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Five Author Tour Tips That You Need to Know

Apr 7, 2008
When it comes to book promotion, most authors are hitting on just one cylinder (if that). In the "old days," there was a specific formula to book promotion. It was a hold-nothing-back author tour where the writer would "appear" in a given city and get some combination of heavyweight radio, TV, book-signing and newspaper coverage.

When the author left that city, residents knew his or her name - and the name of their newly-released title.

So...is this kind of intense media blitz still realistic today? The answer is, "it depends." Depends? Yes...it depends entirely on who's arranging the tour and whether or not they follow the right guidelines.

Five Author Tour Guidelines to Follow

Like most important things, there are rules to this game...rules you can insist your PR firm follow.

1. "Anchor" each city with at least one interview on a major network TV affiliate. This is where the PR "rubber meets the road": If a major network affiliate show can't be landed, there's limited value in that market when you consider the time and money you have to invest in the trip. Just cancel that city and move onto the next.

2. Obtain a minimum of two to three media appearances in each market within a day or two. This is a corollary to rule #1 and the real meat and potatoes of an author tour. The whole point here is to get you to reach a sort of media "critical mass" - when appearances on different media come together over a day or two,you have a nice shot at becoming a kind of household name in that city.

3. Schedule at least one book signing. This will guarantee availability of your book in that city. Plus book signings always generate the kind of excitement and promotion that might otherwise cost you a small fortune. Finally, you can get some synergy working for you when you mention the book signing on your local radio, TV or newspaper appearances.

4. Use down time by visiting area bookstores. Unless your PR agency is an absolute wizard, you're going to have some down

time in a given city. So spend it visiting bookstores. If your books are in stock, offer to sign them. And if they don't carry your books, let the manager know you're available for a book-signing -bookstores adore promotion-minded authors.

5. Generate local word-of-mouth with speaking engagements. Here's another way to take full advantage of those hours after you do that interview on the six am morning news: Arrange speaking engagements at the local library, Church, Chamber of Commerce or professional affiliations - these groups are usually clamoring for interesting speakers - especially those with a hot new book that's just been released!

Wearing the Promoter's Hat

Maybe, when you started writing, nobody told you that you'd have to be a promoter, too. But that's just the reality of successful writing. And when it comes to author tours, you really have to get into it, promoting your book most of your waking moments (to maximize your time on the tour).

But, again, success here always comes down to who's doing the scheduling.

Needless to say, it's not an easy thing to do. Of course, knowing which markets have the most media opportunities available can be a huge help. But, even then - sometimes it takes over fifteen calls to get one producer to call back and get an interview scheduled. Believe me - we know how labor intensive it can be.
About the Author
Marsha Friedman has been a leading authority on publicity for authors for nearly two decades as CEO of Event Management Services, Inc (EMSI). If you would like to receive her free Ebook "How to Be a Great Talk Radio Guest" visit http://www.emsincorporated.com.
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