Sunday, March 1, 2009

Clark and Dorothy

In all my posts on my January trip to Kansas for my "Superman's First Home on Earth" author tour, I forgot to mention an unconventional idea I had when planning it.

In June 2008, I e-mailed author Kathleen Krull to ask if she wanted to team up with me. I didn't know Kathleen personally but I'd followed her work for a while. (In fact, thanks to her picture book biography of Dr. Seuss, I discovered Janet Schulman, who became my editor for Boys of Steel: The Creators of Superman.)

Boys of Steel was due out the following month and Road to Oz, Kathleen's picture book biography of L. Frank Baum, the creator of The Wizard of Oz, was due in September—from Knopf, the same Random House imprint as my book.

Both Clark Kent and Dorothy Gale grew up in Kansas. (Maybe they even dated.) I thought it would be a worthy experiment for Kathleen and me to combine our efforts and go on the "Kansas's Greatest Characters" author tour. (A further near-coincidence: Superman debuted in 1938 and what became the classic film version of The Wizard of Oz came out in 1939.)

What I would have brought to this arrangement: I am relentless about seeking out (and later promoting) bookings. What Kathleen would have brought (among other strengths, I'm sure): as a more established writer, she would presumably be a bigger draw in securing bookings. I saw it as win-win, and I was confident such an atypical marketing effort would get press both locally and in the publishing media.

Another coincidence: the day before I contacted Kathleen, unknown to me at the time, she had (positively) reviewed Boys of Steel!

As for my Kansas proposal, Kathleen politely declined, which I understand. So I carried on alone. But got bookings. And press. And more bookings for the fall. So Kathleen, the offer to team up (for part 2) stands!

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