Skip to main content

Not Exactly a Book Tour

In the minds of many, a book tour is a glamorous thing, but like most everything else, reality is more prosaic than poetic. There are authors who draw crowds of adoring fans, like Rick Castle always does on the TV show. (BTW, I wish I had a quarter for every time someone asked me if I think Nathan Fillion really writes those books. PulEEZE!)
Most of us don't draw crowds; in fact, we're happy for every person that shows up. A speaker at Sleuthfest, the conference I attended in Florida last week, described arriving at a bookstore to find every audience chair filled, only to have them empty when it was announced over the loudspeaker that his presentation was about to start. He learned the homeless of the area were allowed to come in out of the cold and sit in the chairs, but they knew they had to leave when his talk began. Not only did he have an audience of only one person, he was responsible for the rest being tossed out into the cold!
People also imagine that publishers arrange tours for authors. They think we're met by limo drivers and escorted by publicists. That's true for a few, but most of us arrange our own events, and it's getting harder and harder. Bookstores are struggling financially, and some now charge authors a fee for a signing. And with library funds slashed, don't expect much in the way of remuneration there.
Fun with the "sexiest men at SF"
What I did for the last few weeks was in no way a tour. We wanted to escape the cold, and we hadn't been to Florida for several years. I signed up for Sleuthfest in Deerfield Beach, knowing it was a nice conference in a great area. As part of the con I did some instruction and some introductions, and I met a lot of really nice people.
Afterwards we drove north to Lake Alfred, to a library that's been transformed since I last saw it. Due to a generous donation from an unassuming gentleman, the town now has a new building that's everything a small library could hope for. The people there were so nice I felt pampered, even spoiled, and we had a great day, a lovely lunch, and few laughs together.
How nice to have my books featured at Lake Alfred!
That was the tour part. I didn't schedule more events, because we were supposed to be vacationing.
Lake Alfred's Clever Mystery Spot
 John's very patient with my "job stuff," but it's no fun for him to wait around in a hotel room or drive around large cities by himself while I talk, talk, talk about books and writing. We turned to things we both like to do: Busch Gardens, a Tigers game, and the Plant City Strawberry Festival. We once had a house near there, and it was fun to go back, though we found that the house itself has been torn down. Now we're back in Michigan, with snow instead of 80+ temps. As they say, it's good to get away, and great to get back home.
Intriguing art shop in New Smyrna Beach
John checking out the fauna at Busch Gardens

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Book Clubs Take Note: Discussion Guide: Sister Saint, Sister Sinner

  When I sent Sister Saint, Sister Sinner to my editor, she was (as usual) helpful about pointing out areas that needed more development, parts that repeated information already given, and places where the logic  temporarily failed. At the end, she made a comment that stuck with me: "People are going to be talking about the things you deal with in this book." To me, that meant the story was destined for book clubs. Having visited a few in my years of writing, I knew that they often begin with a list of discussion topics. Now, they often don't stay focused on them, and that's okay. Sometimes it's the wine. Sometimes it's a natural progression. But discussion leaders like having questions that can get the conversation back on track when it strays too far from the story. Every person who reads a book gets something out of it that no one else does. I had the experience once of visiting a book group where one reader didn't like the book and kept bringing up her

What Do You Have of Grandma's?

My grandmother died on my birthday in 1968. We couldn't wish her back, since she'd been in a lot of pain for a long time. Later, I helped Mom clean out her house, and we came upon her sewing basket. For some reason I asked if I could have it, and my mother said yes. I still have it. I think of her every time I take it out of its cupboard, though I can't think of a single time I saw Grandma sewing. It's hers, and that's enough. My other grandmother was the type who asked her progeny what they wanted of her things long before she died. One day when I was visiting I told her about my new hobby, refinishing old furniture. Pointing to a table that had always sat in her living room, she explained that as a young woman she too had taken up that task. The classic-style table was cherry wood, she told me, and she had rescued it from somewhere and given it new life with elbow grease and varnish. "Maybe you'll want it when I'm gone," she said, and I readi

What a Month!

I was thrilled with the response to my giveaway in August, so thanks to all who requested a print book. I'm sorry if you didn't get one, but they went fast! I've been receiving emails from readers, some letting me know the book had arrived in the mail, and others letting me know the reader had finished and would be posting a review. One clever girl even put a pic of the book on Facebook, so I got some free advertising. To one and all, thank you! The process was hectic for a while, since I wanted to get the books in the mail ASAP. The people at my little post office were patient and helpful. I combed local dollar stores to get enough bubble mailers of the correct size. There was time spent, and money. Why would I do that? Writers often spend hundreds of dollars on advertising that goes out into a world of people who don't care much about their books. I chose to spend that money to send books to people who'd already noticed me, either here on the blog or by signing