Thursday, April 28, 2011
On the Road Again ...
When this article posts, I will be sitting in the Denver, Colorado, airport waiting to board my flight to Washington, DC after having gotten up at o'dark thirty to drive to Denver from my home in Colorado Springs. Thus begins my East Coast Book Tour: 9 events in 10 days in 3 states (Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania). To see what I have planned, go to the Appearances page of my website.
Am I crazy? No, I'm just trying to make my promotion dollars stretch as far as possible. You see, every single bit of this trip will be paid out of my pocket. Like most authors, my publishers don't pay for me to go on tour. That only happens for bestselling authors, who really don't NEED to go on tour--readers are going to buy their books anyway. But for mid-list authors who DO need to visit different locations to get our name out there and meet booksellers, librarians, and readers, that tour money isn't forthcoming. So, it comes out of our advance checks.
Thus the need to stretch those travel dollars as far as possible.
Here's how I'm doing it. First, I dug into my frequent flier mileage accounts to pay for the flights, flying out on one airline's miles and returning on another's. I will rely on public transportation and a friend to get around in the Washington, DC area. That's so I can put off picking up a discount rental car using a Costco coupon until Sunday.
When I'm staying in hotels or motels for the Malice Domestic conference in Bethesda, Maryland, and the Festival of Mystery in Oakmont, Pennsylvania, I'm sharing a room with another mystery author. Otherwise, I'm mooching on a friend in Arlington, Virginia, for one night, an author friend in Annapolis, Maryland for one night, my sister in Charlottesville, Virgina, for another night, and my parents in Hampton, Virginia for four nights. Bread-and-butter gifts to my hostesses will likely be autographed copies of Deadly Currents.
I'll have one bookstore signing in each of the first three "mooch" locations, then I will use my parents' home as a base of operations for four events in the Tidewater area of Virgina: a signing at my alma mater (The College of William and Mary Bookstore), signings at two other bookstores in Newport News and Richmond, and teaching a class to the Hampton Roads Writers on "Realistic and Effective Dialogue in Fiction" that will net me a small speaker's fee. I spent my high school and college years in Hampton and Williamsburg, so even though the Tidewater area of Virginia is a loooong way from my current home in Colorado, I can claim "home town girl" status.
Whenever I can find a spare moment, I'll stop at other nearby bookstores to sign stock, if they have my book on their shelves, or to leave a postcard or bookmark if they don't, along with a suggestion that they order some copies. And those meals that aren't included in conference registrations or provided by my much-appreciated hosts? Will they be at fancy restaurants? No way, Jose! We're talking fast food salads or subway sandwiches for most of them.
So, what do you think of the glamorous life of the author on book tour? Want to join me?