As I mentioned in my last Insecure Writers Support Group post, I went on a short book tour up to Massachusetts and back. I met quite a few of my readers as well as forged some new relationships. All of your advice was helpful and made for a successful trip. I wrote about the tour in some detail on my author site.
Here is a little snippet of one of the author events. (Sorry about the poor video quality.)
As I was driving back down Route 95, I thought of a few things I’d like to pass along if you are considering planning a book tour of your own:
- It’s not about the money. Once you factor in the cost of gas, meals, accommodations, and marketing expenses, you will probably lose money on the endeavor. Understand that going in and cut costs wherever possible. If you can plan your stops to occur near friends and family, I recommend you do so.
- Build relationships with book stores. If I learned anything during this short trip, it was that being a book store manager is hard work. Many small businesses are just trying to stay afloat. The people that let me come into their shops and talk to their customers were gracious and deserve support.
- Meet existing readers. If you are lucky, you may be able to connect with some people who are already familiar with your work. Alerting your existing readers of your travels is yet another good reason to have a newsletter that details your plans. Take the time to talk to them about your books and get as much feedback as you can. These readers are gold. Cultivate those relationships as much as possible.
- Gently reach out to new readers. Please don’t give potential readers the hard sell. I did a couple of events where I just sat at a table and interacted with people as they walked by. It was lovely to simply chat with people about my books and books in general. When people came up to me, I told them a little bit about the book in under a minute and then tried to engage them in conversation. Some people stuck around for quite a while to chat and buy the book. Others took my card and said they would think about it. Either way, I was getting my name out there and making a positive impression.
- Know your audience. I found it useful to have a short five to ten minute speech about me and the book I was promoting prepared to start off my talks. From there, I would relate my remarks to my audience. When I was talking to group of retired women in the town I grew up in, I spoke extensively about how my education influenced my writing career. Since I knew that several of the women had taught in the schools I had attended, I talked about how specific English teachers shaped me as a writer. When I spoke at a library, I spoke about the librarian character in How To Climb The Eiffel Tower and how she helped the main character. When a person in a bookstore mentioned that he was a cancer survivor, I asked him questions about his cancer experience and had a conversation about that, rather than just talking about the book. Overall, I felt those conversations left my audiences feeling like they had connected with me as a person and that they went away wanting to read my work in the future.
I look forward to the Insecure Writer’s Support Group posts every month. I love how honest and supportive this community of writers are. I encourage you to visit the other participating bloggers and see what is going on in their writing rooms.
The Insecure Writer’s Support Group is a monthly blog hop to lend support to a growing community of writers. I encourage you to go to Alex Cavanaugh’s excellent blog and join in. if you click on the logo above, it will take you to the list of participating blogs.