What’s it like to go on a national author’s tour?
The publishing world has changed, and publishers have a lot less money now to send writers on national authors’ tours around the country to promote their books. Social media also has contributed somewhat to that demise, but what is it like when an author does get to go?
I was one of the privileged few to get a chance to hop-scotch across the country trying to sell one of my books SINGLES: THE NEW AMERICANS (Simon & Schuster), and while I don’t think it helped much in the sale of the book, I did get a letter from The White House asking for a copy.
How does it begin, and where do you go, who handles it for you, who takes you around, and where do you eat and stay? Well, the publishing house sets up the tour, arranging for as much media exposure as they can, from early morning to late evening. You might find yourself doing a magazine interview, several radio shows, a TV show and a newspaper interview – in one day.
I even gave interviews while I was eating dinner.
The way it worked then is that your “handler,” or publisher’s rep, would meet you at the airport, take you to the hotel, and then take you around to each interview. He or she would have a copy of your media schedule and they would be responsible for you. In my case, I was traveling with my co-author and so they were responsible for both of us.
After a while it becomes a blur. You find yourself saying the same things to everyone, and if you have a co-author, the two of you become an act. You use the same buzzwords over and over, and if you forget your lines, your co-author knows when to come in.
After the tour was over, we were scheduled to do the Today Show in New York. I was living in New Jersey at the time and the show sent a limo to pick me up. The chauffeur got lost, and by the time we got to the studio, my co-author was frantic because they told him that if I didn’t show up, he would have to go on alone.
The act was written for two of us, and we almost didn’t make it. There was no time for the green room makeup, but I was wearing a lot of my own makeup, and we were whisked onto the set. All went well. Whew!
What questions were we asked? When we were interviewed by then-Today Show host Jane Pauley, she wanted to know why so many high-income career gals suffered such abuse at singles bars.
What did America’s singles want to know? The biggest question asked from coast to coast was “How can I meet men (or women)?” Some of the people who interviewed me even wanted to know about my single life before I married, and if any of the findings pertained to me.
What did the publishers get out of this?
Media reads media, so we did get a lot of publicity about the book, especially since it was the first study ever done that was representative of America’s singles.
At that time 50 million Americans were single.
Now we have over 100 million.
Maybe I should do another book.
If you become a published author, should you push for that national’s author tour?
Unless your book is the main selection for that particular publishing period, you won’t have much of a chance. You can probably do more for it by learning about social media, and how to operate within those boundaries.
— Jackie Simenauer