Managing Your Own Book Tour: Part I

Coaching Giveaway Report: Today is the day I’ll be contacting the winners of the free coaching. I will not be publishing names to keep all coaching confidential. It’s an ethical bond I want to continue. There were seven winners.

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Recently published a book? Going on book signings or a tour? Wear comfy shoes. Here are some notes  about what I’ve learned (some of it the hard way) from my book tour. No sense making mistakes if you can’t help others.

Make sure your book is at the top of the stack.

1. You care more than anyone else about your book. Book stores, art stores, libraries’ marketing managers are all understaffed and overworked. Your book is one in a long line of events, signings, and added work load on the store. Make it easy on the person you are working with by appreciating their job load and being flexible. Here’s how to do that:

  • Check out the book store to make sure their audience is right for you. If your book is how-to, don’t go to a mystery book store.
  • Check out the events in town the same day as your book signing. If there is a concert, art opening or big event that will drain your attendance,  re-think the date. You will have to check dates once the marketing person gives you a date, so ask your contact if you can  confirm within 24 hours and then do it right away.
  • Not every event will damage your attendance. You only care about the ones that are interesting to your target audience.
  • If your contact asks you to switch days, rooms, or stores, be flexible. Think long term–another opportunity, another book. It’s good to be remembered for helping out.

2. Check the calendar for holidays–and not just yours. An important religious holiday can not only drain your audience, but make you look insensitive.

3. Think event, not just signing. Book signings are getting harder to do. Celebrities draw crowds, but not every author is a celebrity. Think event–what is in your book that you can do with your audience that’s fun, relatively easy to do, and will make your audience want the book?

4. If you aren’t in a book store, make it clear who is bringing the books and how much they will be sold for. Not every store will automatically order your book. Find out before you show up.

5. If you sell your books yourself, you will need to charge sales tax. Get a sales tax license before you need it. They can take time. Know the local tax amount. Some locations have a county sales tax and a city sales tax. It’s your business to find this out. Check the city’s website, or call the comptroller’s office.

6. Not every cool location is well-organized. Check their website, subscribe to their blog or newsletter ahead of time. If they don’t update their blog regularly, if the website doesn’t show events, it will be hard to get people to show up.  And if people don’t show up, you aren’t selling your book and the cool location won’t either.

Tomorrow: The rest of the list in Part II

–Quinn McDonald is the author of Raw Art Journaling. She has learned a lot about book promotion in the last three months.