Remember how the novel Jewel of Medina, Sherry Jones's book about the child bride of Muhammad, was going to set off a wave of Muslim outrage and violence? In the exhaustively-chronicled journey to publication for Jewel of Medina? Random House pussed out on publishing it due to some wingnut remarks by academic Denise Spellerg when they asked her for a blurb, so then other people decided rush in and publish it, including a British publisher who was rewarded with a firebomb in his mail slot. So then he decided not to publish it, and Jones quickly became a poster child for hysterical pre-emptory censorship. Well, now the book is out and Jones is doing her book tour. The "widespread violence" Spellberg warned Random House of isn't happening, and as the Seattle Times reported, Jones' visit in their town was sparsely attended and sold exactly three copies of the book. Just like every other bookstore reading!

On Thursday night at the University Bookstore, where Jones read from her novel and signed copies, there were no demonstrations, no reason to call security. On a wretchedly rainy night, only 10 people showed up to the reading area by the poetry section. That still left 25 empty seats. Such is the fate of a new author, promoting a new book, even a book that two months ago was in the headlines.

Let's not forget, selling a book—either to a publisher or to the buying audience—is all pretty much a crapshoot anyway. [Photo: Mark Harrison for the Seattle Times]