Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Beyond This Blog: The Adventures of a Book Tour

Here’s an article excerpt that may be useful to anyone planning a book event. I experienced a similar situation to “The Cupboards are Bare” (see below) when a bookstore chain in Arkansas told me they didn’t allow authors to bring their own books into the store and that they would, instead, order copies through their distributor for my scheduled book signing. When I called the bookstore the day before the event to reconfirm, the manager told me they had “forgotten” to order the books.

What mishaps have you experienced with writing-related events?

The Adventures of A Book Tour
(Excerpt from an article on The Huffington Post by Arielle Ford; Publicist and Writer)

Are you ready for a laugh? Are you new to the published author world and you want to learn from others' mistakes and not always just your own? Read on.

Little Orphaned Andy. "Andy" received a 6-figure advance for his first book with one of the top six publishers in the business. Soon after the contract was signed, the editor who "bought" the book on behalf of the publisher left the firm. In publishing terms, Andy was therefore orphaned. He was assigned to another editor that did not have any skin in the game (she was not responsible for its success). Andy did not push for strong support. He assumed everything was on schedule and he waited to be told what to do.

Andy was virtually ignored until the book was released. His very first interview was on the Today Show and no one took the time to media train him. He had never been on television before... can you guess what happened? He never mentioned the title of his book or had any usable sound bites. The host of the interview never mentioned the title either. The book never sold and Andy never got another book deal. Andy vanished into obscurity. The publishing world does not forget. When an author gets a 6-figure advance, people in the know will be watching for great results.

The Soloist. I have personally walked into a book signing and was the only one there. I ended up buying a dozen donuts for the staff and became friends with everyone there. That way when customers did come in they would hand sell my books through recommendations to customers.

The Cupboards are Bare. Because of issues with the distributor, shipping or customs I have known many authors to show up to book signings and there were no books to sell. The only thing you can do is sign book plates that get pasted into the book once they do arrive.

Double Vision. I had a client who arrived at a national television show for an interview wearing the exact same outfit as the host. You can imagine that the host was not going to change. My client did not bring extra clothes with her so she had to borrow clothes that were not attractive or well-fitting.

Early Departure. I have known many authors whose segments on television shows were canceled while they were in the Green Room as a result of breaking news or running over their time allotment. Many years ago I had a client who was canceled while at the studio multiple times during the OJ Simpson trial. He was very polite about it each time followed by "I was busy writing my next book anyway". He was asked back several times and is still a regular guest. The lesson here is to surprise the producers by not blowing up and instead by being understanding and gracious.

If you are an author and you are on the road there are a couple of things you should always have. Extra copies of your book and extra clothes.

Arielle Ford has launched the careers of many New York Times bestselling authors including Deepak Chopra, Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, Neale Donald Walsch & Debbie Ford. She is a former book publicist, literary agent and the author of seven books.

This excerpt provided with permission of Jerry D. Simmons, from the July 2010 issue of his “TIPS for WRITERS from the PUBLISHING INSIDER” newsletter. Subscriptions available through his website,


Jennifer Rova said...

Follow the Boy Scout motto: Be prepared (for anything). And...continually follow-up. Lot's of good teaching examples in this blog.

Norm de Plume said...

It it hard to believe that professionals who are in the business of selling books do not act more responsibly. This was a good article for "newbie" writers especially.