A quick scan of the venues on author Neil Gaiman's latest book tour reveals the usual suspects: San Francisco, Los Angeles, Seattle, Portland and Phoenix.
In Dallas a few weeks ago, a line of adoring fans wrapped around the block.
And then there's Santa Rosa, where the Brit fantasy writer will give a reading and sign at least several thousand books in a high school auditorium this weekend.
So how did Copperfield's Books pull it off?
"We pitched the heck out of it," said Copperfield's bookseller and former events coordinator Joanna Robinson.
In a heartfelt plea to publisher HarperCollins, Robinson pointed out that not only were many of the Copperfield's staff die-hard Gaiman fans and that this would be "a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity" for local fans, but she also added a personal touch.
"I talked about how his author event in Brooklyn, back when 'Coraline' first came out, was the very first author event I ever went to, and it was how I got started doing author events in general."
Whatever she said, it worked. When tickets went on sale in April, the event sold out in a few weeks.
"We were getting tons of calls immediately," said Copperfield's bookseller and Web coordinator Terra Emerson.
It should come as no surprise that the No. 1 New York Times best-selling author of graphic novels ("The Sandman"), novels ("Stardust" and "American Gods"), novellas ("Coraline"), children's books ("The Graveyard Book") and multiple short story collections has a devoted worldwide following that transcends genre.
Touring with his first adult novel in eight years, "The Ocean at the End of the Lane," Gaiman is calling this his "Last U.S. Signing Tour," although some have speculated this might be on par with a Rolling Stones "final tour." Even Gaiman has alluded to an occasional "ninja signing" here and there in the future.
Aside from his writing, which often unfolds in elaborate self-contained mythologies, part of his allure is the black-clad rock-star enigma he has cultivated over the years. Being married to Dresden Dolls singer Amanda Palmer is merely a trivial aside.
"He sort of slouches in with his black leather and his scruff, and you know this isn't going to be your usual tweed-jacket author reading," said Robinson. "No elbow patches, no pipes. It's black leather and black jeans. I swear it's the same pair of black jeans he's had for years."
So easily selling out a 1,000-seat venue in weeks is hardly unusual. But what is somewhat notable is the number of people arriving from out-of-state this weekend for a glimpse of Gaiman in Santa Rosa.
When Scottsdale, Ariz., fans Richard Pennock and his wife discovered Gaiman was reading in nearby Phoenix while they were on vacation, they decided to hop in their car and drive 24 hours round-trip to see him in Santa Rosa.
"I'm not really like a book groupie, so this is unusual," Pennock said. "Part of it is the connection he makes. He's sort of like the Goth kid you had in class in school and you were sort of interested to see what his take on things is."
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