Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Energizer Bunnies

Authors are hardworking people. We go and go and go, putting in long hours, driving hundreds of miles, hunching over our computers seven days a week. Most of our time isn't spent writing, it's devoted to getting our names out there and establishing reader bases. The publishers expect it and most of us are happy to oblige. Even when we find out our publishers aren't doing much for us other than sending out review copies. We dig in.

At first, I worried about speaking events and putting myself out there - not exactly in my comfort zone. But over time, I grew to love the promotional part of the business almost as much as I enjoy writing. Meeting readers and booksellers and other authors is fun.

When Murder Passes the Buck came out in 2005 and I went on the road to promote it in the Michigan Upper Peninsula, my editor told me I was Midnight Ink's highest selling author before and during the trip. Wow, it worked. All that time, money, and commitment paid off (at least while I was traveling).

But times have changed in 5 short years. I've been to events for myself and other authors where very few people show up. Is everyone living in virtual reality online? Where did they go?

Which brings me to a decision I have to make soon and I'd appreciate your input. Now's the time to figure out how much effort to put into touring for September's release of Buzz Off. And that's where you come in. Your answers to the following three questions will help me decide. So here we go:
  • Do you go to bookstores when authors visit? 
  • Do you attend library talks and presentations?
  • Do you discover new authors through blog tours?

29 comments:

Jan said...

I've been to 1 library talk/signing.It was nice. But, out here in Phoenix, the local media does nothing to advertise these events.We stumble across them. At least in NY the Times and the Voice always had the author events listed and promoted.

Shel said...

Yes, yes, and yes. LOL. Deb, if you're going to be anywhere in the Chicago area for the Buzz Off release, make sure I know it, cause I'll be there.

Dru said...

Yes, I do go to bookstores when authors I like visit in my city. In fact, I'm going to one tonight and I can't wait.

Yes, I attend library talks and presentations and had a good time.

Yes, I love discovering new authors and through blog tours. My book list continues to grow as I add more and more books.

If you come to NYC, I'll be there.

Andrea C. said...

I live in a small university town in Ohio and we don't really get any author signings or visits except from the occasional academic! I have actually looked at the tour schedule for some of my favorite authors and they are never near me and in Ohio very rarely. As a book lover, I would drive to see some of my favorites - but not too far. I think it's sad you don't get more of a crowd...in my opinion, my favorite authors are like movie stars!!!

Katie said...

yes, yes, and no (don't have time to read blogs anymore except a few).

as long as I have the time and am available when an author I want to hear is around, I'm there!

Shannon said...

Unfortunately, I live out in the boonies...it's a 25 minute drive to the nearest WalMart, so you can imagine the drive to a decent size bookstore or library. I would love to go to author signings if they were closer than an hour and a half away.
I will say, however, it is very hard to keep up with who will be where and when. Unless you follow an author very closely, you'll never know where they will be. That's hard to do if you follow several authors like it sounds like most of us do. So, right now, I'm stuck doing it the techno-way, unfortunately...'cause you gals sound like a hoot!

Mason Canyon said...

I'd say yes to all three too. I given the opportunity to meet an author in person, I would enjoy that very much. But since we are living in such a techno world, I've discovered lots of new authors through my blog and others. So if you decide to blog tour, keep Thoughts in Progress in mind as a stop. You're always welcome. Good luck.

Heather Webber said...

I'm really glad you posted this, Deb! I want to know the answers, too.

And Shel, I'll be in Chicago in two weeks, on tour with The Deadly Divas!

Deb Baker said...

Thanks for the offer, Mason, I'd love to! I also should have mentioned that some (very few) booksellers have a great customer base and are very connected to their communities, so they know how to bring in customers and fans.

Jeanne C. said...

heck, yes! I love going to meet authors... especially ones I've already read!

I discover a lot of new authors on these blogs... I love them!

caryn said...

Yes, yes and yes.
Yes I go to library events with authors and also to store signings, but I'm not very inclined to go to either unless I already know the author-or at least the author's work.

On the other hand, if an author I don't know a single thing about visits one of the blogs I check fairly regularly, then yes, I do find new authors that way.
Case in point? Diane Fanning is visiting Lesa Holstine's blog today (or yesterday). Id never even heard of her until then but I'm going to at least look for her books in the library.
Caryn in St.Louis

Sheila Connolly said...

I will go to a bookstore, but rarely to a library talk, even though I've given both (does a church count? I once went to a signing in one.)

This past weekend I gave a library talk, which was attended by fewer than ten people. The date had been set a couple of months ago, but the day dawned warm and sunny, after a week of rain. Guess where everyone was? In the garden. I wasn't disappointed because I would have been there too but for the talk, but there's no way you can plan for that. I've done library talks where no one came, and ones with standing room only. At least the library has done the publicity for you.

I usually stick to reading the same limited group of blogs--if a writer pops up there and catches my attention, I'll follow up and look for the book.

Maggie Sefton said...

Thanks for asking the question, Deb. I was interested in the asnswers too.

Anonymous said...

Yes, yes, and yes, I'd attend your book signing (in the Baltimore area) if I know about it in advance. I'm just sorry that your new book isn't coming out prior to the Malice Domestic convention this spring so you'd be there to sign!!!

Shirley in Baltimore

Deb Baker said...

I'll 'bee' there next year, Shirley.

signlady217 said...

The biggest obstacle for me is not finding out about an event long enough in advance to plan for it (limited money right now). Also, living in a smaller town, most events are a 2-3 hour drive (one-way). And it seems that most of my favorite authors don't make it to the south much.

Jeanine said...

I go to book signings at my local B&N if they are held in the afternoon.(I don't like to drive after dark.)I don't go to library signings as our library charges $20 for these gatherings. I do visit a number of blogs every day.

Lover of Books said...

I love gong to book signings but rarely do people come to Minnesota. I understand that there isn't a lot of money. As for library, I need to sign up for their newsletter if they have one. As for blogs, I follow them sometimes but we'll see.

Shel said...

Heather, I looked up the date, and I have it on my calendar. Unless something catastrophic happens, I WILL be there! But I wouldn't have known about it without your comment here. Coincidentally enough, though I am familiar with you, of course, and and Denise Swanson, I bought the first in Sara Rosett's series yesterday.

Heather said...

Yes, to the occasional bookstore signing - this depends largely on how well advertized the event is. Also, despite the numerous bookstores here, it seems we get more lit fic authors most people have never heard of than mainstream/popular authors. Heaven forbid anyone visit the Midwest, even when they hail from it.

No to library appearances. The bookstores are easier to get to, especially on week nights.

We have a book festival here every year and I also try to attend some of the events for that.

No to blog tours - I just don't have the time. I keep up with favorite blogs through google reader, and comment when and where I have time.

Anita Clenney said...

I haven't gone to book signings or events, but I would if an author I liked came somewhere near me. That's not to say they haven't, and I missed it.

Vickie said...

My favorite mystery bookshop, High Crimes, is a virtual bookshop now as Boulder got to be too pricey, but Cynthia still has her book signings in a nearby town at a gorgeous Navajo and Oriental Rug Gallery. I go to those when the author intrigues me and my work schedule doesn't interfere.

I haven't been to a library talk or presentation as my local library system is fairly lowkey and doesn't do them.

I am always finding new to me authors via blog tours! If one were to take a look at the Wanton Wantin' Book List (WWBL) that I keep (now 6 pages long), they would see the names of the blogs where I found the book or the author listed. I have 'trusted agents' I follow and can't remember where I used to get all the book titles and info.

Jan said...

oh, I forgot. yes to all three. :)
whenever I can and hear about them in time

Deb Baker said...

Thanks for commenting everybody! What I'm hearing is you love author visits, but many of you are too far away to attend, OR there isn't enough advance notice put out by the booksellers to get on your radar. Good information to know!

Kaye said...

Unfortunately I am another boonie dweller and with gas close to $3 a gallon, it's blog land for me. If anything ever were at my local library ( yeah, like that's gonna happen in this millenium) I would go.

Heather Webber said...

Oh Shel! Thank you. And you'll love Sara's books--they're great.

Vicki said...

I went to an author's signing in PA (we live in VA) so we had to stay overnight, but it was great...so worth it. I'm only interested in attending signings of author's I really read vs. just anyone.

Sarah said...

I definitely find new authors thru blog tours but don't really go to presentations at book stores/libraries unless I know the author already.

Sarah

dollycas aka Lori said...

I have a weird perspective, being disabled and unable to drive, my answer to all 3 is no, but before my accident, I would travel quite a ways to meet an author or quilter, I was really into sewing when I had 2 working hands, :), but today I am glad for the review copies as I don't go out much, so I can blog to all my followers who can get out to meet the authors. So while I may not be out there meeting you, I hope that people I tell about your books are. Reading and good books have become such an important thing in my life, I will do anything I can to help an author be successful and keep writing so I can keep reading and blogging and promoting from my little spot here at home.