Disney up the Girl We Survived Our Five-day Stint...

Disney up the Girl

We survived our five-day stint in the Magic Kingdom with our sanity mostly intact. The girl celebrated her fourth birthday in the most magical place on earth that isn’t Tijuana.

Her number-one favorite attraction? The water slide at our hotel, closely followed by getting the princesses to sign her autograph book.

She was most definitely not a fan of the rides, outside of Cinderella’s Golden Carousel, and “It’s a Small World,” which she rode three times and adored (and yes, the geedee song is still stuck in my head where it will presumably remain until the American Idol finale).

She was terrified on the spinning teacups, even though we didn’t spin them. She took a careful look at the flying Dumbo ride, Goofy’s super-slow roller coaster, the Speedway Racetrack, and Pirates of the Caribbean, and nixed them all.

She had a full-body freak-out during Mickey’s PhilHarmagic, a five-minute, three-D movie (“I liked it when the princesses arrived, but I did not like when Donald got into trouble,” she said, once she’d stopped shaking and regained the ability to speak.)

We sort of tricked her into riding Splash Mountain, by showing her the people on the floating logs after they’d come off the five-story drop without showing her the five-story drop, and oh, was she pissed. She ran off the ride straight into my arms and screamed, loud enough for them to hear her in Adventureland, “I NEVER WANT TO REMEMBER THAT RIDE EVER AGAIN!”

Bottom line: a birthday at Disney is probably a dream come true for a certain kind of hearty, adventurous, fearless four-year-old.

In our case, I’m pretty sure that we could have spent the weekend in a hotel with a waterslide, then gone to a shoe store opening with one of the clerks dressed up as Cinderella, and the girl would have gotten pretty much the same things out of it.

What else? I have finally located the website for the Kansas City Literary Festival. I’ll be at a meet ‘n greet author breakfast Saturday morning at 8:30 this Saturday morning in the Kauffman Conference Center, then speaking at 11:20, then sitting on a Book to Film panel at 12:50, and signing books at 1:30. Hope to see my Midwestern brothers and sisters there!

In other news, do you know what makes a book a best seller? Well, guess what? Neither does anyone in publishing! Big advances don’t always equal big sales! Sometimes, a book that gets bought for peanuts turns into a big hit! Also, eight million dollars was probably too much for Bertelsmann to pay for Charles Frazier’s COLD MOUNTAIN follow-up!

This, of course, does not come as a news flash to anyone who’s in publishing, a business that’s governed by hunches and copycatting and where, as the Times correctly points out, there’s very little research to back up the marketing and publicity plans.

As an author, I can attest that it’s tremendously frustrating to work in a world run by anecdotal evidence, hunches, guesses, and hand-patting it’s-just-the-way-we’ve-always-done-things precedent, because you don’t know if you’re actually getting any bang for your buck (and when you’re at the point in your career where it’s your own bucks you’re spending, multiple that frustration by about a thousand).

Are print ads in the New York Times more effectiver than print ads in local papers, or ads online? Well, people seem to think so

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