

    This book WASN’T for those other callow selfish people; it is for me. So thank you. I love it. And I love Auri a bit more desperately than before…

  8. jaydecrush
    Posted November 8, 2014 at 5:28 PM | Permalink

    What would grandma find disturbing, yet oddly charming?

    Patrick Rothfuss’s beard.

    You performed spectacularly on Halloween in Milwaukee. It was worth the five hour drive from the Upper Peninsula.

  9. Andrew
    Posted November 8, 2014 at 6:04 PM | Permalink

    Thanks for stopping by Seattle, Pat. Best birthday present ever. I am still working my way through “The Wise Man’s Fear,” but I’m excited to dive into the Underthing with one of the most whimsical characters ever written. Thank you. Thank you. Come back soon, and you can bet I’ll be there.

  10. aldel
    Posted November 8, 2014 at 6:26 PM | Permalink

    So… In what ways is Frogger sexist? It’s been a decade or three since I played, so maybe I’m forgetting something.

    • Kiya
      Posted November 9, 2014 at 1:32 AM | Permalink

      I’ve never actually played, but from the wikipedia article, a frog can escort a lady frog to a frog home during a river phase for bonuses, implying that lady frogs spend their lives sitting around and waiting for the first male frog to come along and offer them a home (rather than, say, crossing roads and finding homes for themselves).

  11. cynrtst
    Posted November 8, 2014 at 8:27 PM | Permalink

    All those idiots who didn’t read the forward or have a clue that a novelette isn’t Doors of Stone can go blow. I loved it. It helped me see inside Auri’s soul and I thank you for that.

  12. charolette33
    Posted November 8, 2014 at 8:34 PM | Permalink

    I wept at the ending of the book. I didn’t realize it was the ending, though. But I felt so emotional, I had to put the book down and take a break. Then I read the author’s note at the end of the book, which made me cry. I called my sister to share with her that I had *finally finished the book and was still so emotional that I was cry-talking. I was trying to tell her how emotional I felt and could barely get the words out. It was a good weeping. Thank you for that.

  13. Jsherry
    Posted November 8, 2014 at 10:25 PM | Permalink

    As a teacher, I am bewildered that any teacher, let alone a teacher of CREATIVE WRITING could be pejorative about “fantasy.” I teach a term in Modern Fantasy Fiction, and my students often joke that the course should be called AP Fantasy Fiction for its depth and difficulty. If anything, most good epic fantasy is about as illustrative of literary technique and archetypal convention as any genre out there.

  14. Cyri
    Posted November 8, 2014 at 11:21 PM | Permalink

    Pat,
    Don’t forget to tell people to vote for Slow Regard in the Goodreads Best Books of the Year. Don’t tell Brandon, but I voted for you… and I loved Words of Radiance, but Slow Regard is a wonderful book and I’d like to see more out there like it and I figured I have to show support if I want that to happen. Thanks for all you do!

    Sarah

    P.S. Link for the Goodreads thing https://www.goodreads.com/choiceawards/best-books-2014 *hint: go Vote!*

  15. lucascf
    Posted November 8, 2014 at 11:36 PM | Permalink

    4000 people more or less are waiting you in Madrid

  16. smileyvirgo1
    Posted November 9, 2014 at 2:21 AM | Permalink

    I was able to attend the Fenton signing and it was one of the greatest thrills to be able to see Pat in person! I am disabled and have a condition that results in horrific chronic pain, so it’s not easy for me to go much of anywhere. If I go somewhere for about an hour and a half, it will take about 2-3 bedridden days for me to recover from the effort. Since we didn’t know how crowded the signing would be, we showed up 2 hours early, then had a lovely time enjoying the reading and Q&A. When everyone lined up for the signing, we were at the end of an incredibly long line. It would take at least another hour to meet him. I normally avoid “using” my handicap for preferential treatment, but it was ask for a favor or go home. And Pat, being the amazingly sweet person he is, let me cut in line. I was excited, shaky, and babbled like an idiot but I actually got to meet someone who has been a hero to me. Getting lost in his books is one of the only things that makes the unending pain bearable, and I got to meet him. I was too jazzed up to respond coherently when he suggested additional authors I might enjoy. I wish I had been cognizant enough to tell him that yes, I had read those authors, and thanks for the recommendation, but he is still the very best author ever. He is the one who has helped me through some of the toughest times of my life. I spent the whole next day bedridden and couldn’t stop smiling. Thank you, Pat. For everything.

  17. joseph.ragusa
    Posted November 9, 2014 at 1:03 PM | Permalink

    Pat, the one thing that really left an impression on me at the Diego event was when you and Mysterious Galaxy pushed me to the front of the signature line because of my baby. I am really thankful for the hospitality. My baby was begging to get fussy so I wasn’t sure how much longer I could have waited. Additionally, my wife’s eyes were starting to shoot magic missiles at me, ones that said I would never forgive you for this. I am really excited I got to meet you, and once Athena gets to the appropriate ages I am certainly going to introduce her to your books.

  18. killerladydog
    Posted November 9, 2014 at 4:16 PM | Permalink

    Pat,
    Delighted by the new novella, but my heart is dashed by the inability to send books to get them signed. I had your old post detailing how to do it bookmarked for a friends birthday (who is a super fan but would never get something for himself) and managed to find 1st print/1st editions of both NOTW and WMF, but now find myself brokenhearted and planless for his birthday ( the top of the old post states you are taking a break from signing send in books). I totally understand, given all your touring and signing dates, but now i dont know what to do with these awesome hand carved scarabs and other assorted goodies I brought back from my recent trip to Egypt that I had bookmarked just for you…

    • Posted November 9, 2014 at 6:29 PM | Permalink

      Sorry. But we were running into some real problems with the whole send-in-your-books thing. Not only was it taking a lot of time, but books were getting lost or damaged in the mail. And as you know, if people sent along things like first editions, that ends up being a huge problem….

      Hopefully we’ll be opening it back up again in the future once we’ve found a better way of making things work.

  19. SolidState
    Posted November 10, 2014 at 11:19 AM | Permalink

    I do not think this thing was written for me, but I loved every careful word of it.
    Except for tenebrific – that one bugs me, just like blood that tastes like copper.

    I cannot stop chuckling inside about ash-water full of caustic lies.

  20. Posted November 10, 2014 at 12:56 PM | Permalink

    Hey, Glad you had a good and safe tour and the book is doing well!! Sounds like it was fun, even though it was no doubt tiring.

    So far really enjoying Slow Regard, despite it being short the read is going super slow for me since I’m reading it aloud to the family and I’m “not allowed to skip ahead” LOL. I just thought I’d let you and Nate know we are especially enjoying the illustrations. It’s just perfect that they are all black and white patterns, my 7 week old is entranced by them. (which also really contributes to the slowness of my reading since me and my husband have to talk about how adorable it is that she is looking at them and the faces she makes ) Anywho, thanks for that, it’s quite enjoyable for us, she even had to touch a couple of those pictures. So that alone pretty much makes the book 5 stars for me. LOL.

    Have a good Holiday season and best of luck with Worldbuilders!

  21. Denna
    Posted November 10, 2014 at 1:05 PM | Permalink

    OMGOMGOMG! I’m one of the Scrivs in cloaks from San Diego! I can’t believe I’m on this blog!! FANGIRL SQUEEEEEEEEE

  22. bafwabalinga
    Posted November 10, 2014 at 2:15 PM | Permalink

    So, by the time I got to you I was all nerves and not able to say what I had planned. I loved The Slow Regard of Silent Things. I stayed up all night the night before to read it because once I started it I couldn’t put it down. I also wanted to tell you that you introduced me to Acquisitions Inc. and that in turn got me and my whole gaming group back in to gaming! We have my 9 year old daughter playing with us and loving the whole process. I had a great time at the Seattle signing. I’m even in your picture, there, with the purple hair and my head buried in my phone.

    I did manage to tell you about my friend who was supposed to be there but couldn’t make it because she had hurt her ankle on the way out the door and was in the hospital instead. We took a picture looking sad for her. That picture made her day, so thank you for doing that for her!

  23. thedenofsin
    Posted November 10, 2014 at 2:42 PM | Permalink

    I was in a barber shop quartet back in Skokie Illinois.

  24. Halogen.Josh
    Posted November 10, 2014 at 10:25 PM | Permalink

    P-Roth!

    I’ve read The Slow Regard of Silent Things now, and I have to say that it’s a bizarre concoction of made up words, disconnected thoughts, and randomness. And it works beautifully. I certainly hear your voice in it, but I also hear notes of Lewis Carroll and LM Montgomery – there is a little of Alice and a little of the waifish Anne Shirley in Auri – and it’s safe to say that I loved every minute of it. Thank you for this beautiful book!

  25. ced
    Posted November 11, 2014 at 2:57 PM | Permalink

    Yea for Skokie! I’ve heard (on pbs I think) that it’s actually a native american word for “big swamp”. I live there! But I had no choice but to miss your signing… I had to go to Puerto Rico for work. I know, poor me. But if it were up to me, I’d have stayed and gone to the signing.

    Read the book on the long flight back (my wife read it on the way there). We both loved it =)

  26. cocapelli
    Posted November 12, 2014 at 4:05 AM | Permalink

    soo, i am a little behind…

    Just finished it, had been eagerly awaiting it. Have been looking at it every day since it came out. It just wasnt time yet. Busy, sick, stressed, it just wasnt time. When i got home today, i sat down, slowly regarded the silent book full of a knowing moon fae, and knew that that it was finally time.

    It was everything i was hoping it would be, every perfect word following each word (except penultimate, not the definition, her interpretation of it… maybe i am identifying too much).

    thanks for a great book Mr Rothfuss, i am probly gonna send one to my mom, along with TNOtW so it isnt misunderstood.

    why are their knives in her butter? will i ever get to know?

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