Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Book Tours

We’ve all heard about them. Some of us maybe have actually done them. Most of us have imagined them. And every author I’ve ever talked to who has done one, dreads them...the Book Tour.

It seems glamorous doesn’t it? Going from bookstore to bookstore, talking about your book, signing copies for adoring fans, the booksellers wining and dining you (or at least providing cookies and tea).

Recently (as in last week), I got the opportunity to peek in on the book tour of a NYT bestselling author. A friend of mine, James Rollins (best known for writing international thrillers with a scientific twist) was on book tour for his YA novel “Jake Ransom and the Skull King’s Shadow.” I happened to be in town and he let me tag along for a day.

We started out at 10:00 AM and drove for ninety minutes to get to the first stop. The escort picked us up at noon and we headed off to the first presentation/book signing. After that was finished, the escort drove Jim around the Bay area going from bookstore to bookstore to sign stock. The schedule was well laid out by the escort but distance, travel time and traffic put us in a bit of rush. Several hours and four or more bookstores later (I lost count) we returned to the first location, where Jim did another presentation and signing before the return drive. We finished that signing about 7:30 PM.

This was a “short” day on Jim’s tour.

At no point during the day did we stop. Not for lunch or snacks. And the imagined leisurely moments of lingering amongst all those lovely books turned into glancing at the end caps as I tried to find the bathroom before we took off for the next store.

I can understand now why authors dread these days. Many of us have introverted tendencies so being cheerful and “on” all the time, is draining. By the time we got back in the car to head home, I was tired, hungry and crabby and I didn’t even have to be nice to people.

I'm glad I got to go for the day. The company was good, I got to go across the Golden Gate Bridge, and it gave me some insight into a different side of the publishing world.

Just from my short experience, it seems like chatting with readers and booksellers one on one is the best part of the tour. The travel part is the worst. Still the whole process intrigued me enough to give me something to aspire to…write a book that my publisher (and readers) think is worthy of a book tour.

My only advice…pack a lunch.


Diana said...

I'm with you, Tielle. I'd love to go on tour, much as they are exhausting and demanding. I've done loads of single-stop booksignings, but nothing that could actually qualify as a tour like that.

Of course, I'm headed to Anchorage this summer and am hoping for at least a single-stop signing while I'm there! :)

Thanks for the peek into all the work that goes on to bring a book tour off!

Lynn LaFleur said...

Book tours sound so glamorous, but I know they must be very tiring. Still, as an author, I think it'd be a blast to do one!