Monday, November 28, 2011

AUTHOR TOURS: Part I - The Cost-Benefit Analysis

This is the first in my multi-part series on group author tours. Over the past months, I founded and coordinated a tour called STAGES ON PAGES ( comprised of authors who write about the performing arts and who were/are musicians, actors, and dancers. 

Stages on Pages Fall 2011 was a blast and we are SO continuing on into 2012, adding new writers, and expanding in all sorts of ways.  However, it's not all rainbows and unicorns. I'm going to be brutally honest here about what worked, what didn't and what I still really wish I knew.  So, let's begin at the beginning...

What is a group author tour?

Well, duh, it's a book tour involving multiple authors. But, seriously, a GOOD group tour is a collective that makes sense in some of these ways:

1. Authors are writing in the same genre or age/grade range (e.g., YA/upper middle grade; picture books; mysteries; etc.)
2. The authors themselves have reasons to be together (e.g., backgrounds, writing interests, geography)
3. Everyone is excited about coming together and is willing to help organize, promote and otherwise support the tour.

First leg of Stages on Pages
LA - October 2011 with
Gretchen McNeil,
Elise Allen, me,
& Allen Zadoff
So, say you like this definition and the idea of putting together a group author tour is starting to excite you.  Before you get started, you might want to consider these drawbacks.

1. Group author tours have become rather trendy. Smart Chicks Kick It and Ash2Nash are author-originated tours, while Dark Days of Supernatural is tour organized by Harper Teen. Author collectives such as the Elevensies and Seattle7Writers, and writers who just happen to be coming together in a give city also arrange group events. So...there are LOTS of them. Sometimes more than one in the same city on the same day!
2. Group tours are a LOT of work.

BUT I DON'T MEAN TO DISCOURAGE YOU because, goup tours also have terrific benefits.

1. You don't have to speak for ages or sign books alone.
2. If you're a debut author with one title, in hardcover, and no backlist, it's nice to be signing with others so there are a variety of books to offer to readers in attendance.
3. Publicity and other tasks related to the tour can be shared.
4. Hitting the road to promote your book enables you to visit bookstores where you'll meet many terrific booksellers and connect with bloggers, librarians and teachers who often come to author events.
5. You make lots of nice writer friends. (Don't joke--this is really fantastic!)

So, do the cost-benefit analysis.  Does the idea of organizing a book tour excite you? Are you willing to take the risk that you'll be competing with lots of other tours, and do the work required? Do you enjoy meeting booksellers, readers and people in general and want some brick-and-mortar bookstore events to be part of the way you send your novel out into the world? If the answer is yes, my next BOOK TOUR post will be all about how to find your tour peeps. Come back soon!

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