The Paid For Bookstore Tour, A Thing of the Past? - A Piece Of My Mind
Reading and writing, like everything else, improve with practice. And, of course, if there are no young readers and writers, there will shortly be no older ones. Literacy will be dead, and democracy - which many believe goes hand in hand with it - will be dead as well. ? Margaret Atwood
“I wrote a book. It sucked. I wrote nine more books. They sucked, too. Meanwhile, I read every single thing I could find on publishing and writing, went to conferences, joined professional organizations, hooked up with fellow writers in critique groups, and didn’t give up. Then I wrote one more book.” ? Beth Revis
A person who publishes a book willfully appears before the populace with his pants down. If it is a good book nothing can hurt him. If it is a bad book nothing can help him.” ? Edna St. Vincent Millay
Many years ago, all an author had to do was write a good book, get a publisher to publish it and then go on a public relation trip to promote the book on the publishing house's dime.
In 1990, I wrote the first of three novels for a British publisher only for the European marketplace. That meant it wasn't released in the USA. This AMERICAN style mystery series was cute fluff. It was my take off on part Ellery Queen and part Columbo in its overtones. It was very 1990's in scope and delivery. It was about an American novelist in London who stumbles into situations (Think Castle... Think Roger Moore's The Saint. Think Murder She Wrote). Trust me, they would not win awards today if I reissued them. In hindsight, it was a hack writing job I did for the money. It paid a few rent payments. If you find a copy of one of these mysteries, I will sign it fearfully.
Nevertheless, The British publisher generously gave me a FREE week long trip to the UK and a hell week of PR duties to promote the novel. They also gave me a nice travel voucher for my travel expenses, time and the tour. They also gave me an assistant named Diane. She drove me to every event and stayed with me to help me through everything. If it wasn't for her I do not believe I would have made half of the tour that was scheduled.
A PR tour then included small book shops, small department stores, local radio shows and usually morning television shows. It was also small hotel rooms with mostly murphy beds (A bed that comes out of the wall), food for the road (both bad and good) and a lot of talking regarding the book, where I got the ideas from and who inspired me (Gawd that sounds like what I ask authors on my Blog Talk Radio shows). It was a week of 18 hour days. In thinking back, I wonder how I did it and LIVED!
I do remember when I came home to the states I hit my bed and slept off my weeks’ worth of jet lag. That week felt like a month. I was not an international traveler that I should have been.
However, I’ve never had a trip like that again. I did not sight-see, I just spoke with many people. It was rare and enjoyable.
There were many fun things that happened. One sticks in my mind and makes me laugh a lot. I was booked for a morning show. It did it LIVE, remote from Leeds Castle, where one of the scenes of the book takes place. The night before it rained, the evening dew turned to London Fog. You could barely see your hand in front of your face. The camera had to do a close up on my face during the whole interview.
About an hour later, Diane and I stopped for brunch at a place outside of Leeds. One of the waitress staff looked at me “You're the man from the telly” She said it so loud, everyone in the cafe heard it and turned their heads. I just nodded. A minute later, out came my full English Breakfast with stewed tomatoes, egg sun side up and a large slab of country ham. People looked at me and watched me eat every drop of my meal.
Some little girl, who heard the waitress, came up to me at the table. “Sir, Are you famous?”
I said with a smile, “No, I am just a writer!”
The reason I bring up this old memory is because week long PR Book Tours don't happen anymore. You either do a one day round robin session via Skype or live interviews ...or the author does conventions (Like Romantic Times, RWA, Book Expo America or weekend book shows like Hallowreads) ... or authors do Facebook/Goodreads/Night Owl/ blog tours. Most of it is now mass media internet.
NOTE: Unless the author is paying out of his or her pocket for the trips to small book stores, it rarely happens anymore. Even large name authors don't usually do large book tours and not in small book shops. I’m not saying it does fully happen anymore, however it is rare these days. Plus many books are now selling as eBooks, the ideas of small book shops have faded away, they are being replaced by super-book stores like Barnes & Nobles, Books A Million, E-book stations and Amazon.com.
I am NOT saying Blog Tours don’t gather attention, they do. My radio shows that I do also (Let’s Talk and ANYTHING GOES) gather media attention. Also Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads and Amazon select programs gather people to books. However, I miss the road tour!
Reach for the Stars
Columnist: Bennet Pomerantz has covered the Audio medium for the last 20 years. He has syndicated newspaper columns, AUDIOWORLD and "Movies of Your Mind", in Affaire De Coeur Magazine. In which he showcase his vast and diverse knowledge of the spoken word medium.
He is also known as a media review critic (books, music, graphic novels, DVDs, CDs) in his weekly syndicated newspaper column "A Piece of the Page". He also is a ranked media reviewer for Amazon.com. http://www.facebook.com/bennet.pomerantz1 / E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org