Thursday, November 16, 2006
I'm finally beginning to recover from the jet lag caused by last week's major road trip, so I thought I'd get around to telling you all about it.
I went to Los Angeles to do a hit-and-run book tour with media escort Ken Wilson. What this means is that instead of having formal book signings, where I sit behind a desk and pray that readers show up to get their books signed, I went hopping from store to store, meeting booksellers at each one, giving away free books, and signing the store's stock.
Ken was absolutely amazing. He knows all the local bookstores, and many of the staff at each one. He plots out an itinerary, carefully avoiding all the worst of the Southern California traffic, then introduces his clients to the booksellers, all the while giving a very professional and enthusiastic sales pitch. He also did a great job of time management, keeping us at each store as long as we needed to be there to make the necessary impression, but not so long as to overstay our welcome or unduly strain our schedule.
We hit 23 bookstores in two days. I still can't quite believe we managed to do that! Especially when afterward, my husband and I spent some vacation time in the area and discovered what it's like to drive in the Southern Cal traffic without a native guide to help you out. Nothing like being on a 7-lane highway that's bumper to bumper. Especially when you don't know your way around and are never sure when your exit is coming up.
Any published authors reading this blog, I would encourage you to look into the possibility of doing a tour with Ken. (Feel free to email me for his contact info.) It's a great opportunity to schmooze with booksellers. And, of course, to get the signed copies of your book displayed with extra prominence. Not only that, since you give away at least one book per store, you can get the staff to hand-sell your book if they enjoy it. Having someone like Ken, who knows the booksellers and is a naturally gregarious salesman, really helps break the ice, especially for us shy folk who are uncomfortable approaching strangers.
All in all, it was a great trip. Despite the traffic problems. Despite the fact that my husband came down with a cold. And despite the fact that I ended up having to do some emergency revisions to The Devil Inside during the vacation portion of the trip. Hmm . . . I think I need a vacation from my vacation!