How to plan a Book Tour

For authors, a Book Tour is something we have only dreamed about. Going from bookstore to bookstore, travelling across the country or state with a pile of freshly printed novels in tow, and sending our creation out into the world. But not everyone has the luxury of their publishing company setting up the Tour for them. For many, the mere thought of planning such a Tour by themselves causes a headache, as they groan at the thought of spending money they don’t have, contacting people they don’t know, and wondering if it’s all even worth it. I hope to dispel these rumors with this post.

As I write this, I am hours away from a scheduled Book Signing on my first Book Tour. I organized it myself, contacted the stores I needed to, and set the dates I wanted. It wasn’t easy, nor was it completed on one day. I was met with rejection, and most stores required that I send them a copy of my book before they’d even hold another second of conversation with me. This was difficult, because at the time of the Tour planning, my book was still a few weeks away from being available for purchase.

I’ve learned a lot about organizing, and the following tips are some of the tactics I feel have been the most helpful along the way.

Tip #1: Start with the stores closest to you. Don’t look out of state right away; try and keep it close to home and then expand from there. The reason is, it’s more cost-effective, plus you’ll receive a better showing from people who know you, rather than a store several hours away in a city you’ve never heard of.

Tip #2: Before you call any stores, write a quick dialogue to use as notes during the conversation. Think up a nice intro(ex. “Hello, my name is _______, I’m an author, and I’m interested in setting up a Book Signing at your store.”) Keep it simple and professional. Have your book with you to use as a reference in case they ask for the ISBN number, back cover text, etc.

Tip #3: If your book isn’t available yet, offer to send the store a PDF copy of your manuscript. You should have this, since you wrote the book. If for some reason you do not, ask your publishing company to email it to you. Most stores will accept this, and be sure to attach the file of the book’s cover photo, if you can.

Tip #4: Don’t just look for stores to visit; contact Universities, Library’s, and other places relevant to your book’s topic.

Tip #5: Once your Tour is completely scheduled, send promotional material(posters, bookmarks, stickers, etc) at least 2-3 weeks before your signing. Advertise on the local radio station, newspaper, Library, etc. If haven’t done so already, create a Facebook page for your book, and promote yourself on Twitter, Facebook, Google +, etc. The more ways you can spread the word, the more efficient your ad campaign will be.

Have fun with this, and don’t stress yourself out. Always schedule your Tour 2-3 months from the moment you begin contacting stores. This will give them time to prepare and find an open day for you to visit. Plan for a weekend signing, and ask the store what hours they receive the most traffic, and schedule the signing during that time frame.

For new authors, don’t forget to check out my posts for beginning writers, and follow this blog for more tips and advice!

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