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13 Reasons an Author Might Not Get a Book Tour
by Dr. Lorna Tedder
1. You haven't asked. Maybe you had no idea you could publicize your future bestseller with a book tour. Or maybe you assumed your publisher would take care of everything for you. Have you told your publisher you're willing to spend a week travelling from city to city, visiting talk show hosts and bookstores? The worst they can say is "No."
2. You don't have a publicist. If your publisher doesn't arrange a book tour for you, your publicist can. On the other hand, most of us don't have publicists and they can be pretty pricey....
3. You haven't had an affair with a political figure. Ever notice how both publishers and readers tend to gobble up books about victims of the country's top ten dysfunctional families, orgy-minded bosses, and Congressional dirty laundry? If you're a fairly normal person without a lot of scandalous secrets you're ready to reveal, the t.v. news magazines won't be seeking you out.
4. Your publisher expects you to promote the book yourself. Contrary to the opinion of many unpublished authors, book tours do not come automatically. Some publishers, especially thosewho sell genre fiction, consider their wide distribution to be promotion enough. You don't have to promote yourself at all, one editor says. Then she goes on to add that, of course, other authors will promote their books on their own time and money, and their resulting sales may look better than yours, and who do you think will get the next book contract, huh?
5. Your publisher doesn't promote at all. Subsidy publishers generally don't command widespread publicity or distribute your book to a huge national market. Basically, you pay to have a company print your book, not to promote it. Don't expect more unless it's written into your agreement, and even then you'll have to contend with snooty reviewers and reporters who look down on "vanity presses."
6. Your publisher can't afford it. This is especially true of small presses, even the prestigious ones. Book tours can be expensive and small publishers simply don't have the resources to send you on a show-and-tell tour. Surprisingly, it's also true of large well-known publishing houses, which are being forced to cut back on expenses due to rising paper costs and shifts in readership.
7. Your publisher reserves book tours for "name" authors only. You're probably not a "name." You may even be a new author with a miniscule print run, no sales record, and an editor who answers your calls with "Who?" The "names" are those hugely successful, bestselling authors. Even if you've spent the past decade under a rock and don't recognize their names, you can spot their book in any bookstore by looking at the covers: their names are about twice the size of the book title.
8. You're not rich or famous. If you married a billionaire or if your face is on the cover of any dozen magazines at one time, you can rely on your celebrity status to get a book tour.
9. You didn't receive a huge advance. The more money a publisher invests in you up front, the more likely they are to promote you. They want to see your book earn back that initial outlay of $, and they'll give it an extra push.
10. You don't have a hot-shot agent. A good agent might have negotiated additional terms and conditions to your book contract, complete with a publicity budget, monetary incentives for making bestseller lists, and all sorts of dreamy perks.
11. Your book doesn't have a promotable "hook." Don't let anyone tell you there's nothing unique or interesting about you or your book-they're wrong. What you have to do is find the market because it's rare that the market finds you.
12. You self-published your book. Your fairy godmother is not going to swoop down and take care of marketing the book for you. It's up to you. It's ALL up to you.
13. Getting published is a distant dream. Maybe you haven't finished that book yet. Maybe you're just getting started. That doesn't mean you shouldn't be thinking about how you'll market the book to publishers and eventually to readers.
Dr. Lorna Tedder is an award-winning, best-selling author who routinely shares her writing and marketing expertise at national writers' conferences, online, and through her writing guides. Her non-fiction guides for writers include Book Promotion for the Shameless, Book Promotion Savvy and Reclaiming The Magic: a Writer's Guide to Success. All three books are available at www.SpilledCandy.com