The Do-It-Yourself Book Tour
It’s been quite a year. Since my pre-launch event last August, I’ve met and read to prospective readers, answered their questions, signed their books, at over two-dozen events and counting. This in-person tour was a totally do-it-myself operation. My small university press produced a beautifully designed book, but couldn’t offer much marketing support. Many new authors–even those with larger publishers–are in the same situation. With that in mind, here are tips to help you plan your own tour:
- Start on home turf. There’s nothing better than a book launch at your favorite neighborhood bookstore. Mine was at Watchung Booksellers in Montclair, New Jersey, where I had attended many signings, while fantasizing about my own. Your family, friends, and neighbors will rally, buy books–a win-win for you and the store!
- Expand to wherever you have a network and use it: target familiar bookstores, libraries, festivals, and book clubs. Colleges love having authors speak to students, and will offer an honorarium. Friends might throw you a book party. Mine did. Just ask!
- Publicize every event in print, online, and social media, on local radio and TV, on podcasts, on Facebook and Amazon book pages, and on your website. Post photos afterwards to maximize buzz.
- Target subject-related organizations. I have multiple events for a national widow organization in the coming year.
- Stay within driving distance from home–or not. Since this tour is probably on your own dime, it makes sense to avoid overnights, unless…you can combine a visit to far-afield family with one to their local bookstore. I did and it was well worth it. So cash in your miles. The book is your baby; you spent years raising it. Now give that child the send-off it deserves.
Final note: There will be setbacks–places you were counting on, that won’t respond. Persist. There are plenty of venues eager to support debut authors. Good luck and enjoy the adventure!