What to Expect From Your First Book Tour

I’ve been so busy running around the country I've hardly realized it's been several months have elapsed since Crown published my book, Radio Shangri-La. Here’s a bit of what this first-time author has learned. First of all, let me say that I sent myself on the road. Most publishers these days are more likely to invest in what mine did, a “web tour,” where a third party is hired by and myriad blogs are approached with advance copies in exchange for the promise of a review. That was great; those free book giveaways that happened just as the book hit, to generate buzz.
Author:
Publish date:

I’ve been so busy running around the country I've hardly realized it's been five months have elapsed since Crown published my book, Radio Shangri-La. Here’s a bit of what this first-time author has learned.

(What are the BEST writers' conferences to attend?)

Guest column by Lisa Napoli, author of the memoir,
Radio Shangri-La: What I Learned in Bhutan, the
Happiest Kingdom on Earth (Feb. 2011, Crown).
Publishers Weekly said of the book: "Napoli's
adventures ... will delight readers." Lisa is a
journalist who has worked in all media. She began her
career at CNN in the early 80s. A native of Brooklyn,
she now lives in Los Angeles.

Image placeholder title

First of all, let me say that I sent myself on the road. Most publishers these days are more likely to invest in what mine did, a “web tour,” where a third party is hired by and myriad blogs are approached with advance copies in exchange for the promise of a review. That was great; those free book giveaways that happened just as the book hit, to generate buzz.

But as a veteran journalist, I knew I couldn’t rely on a Web tour and Facebook alone. There are a lot of great books out there. I needed to sell, sell, sell. And that meant visiting bookstores, and libraries, and clubs.

MEDIA MATTERS

Anywhere I went, I plotted: which media are logical to hit up for an interview? In my old haunt of North Carolina, for instance, an appearance on Frank Stasio’s show on WUNC turned out over 70 people to Quail Ridge Books in Raleigh. The bookseller was astonished.

Store mailing lists are powerful tools. By visiting, you get mentioned in them--and I've experienced that the power of that alone can yield a packed house.

Not every stop has been jammed. Even when only a few people show up, you get an amazing opportunity to speak long and intently to interested, interesting people who will forever be ambassadors for you and your book. And by meeting the bookseller and making a good impression, you're giving them another reason to recommend your book (ie. that signed copy you signed makes a great present.)

(11 ways to assist a friend in promoting their new book.)

THE POWER OF LIBRARIES AND BOOK CLUBS

Then, there are the libraries. Conventional wisdom is that people who go to library events may not buy books. But they are passionate readers--who talk up your book to their friends.

And the book clubs and ladies lunches! One random chat with someone in a cafe led to an appearance at a bookstore I didn’t even know about and their enthusiasm led a local book club to choose Radio Shangri-La and invite me as their guest. Then there are the Skype interviews I’ve started to do with book clubs as a result of the aforementioned Web tour and giveaway. In each stop, you are meeting fellow humans who join your book promotion army.

WHAT DO YOU GET FOR ALL THAT SWEAT EQUITY?

So: Is my book a major bestseller? Maybe next year in paperback…..but here’s why I already consider it a success: Every day, I get incredible mail from people around the world, an author’s dream come true. Every day, people sign up for my Twitter feed or blog, which means they’re visiting my website. Not to mention all the places I’ve seen, many in my own state.

And if there’s any one takeaway here for authors , it’s that writing a book isn’t just about writing a book. It’s about selling your book–and there’s no one magic bullet, and no one like you to do it. (Although that army you're enlisting will be with you every step of the way.) I’ve loved every single crazy often exhausting minute of the last five months, the people I’ve met, the old friends and colleagues who’ve showed up along the way, visiting bookstores and libraries and luncheons in beautiful communities filled with people who love books, love reading, love learning.

Which is the thrill of writing, isn't it? That someone wants to hear what you have to say.

Image placeholder title

Are you a subscriber to Writer's Digest magazine
yet? If not, get a discounted one-year sub here.

Other writing/publishing articles & links for you:

Image placeholder title

Want to build your visibility and sell more books?
Create Your Writer Platform shows you how to
promote yourself and your books through social
media, public speaking, article writing, branding,
and more.
Order the book from WD at a discount.

Weinstein_1:21

The Writer, The Inner Critic, & The Slacker

Author and writing professor Alexander Weinstein explains the three parts of a writer's psyche, how they can work against the writer, and how to utilize them for success.

Stottlemyre_1:21

Todd Stottlemyre: On Mixing and Bending Genres

Author Todd Stottlemyre explains how he combined fiction and nonfiction in his latest book and what it meant as a writer to share his personal experiences.

plot_twist_story_prompts_take_a_trip_robert_lee_brewer

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Take a Trip

Every good story needs a nice (or not so nice) turn or two to keep it interesting. This week, have a character take a trip somewhere.

Probst_1:20

Making the Switch from Romance to Women’s Fiction

In this article, author Jennifer Probst explains the differences between romance and women's fiction, the importance of both, and how you can make the genre switch.

Wrobel_1:20

Stephanie Wrobel: On Writing an Unusual Hero

Author Stephanie Wrobel explains how she came to write about mental illness and how it affects familial relationships, as well as getting inside the head of an unusual character.

who_are_the_inaugural_poets_for_united_states_presidents_robert_lee_brewer

Who Are the Inaugural Poets for United States Presidents?

Here is a list of the inaugural poets for United States Presidential Inauguration Days from Robert Frost to Amanda Gorman. This post also touches on who an inaugural poet is and which presidents have had them at their inaugurations.

precedent_vs_president_grammar_rules_robert_lee_brewer

Precedent vs. President (Grammar Rules)

Learn when to use precedent vs. president with Grammar Rules from the Writer's Digest editors, including a few examples of correct usages.

Poetry Prompt

Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 554

Every Wednesday, Robert Lee Brewer shares a prompt and an example poem to get things started on the Poetic Asides blog. This week, write a future poem.

new_agent_alert_tasneem_motala_the_rights_factory

New Agent Alert: Tasneem Motala of The Rights Factory

New literary agent alerts (with this spotlight featuring Tasneem Motala of The Rights Factory) are golden opportunities for new writers because each one is a literary agent who is likely building his or her client list.