Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Book Tour Adventures

Arielle Ford recently did an article on The Huffington Post called The Adventures of a Book Tour. She had some interesting experiences and knows of some others who did as well.

One example was “Andy” who had an interview on the Today Show, but showed up totally unprepared and untrained. “He never mentioned the title of his book or had any usable sound bites. The host of the interview never mentioned the title either. The book never sold and Andy never got another book deal.”

There were also examples that had happier ends, like one author who showed up multiple times for a TV interview, only to be bumped every time by the OJ Simpson trial. “He was very polite about it each time followed by "I was busy writing my next book anyway". He was asked back several times and is still a regular guest. The lesson here is to surprise the producers by not blowing up and instead by being understanding and gracious”

I have an example of a friend who showed up for a book signing at B&N, only to find the store had ordered books with a similar title (by a long dead author). No books to sign. Luckily, friends came to support her – one of them the owner of a local independent bookstore. That friend drove to her store and brought back all of the author's books that she had in stock.

How about you? Do you have any book tour adventures to share?

15 comments:

  1. I don’t have any adventures to share but your first example makes me feel much better about my first TV interview! I think the only thing I forgot to mention was my website and blog info.

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  2. Sounds like you did pretty good, Jane.

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  3. I'm impressed with the gracious author, and it demonstrates that it's how you handle things that rules the day.

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  4. How thrilling and nerve racking it would be to have an interview on one of the big morning shows.
    One store I showed up to for a signing hadn't opened the boxes my books had arrived in and no one but the manager was permitted to open them. She left for lunch and never returned! Fortunately I had brought some of my own copies along. Sold everyone of them and then the store replaced them when the manager got around to checking them into their system.

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  5. I was part of a group signing for an anthology and a woman came into the store asking to see Carol Kilgore. Her voice carried, and we all heard her and looked at each other. I didn't know her. The manager brought her to our table. We all wore name tags. She looked at me and said, "You're not Carol Kilgore. I want to see the REAL Carol Kilgore."

    Later I learned one of the town's socialites was named - you guess it - Carol Kilgore.

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  6. Susan, you clearly showed grace under stress. I bet you'll get asked back to that store!

    Carol, it sounds like you might want to be glad you weren't that Carol.

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  7. I had a one hour speaking engagement with Mensa. Everything that could go wrong, did. Could not get Internet access for my laptop (I really needed the visual aids). I had a DVD clip that did not work. My camera to record the event broke down. But I made a lot of friends and sometimes they ask me to meet them for lunch.

    Stephen Tremp

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  8. LOL! How long a comment can I post, Helen? After 300+ signings, yeah, I'd had some adventures.
    I'll toss out this one - going from a store in Newport News to one in Norfolk, VA, I had one hour between signings. I only had to go 6-7 miles. However, I had to go through the bridge-tunnel - which on this particular Saturday, was backed up two miles. I called the second store to let them know of the situation and the girl chirped "That's okay! We'll see you in a few minutes." Minutes? I was still four miles away and in stop and go traffic. Needless to say, I was really late. Fortunately, they not only let me stay later, but invited me back for another visit.

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  9. My first signing, in 1982, was at a bookstore some 150 miles from home. I was a relative unknown at that time, and the bookstore owner ran a quarter page newspaper ad listing me as Jan Mead, but we sold 40 books and I was treated as a small town celebrity. A signing the following week was in a huge mall in my hometown, where we only sold ten books and people thought I was a bookstore clerk. They asked me to retrieve books from high shelves (I'm tall), or to direct them to the restroom. :) You just never know how a signing will go. . .

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  10. Stephen, so sorry about all the mix-ups. Sounds like they were out of your control.

    Yay, Diane. You were probably so chirpy and sweet that they loved you.

    It's nice, isn't it Jean, to have some great signings to offset the bad ones!

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  11. I haven't got this far yet, but I think I'll make a list of dos and don'ts!

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  12. That's probably a good idea for all of us, Jemi.

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  13. I used to work in a bookstore that supported many new and established authors. My goodness the book signings varied. The most successful were the authors who were the most personable and relaxed. People felt comfortable and hung around to chat (without looking like "friends of the author") which in turn attracted more people.

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