Thursday, January 26, 2012

GOING UNDERCOVER

This week I’m winding down a month-long blog tour to promote the release of Death By Killer Mop Doll. Since the last weekend in December, I have been the guest blogger at 27 different blogs, with six more to go. I dubbed my tour the Sit on Your Butt Book Tour because all of my interaction with readers has been while…well, sitting on my butt. As exhausting as it was to come up with 33 different posts over the course of a month, a virtual tour sure beat driving hours and hours from one book store to the next and hoping that someone showed up.

There are many benefits to a virtual book tour. For one thing, I can do it while wearing my Disney jammies and fuzzy slippers. I’m not constantly filling my tank with gas at close to $3.50 a gallon, and I’m not racking up toll charges on my EZ-Pass account.

However, what I like most about a virtual tour is the interaction I have with readers. I once did a book store signing where in the two hours I was there, exactly two customers entered the store. One wanted to buy a newspaper (the bookstore didn’t sell newspapers,) and the other was looking for a gift for a birthday party her kid was going to attend later that day. Needless to say, neither of these customers was interested in my books.

On a virtual tour many readers pop in to say hello and comment. Do they then buy my books? I don’t know. But that’s a whole lot less stressful than sitting at a table with a pile of unsold books.

The virtual tour is also a lot more fun than trying to engage shoppers at a bookstore. I swear, these people must think that they’ll get sucked in by my “author ray” and be forced to buy a copy of my book! People go out of their way to avoid making eye contact. When I approach them and try to engage in conversation, half the time they act as if I’m a stalker for merely smiling and offering a friendly hello and a bookmark.

I’m a shy person by nature. Putting myself “out there” has never been easy for me. So it takes a lot for me to step out of my writer’s cave and psych myself up for these events. Over the years, I’ve become much better at faking an extrovert personality, but it’s still hard for me.

Except when I can go incognito.

Years ago, I had a friend who made mascot costumes for sports franchises and various companies. Once at a design conference, she needed someone to dress up in one of the costumes for a talk she was giving. Since we were rooming together at the conference, guess who got elected? That’s right, little ol’ shy moi.

I had a blast!

No one knew I was under that red kitty costume. It was a totally liberating experience for an introvert. And that’s what a virtual book tour is for me. This month has been tiring, but it’s also been fun. And a lot less stressful than sitting for two hour stretches at a bookstore.

Maybe next time I’m asked to do a bookstore signing, I should dress up as a giant red kitty.

Lois Winston writes the critically acclaimed Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mysteries series. The first book, Assault With A Deadly Glue Gun, was a January 2011 release and received starred reviews from both Publishers Weekly and Booklist and was recently nominated for a Readers Choice Award by the Salt Lake City Library System. Death by Killer Mop Doll is a January 2012 release. Visit Lois at http://www.loiswinston.com and Anastasia at the Killer Crafts & Crafty Killers blog, http://anastasiapollack.blogspot.com.

15 comments:

Vicki Doudera said...

I'm inspired, Lois... I'll be in touch. Congrats on your tour's near conclusion!

Lois Winston said...

Thanks, Vicki!

Robin Allen said...

I am virtually exhausted reading about your tour, Lois. I'm also astounded at your ability to come up with 33 interesting blog topics. I hope this pays off for you in fans and sales.

jennymilch said...

I'd love to see you as a kitty, Lois :) I am a big fan of the face-to-face event, although I can see why the SOYBT had its advantages--love the Disney jammies!! (Maybe you could wear those under the kitty costume :)

Kathleen Ernst said...

Congrats on the new release!

Kathleen Ernst said...

Congrats on the new release!

Kathleen Ernst said...

Congrats on the new release!

Linda Hull said...

What a great way to reach readers. I'm impressed!

Lois Winston said...

Thanks, Robin. I hope so, too!

Trust me, Jenny, it's too hot to wear anything under that costume!

Thanks, thanks, thanks, Kathleen. Looks like Blogger is hiccup prone today!

Thanks, Linda. You're impresses, and I'm exhausted!

Deborah Sharp said...

Now, that's something I'd pay to see: Lois Winston in a big red kitty outfit. Fun post ... and congrats on the almost-end of the sit-on-your-butt tour. Have you kept track of all the comments?

Lois Winston said...

Hmm....Deb, you may have given me a great way to make some money. ;-D

And yes, I have to keep track of all the comments. Everyone who comments gets added to the drawing for free books next week when the tour ends.

vergehiggins said...

Lois, that photo of you as a kitty is priceless! Congratulations on your blog tour! Can't wait to dig into the book . . ..

Jamie Lee Scott said...

I'm just starting my month long blog tour, but not doing one everyday, and I do applaud you for coming up with so many great blog posts.

Cris Anson said...

Hey, Lois, can you wear the Red Kitty to the LSFW conference in March? *grin*

I read Killer Mop Doll in one day and I found myself chuckling out loud. It was a FUN book to read!

Lois Winston said...

Thanks, Lisa. Hope you enjoy the book.

Jamie, best of luck on your blog you.

Cris, sorry but I don't have the costume. It resides in Atlanta. Glad I made you chuckle out loud. Thanks for telling me!