Friday, August 8, 2008
Oh, the fun places you'll go!
Last Friday's guest, author Michelle Gagnon, just wrote a funny post about her recent book tour over at the Kill Zone. Now that I'm preparing to launch my own book tour for A KILLER WORKOUT, which hits the bookstores on October 7th, I'm in the mood to anticipate and do a little neurotic worrying ahead of time:
Gas. Yikes! Gas is nearly five dollars a gallon in LA! It puts a pricey pall on those long drives to Phoenix, Las Vegas and points north. If I wind up running out of gas and hitchhiking down a lonely stretch highway, don't worry--I won't climb into any pickup trucks or white panel vans.
Book signings. You just never know what to expect. Some bookstores promote your appearance and assemble people for a discussion--others stick you in the "gilded cage" to the side of the front entrance,where you basically collar anyone coming through the door with a pitch. Sitting quietly does not sell books, so I've developed a special smile and greeting that makes me feel like an airline stewardess. The funny thing I notice is that there are two types of people--those that engage with you easily, and those that avoid eye contact and actually do a flanking maneuver around my table to avoid interacting. The second group are the people who hate a hard sell. But they sometimes sneak back and shyly buy the book on their way out.
Bringing goodies. I always bring cookies and water with me to hand out. I don't know if that helps me sell books, but I'm a hit with kids and homeless people.
Being a trooper. I hate canceling things at the last minute. One time I was scheduled to do a signing, but I woke up that morning feeling sick, and getting sicker by the minute. Twenty minutes before the signing was supposed to start, I was sitting in the car with my husband, projectile vomiting into a plastic bag. The appearance went off flawlessly. I had a surge of adrenaline that magically suspended the illness for precisely one hour. The instant I got back into the car after the signing, I resumed vomiting, and continued do so, all the way to Urgent Care.
Maximizing family connections. I combine book tours with as much family interaction as possible. Fortunately, I have family spread all over the east and southeast, so I can combine book stops with mini-reunions. My husband is used to chugging along in my wake, and he tries not to fall asleep as I give the same talk or sign books. I suspect this year, however, he may chug off in search of a golf course while I'm doing my book thing.
Being zen about what you can't control. Things I can't control 1) the book retailing model, 2) the publishing business, 3) the fact that people who can't find my book in the bookstore, because they've sold out, wind up buying them at deep discounts online.
I just have to smile, show up, and keep on writing no matter what.
What about you? Are there any things you most like, dislike about pitching your book on the road?