How long should a book tour last?

Dude, when’s the tour over? Undoubtedly the question has been asked by both music fans and roadies alike. For a Stones or Dead fan, the answer is, quite simply, never (even if, like the Dead, they tour under different names and as solo artists, you know they’ll always do reunion tours). For less illustrious acts, the tour may end next month at the set date, or it may end tomorrow, if fans haven’t filled venues and events must be cancelled due to lack of attendance.

But what about for authors? How long can an author tour promoting one book? A few months? A year? Forever? How long should he or she tour before parking behind in chair and cranking out the next book? 

When my latest novel, The Brink, came out in May 2010, I began scheduling events that could all be considered “tour events.” There have been around 20 or so signings in Texas and Louisiana. Even one in Pennsylvania (Go Bucknell Bison!) I’ve also parlayed my experience “on the road” into a presentation that I give at local (Dallas/Fort Worth area) venues such as libraries and civic organizations. In it, I give the highs and lows of being an author in the 21st century at a time when the publishing industry seems to be more confused about where its going than a five year old trying to take the SATs. So, I guess those events can also be considered “tour events” as well.

So, when will it end?  Well, I hope, never. It’s been my very very slim experience in the world of book promotion that you’re always on tour. More specifically, when a bookstore or library or book club calls or emails with an opportunity for you to do a signing, a presentation, or appearance, if your schedule allows, you do it. Again, we gain fans ONE AT A TIME. Hopefully, the same effect that happened with Sassoon or Breck or whatever shampoo Heather Locklear was hawking back in the 80s, where a reader reads your book, and tells two friends, and they tell two friends, and so on and so on, will happen.

Still, if and when that does, you’ll always be “on tour.” Hey, just think of yourself like the Stones or the Dead. At least you’ll be in great company. And you won’t have to deal with any bitching roadies whining about going home.   

WARNING – Shameless self promotion alert! – I’ll be signing copies of my latest suspense thriller, The Brink, this Saturday (Jan 15) from 2pm-4pm at the Barnes & Noble on Park and Preston in Plano, Texas.  Y’all come by if you can!

 

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