Hey everyone! I am so excited to share the steps I took to set up my first book tour with you! It was easily my favorite part of becoming an author! I would not have believed you if you told me a few years back that I would go on a book tour! I always thought you had to be a New York bestselling author to go on a book tour. Turns out that with some grit and determination, a good book, and an awesome personality, it’s doable for any author!
So, grab a cup of your favorite beverage, get comfy, and let's dive into the whirlwind adventure of setting up my first book tour!
The Idea Takes Root
The journey started with a simple idea - I wanted to connect with readers in a more personal way, beyond the pages of my book. A book tour seemed like the perfect way to achieve this. It's worth noting that while the term 'book tour' may conjure up images of famous authors jetting off to exotic locations, mine was a more humble affair. But hey, every great adventure starts with a small step, right?
Planning and Preparation
I began by identifying the cities where I had a significant number of readers. Thanks to social media and my author platform, I had a rough idea of where my book had found a home. Once I had my tour stops in mind, it was time to get organized.
Booking Venues: I scouted for venues that suited the atmosphere I wanted to create. Libraries, local bookstores, coffee shops, and community centers turned out to be fantastic options. Once I had my target locations, I reached out to the venue and inquired about their policies for hosting book signings. Some venues may require a fee or a percentage of your book sales, so it's important to clarify these details upfront.
Scheduling Dates: Coordinating dates with the venues was a puzzle. I had to consider their availability, my availability, and the best time for potential attendees. Pro tip: Flexible scheduling is your friend!
Promotion: I leaned heavily on social media, my author website, and local event listings to spread the word. A good mix of digital and traditional methods (like flyers at local cafes) did the trick. Since my audience was high school students, I also looked up local high schools around my venues and emailed school counselors about my tour stops.
"I always thought you had to be a New York bestselling author to go on a book tour."
The Tour Begins
When the first day of my tour arrived, I was a mix of excitement and nerves. Would anyone show up? Was this whole endeavor worth it? But then, as I stood in front of a small but enthusiastic crowd, those doubts melted away.
Meeting Readers: The best part of the tour was undoubtedly meeting readers face-to-face. Hearing their thoughts and questions about my book was incredibly rewarding.
Connecting with Booksellers and Librarians: I forged valuable connections with local booksellers and librarians who were eager to support local authors.
Learning Opportunities: Each tour stop brought new lessons. From adjusting my presentation style to dealing with unexpected hiccups, I grew as an author and public speaker.
Of course, it wasn't all smooth sailing. There were a few bumps along the way:
COVID: My book was released on January 1st, 2020. I had eight stops confirmed on my book tour and was actively working on 5 more. I did 3 stops before March 2020 and then the world shut down. The rest of the tour was canceled.
Logistics: Coordinating travel and accommodations was sometimes tricky, but meticulous planning helped mitigate this.
Attendance: Not every event had a huge turnout, but I quickly learned that size isn't everything. Even intimate gatherings can lead to devoted fans.
What I'd Do Differently
Looking back, there are a few things I'd do differently for my next tour:
Start Planning Earlier: Planning a book tour takes time, and starting earlier would have given me more flexibility with dates and venues.
More Local Media Outreach: Engaging with local media outlets can help generate buzz about your tour. I would have created flyers or posters to hang up around town and reached out to local media outlets to see if they would be interested in covering the event.
My first book tour as a self-published author was an unforgettable experience. It was a reminder that success isn't just about sales numbers; it's about connecting with readers and sharing the love for storytelling.
So, if you're thinking about setting up your own book tour, don't hesitate. It might seem daunting, but with careful planning and a healthy dose of enthusiasm, you can make it happen. And who knows, your book might just find a special place in the hearts of readers you meet along the way.
Happy touring, fellow authors! 📚🌟