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Who Would Complain About a Book Tour?

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Editor's Note: While Roger is taking a day off, we are reprinting one of his favorite columns.

LOS ANGELES — It is the obligation of every author to write about how horrible book tours are.

I have read at least a dozen such articles. An author writes a book and then goes on scores of TV and radio shows, where he is asked a variety of inane questions by people who have never read his book.

The author is dragged from city to city, hotel to hotel, show to show.

The author then comes home and writes a whiney article condemning such assaults on his dignity.

Which just goes to prove what you have always suspected: Most authors are doofuses.

I am just beginning a book tour. And it is one of the greatest experiences of my life.

Why wouldn't it be?

You are treated like a king, a god, a cultural icon.

In city after city, there are a variety of people sitting behind microphones and in front of TV cameras who are there for the sole purpose of pretending that they care about what I say.

Why would I complain about that?

And the creature comforts are nothing to sneeze at.

A few weeks ago, the publicist for my publisher called me and asked whether I was "willing" to fly to Los Angeles.

Sure, I said.

"Don't you want to know what you'll have to do when you get there?" she asked.

Is the plane ticket free? I asked.

"Yes," she said.

Then I don't have to know anything else, I said.

So they sent me a plane ticket. No, it wasn't for a first-class seat, but the headphones turned out to be free, so I considered myself lucky.

When I landed, I got in a cab and was whisked off to an all-suite hotel.

My publicist had told me that the hotel was paid for. But have you ever checked in to a hotel where the bill is supposed to be "paid for" by somebody else?

The same thing always happens: You check in, and the person behind the desk asks you for your credit card to pay for "incidentals."

Incidentals, it turns out, are meals, phone calls, anything you charge to the room and the little mints they put on the pillow at night.

So I was prepared for the worst.

Which is why I was so surprised when the guy behind the desk told me he didn't need my credit card.

"Everything is taken care of," the guy said.

Everything? I said.

"Everything," he said.

Meals? I asked.

"Meals," he said.

Phone calls?

"Phone calls," he said. "Even the honor bar."

I must have fainted, because when I woke up, he was standing over me, fanning me with a hotel brochure.

The honor bar? I croaked. I get a free honor bar?

"Yes," he said.

I can have cashews? I said, grasping his lapels. Honor bar cashews?

He assured me that even the honor bar cashews, the most expensive item known to man, were within my grasp.

Then he handed me a note from my publicist telling me that my "escort" would pick me up in the morning.

When I got to the room, I called my publicist and asked what kind of "escort" she was talking about.

"Not the type you're thinking," she said. "This escort is a person who will keep track of where you have to be and will drive you around to all your appearances."

You're joking! I said. This is exactly like being a 6-year-old again! I love it!

My escort turned out to be fantastic. She drove me from radio station to TV station to newspaper to bookstore. She had an inexhaustible supply of breath mints and knew where every washroom in California was.

At the end of the two days, I had done 11 appearances.

I have no idea where I was or whom I saw or what I said.

But I do know that book tours are the greatest things on this earth.

And I have several cans of cashews in my luggage to prove it.

Roger Simon is Politico's chief political columnist. His new e-book, "Reckoning: Campaign 2012 and the Fight for the Soul of America," can be found on Amazon.com, BN.com and iTunes. To find out more about Roger Simon and read features by other Creators writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Web page at www.creators.com.

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