Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Book Tour Planning

Yesterday, we talked about targeting your audience when you’re out on a book tour. Today, we discuss Planning.

Plan ahead. Don't just show up and hope for the best. Send out your own press releases. Work with the store's CRC (Community Relations Coordinator), either in person or via the phone. Send the CRC an advance copy of your book. Store clerks can do amazing things hand-selling your book, but they're more likely to do that if they've read it. Make sure there will be copies of your book available to sign and sell (yes, I've seen signings where the author showed up, but no books did). If the store will provide a big poster of your cover with information about the signing to promote the event, as well as to stand close by during the signing, that's great. If not, make your own or prepare something else to pull in buyers -- something that will draw over people who might otherwise avoid the scary-looking person sitting at the table (you). But check with the store to make sure it’s okay. (Some stores may not want you handy out candy to kids who then handle books with their sticky hands, for example.)

Some authors, when possible, visit the store a week or so ahead of time. They introduce themselves to the CRC and leave bookmarks or postcards that can be put in customers' sacks.

Also, Ray Bard with Bard Press recommends that you give all the information about your tour to your sales rep. It'll help her promote your book when she goes to bookstores to sell it.

As part of this "plan ahead," consider teaming up with other authors. Find others who have books coming out about the same time as yours and go together. That not only saves time and money, it can be a good gimmick to help with promotions and convince stores to book your event. Look for authors who have a common theme, either via genre or time frame or setting or whatever.

Once you know your schedule, try to set up radio and/or television interviews to coincide. Send newsworthy press releases to local papers with a release date that converges with the day or week you'll be in town. Work with the bookstores to get invitations and announcements sent out.

Book tours are a lot of work - and take a chunk of money. To make them profitable isn’t easy.
TweetIt from HubSpot


  1. I agree, it is a daunting challenge and a mountainous amount of work, especially if you are doing it all by your lonesome. I've looked at it several times and never had the time, energy, and moolah to really push one into reality. But I do appreciate all this advice and tips - I keep lots of your posts' permalinks stored, this one among them. Thanks!

  2. Much better to do virtual book tours then.

    In Quest of Theta Magic

  3. This is wonderful information on all the necessary preparation required for a successful signing. Thanks. At my blog today I talk about that offers a city by city database for signing venues. Now it’s just a matter of me putting all the good info from your blogs into action!

    Jane Kennedy Sutton

  4. Thanks for the tip on, Jane! That sounds like a great database.

    Hi Enid and Marvin. Marvin, you're doing a great job of creating an online presence!

  5. My take on tours (for what it's worth). Bookstores are good but groups/stores in your niche are better. I'm just back from 3 weeks out & about and saw (once again) that the events with herb/garden shops/groups had BY FAR the best attendance. Local bookstores sold books in most cases, altho in some cases, the groups sold as a fundraiser. Suggestion: develop a list of niche audiences you can pitch to, and create a reputation for yourself as a credible member of that group. (Of course, this presupposes that you've created a character who her/himself fits into a niche.)

  6. Great advice as always, Helen. I wish I'd known about many of these things when I was young and out driving around the state doing signing parties. Now, I much prefer virtual tours although I did enjoy making posters and writing PR for the media.

  7. Sage advice, and combining with other authors can help split the cost and work of promoting (assuming everyone pulls their weight) and gives you someone to hang out with during the awkward times when the signing desk isn't exactly swamped! True, you then have to compete for sales with the other authors, but it's a definite trade off for those who feel stuck in the tour doldrums.


  8. Thank you Jean and Lisa. So great to hear from authors who know!

    Speaking of which, Hi Susan. You are probably the expert as niche marketing. You have done such a fabulous job with your China Bayles series. Speaking of which...I had lunch with a friend today and we were talking books. I told her about that series. She wrote down your name (& made sure I told her how to spell "Wittig") and is going to look for them. She was especially intrigued by the setting of your latest China Bayle experience.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...