The last few years have seen a decrease in the old-fashioned book tour. Technology has allowed authors to replace the physical with virtual tools. Blog tours and other social media have ruled the writers marketing bag. Yet, research shows face-to-face marketing remains the most effective.
If the current business climate is to be believed, then more authors need to return to the road for success to be achieved. Yet, organizing the more traditional tour can be both difficult and expensive. Here are 12 tips to help you in achieving a successful book tour.
1) Write a Great Book – More and more authors are rushing to publication. Self-publishing has catered to writers egos and allowed them to chase volume instead of quality. Put off the tour for a year while you improve writing and create the best product.
2) Find Dependable Transportation – It might be exciting to have your main character break down in the middle of nowhere, but it’s no fun in real life. And very seldom is “Mr. Right” the one to find you!
3) Take a Companion – If you can find another author planning a tour, maybe you can work together and share the costs of travel. Besides, more than one name on an ad has a better chance of drawing an audience. Just be sure to pick someone you get along with since you will be sharing close quarters for the duration of the tour.
4) Allow Yourself Time – Take enough time to walk around and meet people. Not just at the book event, but enjoy the town itself. Visiting local businesses gives you more of that face-to-face time which helps with success, and the more places you see, the more your tour can be enjoyed like a vacation!
5) Careful Selection – If you can choose places where you have family or friends, they can help you organize events, get around more comfortably, and perhaps put you up for the night or provide a meal or two.
6) Visit Schools – Primary, secondary, and college teachers are all happy to have writers visit their classrooms. And local media is sometimes more likely to cover an event involving students.
7) Donate to Public Libraries – Librarians love to meet writers. They can help point you in the right direction for local marketing opportunities. They are also more likely to recommend authors they have met when making suggestions to the reading community.
8) Take Freebies – Personalized bookmarks, pens, or items mentioned in your book can go a long way with readers. Be sure to have your name and contact info (website) on each item.
9) Contact Media – Contact local media as soon as you schedule an event. Print, TV, and radio formats may all be interested in an author visit.
10) Don’t Get Frustrated – The world does not owe you anything. It’s perfectly normal for an unknown author to draw dismally small crowds. Be grateful, and maintain your confidence. I’d rather make one sale, and feel a connection with a reader than just read to a roomful of people who won’t remember me the next week.
11) Take Notes – Keep a journal of what you learn, experience, and wish you had done differently. This will be great for planning the next book tour.
12) Have Fun – I can’t help you with this. Only you have the power to spend your time doing things you enjoy.