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Are Author Tours Still Valuable?

Apr 8, 2008
In the simpler days, before radio interviews were conducted by phone and the technology of satellite TV and the Internet, book sales relied heavily on book reviews and "author tours."

So, in today's world, does the "author tour" still make sense? We believe the answer is, yes!

A publicity campaign should be viewed as a two-part strategy. The first part is a publisher's in-house efforts. These usually consist of book reviews (minimally) and sometimes an effort is made to obtain media in an author's home town. These promotional activities are priceless for jump-starting book sales and providing an author the opportunity to ramp-up his interview skills.

Taking a Campaign on the Road

But, once a publisher's campaign is over, how is the book "buzz" maintained?

One answer is "author tours." They can be very effective, if you know how to squeeze the most mileage out of every city. Too often we hear of an author run ragged by a tour composed of flimsy itineraries and
exorbitant costs.

One can avoid this experience by knowing the five criteria of a successful tour and sticking to them:

1. Anchor each city with at least one interview on a major network TV affiliate. If a major network affiliate show can't be landed - cancel that city and move on to the next one!
2. Schedule at least one book signing. This will guarantee availability of your book in that city. Plus the book is often given free prominent display that would otherwise cost a small fortune.
3. Utilize down time by visiting area bookstores. Offer to sign any books in stock. If none are on the shelf, let the manager know the author is in town on a tour and urge them to order books!
4. Obtain a minimum of two to three media appearances in each market. Try to schedule these within a one day period if possible - reducing travel costs and down time.
5. Generate local word-of-mouth by arranging speaking engagements at the local library, Chamber of Commerce or professional affiliations, etc.

Keep in mind that an author's role is that of a promoter. And they should utilize every moment doing just that - promoting! Although it can be exhausting, it's the only way to gain control over book sales and at the same time, maximize the cost of a tour.

Scheduling interviews with the media takes a lot of perseverance. Don't give up if a producer or journalist doesn't call back at first. Assuming you have a topic that's a right fit for the medium you're contacting - it takes a good pitch, lots of intention to get through to them and tons of persistence to get a confirmation!

Sometimes it takes up to fifteen calls to one producer to get a call back and schedule an interview. Point is: don't give up!
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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