As with any good singing tour, a book tour requires as much preparation prior to push off as do the dates themselves. Knowing appropriate venues, high traffic locations, and timing, timing, timing is just the beginning.
If the subject content of your book is more appropriate to a coastal venue, then a coastal book tour should be planned following days of grunt work finding locations which includes: (a) bookstores, (b) gift shops, (c) historical societies, (d) maritime museums, and (e) libraries.
Again, alluding to timing, consideration must be given to the pertinent season. Additionally, holidays should be excluded as these are either not included in “business as usual” or likewise booked with more grand affair.
Concurrently as the route is set and venues engaged, time and money should be invested in promotional materials such as:
3. business cards
4. host engagement letters
5. updates and corrections to flyers
Coinciding with the engagement of event locations has to be the formulation of press releases and research into where and who should receive the information as well as being cognizant of release deadlines along with pictures should the newspaper accept them with the press release article. (Proof carefully the press release as you did the manuscript for typos, grammar, or other edit problems.)
Of course, an honest assessment of inventory needed for the entire tour must be given serious deliberation. Books in sufficient quantity must be available or have been ordered and timely delivery promised so that these are available to load with all the promotional materials.
Can a book tour be considered “Living the Dream”? What could be better than the expected promotion and sales of your book on a beautiful trip in a gorgeous area of our country being paid for along the way?
It is amazing how book sales can began to escalate up the ladder when you provide the appropriate audience corroborating evidence of a successful target market. Besides the scheduled events, give equal time to “cold calling” book and gift stores; any venue that might have interest in your subject matter. And how much better it is to walk into an appropriate facility without an advance book signing commitment and simply sell sets of books and walk back out with cash in hand without any of the accompanying time commitments normally demanded of a scheduled event!
Experiment and think outside the box when contemplating event sites. Many times if an enthusiastic venue is discovered, they will be more than happy to refer you to additional establishments who would be happy to engage your publication for sale and many of these might not have been previously considered.
It is amazing how much easier book sales can go when you sell your site specific or topic specific book to the appropriate audience. So where is your target market? Has that idea been considered as carefully as the plot? Is the book appropriate to historical libraries? Are there university collections that would be interested? Consider how certain industry shows might be the best promotion–boat show, gun or doll show–what is the genre of your publication? (Been to a Star Trek convention lately?) Secure a table and peddle away as a by-product of the show’s target traffic and focus toward your publication as an adjunct to the convention.
Have you done the research into who would most appreciate the genre or information you have published? Most of us don’t have the support of an agent or the luxury of mega-bucks or corporate sponsors who will provide promotion. There are, however, endless resources for where and how your book’s subject is best utilized and appreciated. You spent the time to write and publish–now develop a plan; research and promote your book with the same enthusiasm. Do not expect to sit back on your heels once the book is published whether through an agent or self-published. Don’t think for a minute the work is done–let the agency handle the marketing. Now the real work begins–find and target your readership–then develop a marketing plan and stick to it. Monitor and keep track of the plan to develop a chart of where it is successful and where it isn’t. If your best bet is a book tour where you can lay your publication into the hands of those who will work to sell it for you–great! (And isn’t that what you want?) A successful book tour can definitely be considered “living the dream”.