Tag Archives: book tour

Four Must Haves for a Successful Book Tour

1. Hire a publicist. Not only should your publicist schedule your book events, she should also make your hotel and travel arrangements. This extra service is worth the expense, since it prevents missed opportunities. I only listened to half of this advice by hiring a publicist to arrange only the book signing events. Because my publicist did not plan my travel arrangements, I ended up being unable to reschedule one leg of my flight to take advantage of a last minute TV interview. If my publicist had managed the entire trip, this would not have happened.

2. Hire an author escort or roadie. An author escort meets you at the airport, takes you to your hotel, and drives you to the event. She may also highlight points of interest in each city and suggest places to go for meals. If you can’t afford an author escort, you can also hire a roadie who will carry your bags to and from the airport, drive you to your hotel and events, and take pictures for your website. The roadie won’t pack your suitcase, so you may still forget that beautiful angora sweater on the hotel duvet, which is exactly what I did.

My Roadie
My Roadie

3. Bring your own pen. Every bookstore manager asked, “Where’s your pen?” Not only was I unaware of the expectation that each author has a special book tour pen, I only carried those fine tipped ball point pens I use to jot down notes when inspiration strikes. If I had known better, I would have purchased a red fine tipped felt pen for autographing books – red to emphasize the title and the message of happiness.

4. Bring your own bottled water. Most bookstores supplied water, but the schools I visited did not. You do not want to lean over a water fountain with a highway of students pushing and shoving down the halls between periods in the hopes of quenching your thirst. It does not work. If I had brought my own water, I would have been less hoarse and tired after giving 5 presentations in one day.

My Lucky Visit

More Questions
I enjoyed spending the day with students in Tomah, Wisconsin, discussing the themes of my memoir, Red Eggs and Good Luck, and answering questions about writing, Chinese culture, and what it means to be true to yourself. I appreciated the attentive audience with their enthusiastic questions. Their pure joy of learning fueled me through five presentations, three at the middle school and two at the high school, for a full day of fun!

Boswell Book Company


Thank you to Todd Wellman at Boswell Book Company for welcoming me tonight.

Thank you to all the fans who showed up, especially Sydney Hofer, a long-time Goodreads and Facebook friend and fan who helped draw interest in the event.

Thank you to all the new readers I met tonight. I appreciated the enthusiastic and inquisitive questions that led to a lively discussion.

Boswell Reading 1

On the Road

This week I’ll be traveling from city to city to speak about Red Eggs and Good Luck. I’ll be posting blogs when I can and updating Twitter or Facebook when I can’t. I’m looking forward to meeting some fans and making new friends and exploring new cities. Special thanks to my publicist Eva, my longtime fan Sydney, and my fellow writer Amanda for helping make this trip possible.

Fall Book Tour Dates

Below is a list of confirmed events to promote Red Eggs and Good Luck. I hope you can make it to one or more of them!

East Coast

One More Page Books
Tuesday, October 27th from 7-8 pm


Boswell Book Company
Thursday, October 29th from 7-9 pm

Tomah County Middle and High Schools
Friday, October 30th from 11 am to 3 pm

West Coast

Green Apple Books
Wednesday, November 4th from 7-9 pm

Best Wishes Cards and Gifts
Thursday, November 5th – Details to follow

The Business Behind Another Coffee Shop Book Tour

Taking the Show on the Road

I am gearing up for the publication of my fourth book, The Human Act, a collection of short stories from All Things That Matter Press and am planning my sales and marketing strategy. From the results of my last encounter with bookstores such as Barnes and Noble, I do not even want to approach the marketing department to request a reading or book signing event. Some retail stores and gift shops, such as Best Wishes!, will host an event for me. But if I want to reach a nationwide audience, there is a lot of leg-work that needs to be done.

First, I have to get a seller’s permit for every city I travel to if I am going to be selling directly to the public. I have to collect sales tax based on the city’s rate, which can fluctuate between 7% and 9%, depending on the city or the county. That money has to be paid to the state either quarterly or yearly based on my sales volume. If I want to be able to avoid paying tax twice, I have to get a resale certificate, which will allow me to purchase my books without paying sales tax. Not all businesses accept resale certificates. That’s why historically a lot of authors purchased their books in volume through Amazon. But with recent legislation, most online retailers will be charging and collecting sales tax from all purchasers. That’s when a resale certificate comes in handy.

Second, I have to decide where I will be selling my books if I am going to finance my own book tour. If I am going to attend a book festival, I have to budget for the registration fees and other associated costs, such as booth and equipment rentals. Event costs can vary from a hundred dollars to thousands of dollars, depending on the venue and the amenities. But some costs are worth the investment, especially if a high volume of books are sold.

Next, I have to check with my accountant before making any marketing decisions to see whether or not the investment is tax deductible. Some things I can write-off; others I cannot. For example, if I store my books and other merchandise in a storage unit, I can write-off the monthly rental fee. But if I buy a “Human Act” T-shirt to wear to a book festival, the Internal Revenue Service considers that a uniform, which is not tax deductible.

Not all promotion costs money. Some of it costs time. From experience, I have had to learn how to value my time, which is not something all authors do. Posting on Facebook and Twitter and writing blogs are free, but they have an initial time investment. If I translate my time into dollars, I am spending money when I take time to complete any of these tasks. By learning how much my time is worth, I am able to calculate my true profit margin. Without knowing my profit margin, I cannot evaluate the most effective way to attract and increase sales.

Everyone is different. Some authors are better at blog tours. Others need to face an auditorium full of readers. Some authors have a loyal online following that results in tons of sales. Others rely on word-of-mouth. Some authors sell volumes online or through bookstores. Some authors find they make most of their sales out of the trunks of their cars.

From my experience, I sell best in person. That’s why readings, book signings, book festivals, author panels, and the coffee shop book tour worked well for me. My online presence has not resulted in as many sales. That’s why it is worth the extra upfront financial investment for me to purchase and resale books rather than rely on direct online sales. Other authors are more fortunate and have avoided the expense by honing their online presence as their best sales and marketing tool. Hopefully, you are one of those authors. If you are, please feel free to post a comment and let me know the secret of your success.