Imagine that you have toiled incredibly hard for months, or even years, to publish your book. Now that it’s finally released, you’re basking in all the glory. Little do you know that the real journey is only beginning. Once your book is live, you have to market it and make sure readers know it even exists. There are countless ways to promote your book (social media, press releases, etc.), one of which is going on a book tour. Many people in the publishing industry may tell you that the days of the classic book tour are over. However, I’m here to tell you that they are still alive and well. If you plan and execute it all properly, you can derive several benefits from a book tour.
So, how do you go about actually planning one? My tactics are a bit different. Rather than targeting the traditional bookstores like most authors do, I instead go where I know I will always have an audience. For example, I recently wrote a book titled The Corridor of Uncertainty. When I went on tour to promote it, I could have easily arranged visits at every bookstore in North America, South America, and Asia where I planned to go. However, since I’m still a relatively new and unknown author, it’s unlikely that anybody would have actually showed up at my “book signing events.” One breakthrough that I had about my book, though, is that it is a perfect educational read for high school students. It blends together sports, politics, religion, history, and culture in the Middle East region, topics that are sometimes covered in classes.
I started compiling a list of high schools in the countries where I wanted to tour (based on where cricket was a popular sport), and then sent the teachers there quick emails with a few compelling reasons about why supplementing their curriculum with my book would be beneficial. I also offered to visit the schools and speak to the students about my inspirations, so they could all personally connect with the author. For every 20 or 30 emails I sent out, I got one or two responses. This may not seem too impressive, but what happened in those one or two responses was magical. The teachers not only asked me to supply 40-50 books for their students to purchase, but they also fully covered the expenses of my travel so I could go visit the schools.
Effectively, my tour was free. I had an unforgettable experience going into schools and inspiring hundreds of students. At every event, I had a guaranteed audience that I could engage right in front of me. What did I take away from the entire tour? Sometimes, you just have to think outside the box. Don’t believe that you have to visit only bookstores on a tour. If you are an unknown author, build your brand by thinking of other relevant audiences that you can easily engage. Arrange your book tour around those channels. I promise that you will have more success.