Friday, May 4, 2012

Going on a Book Tour

By Jill Williamson

I'm baaack!

Some of you probably didn't even know I was gone.

But I was, on and off, for the last month. My publisher, Zondervan, an imprint of Harper Collins, sent me and two other YA Zondervan authors on a four-city book tour. This was pretty cool since book tours are rare these days because of the ease of online marketing.

The tour was called the Warmer Days, Darker Nights book tour and consisted of me, Bill Myers, and Heather Burch. Zondervan created a website for the tour where we could blog about our experiences. It's still up at: http://warmerdaysdarkernights.com/

One of the first things that happened was a conference call between the publicists and the authors. They told us how the tour would work, who would meet us at the airports, and what hotels we would be staying at. They were trying to book media coverage and asked us to be flexible in fitting in last-minute interview opportunities. I did one radio interview in the church van in San Diego. I had to step out from the homeless shelter we were serving breakfast at. By the time I was in the van in the parking garage, thankfully I had one bar!

Go Teen Writer Gillian came to say hi!
A Zondervan employee booked our flights and sent the confirmations. We went to Austin, Texas; Atlanta, Georgia; Jacksonville, Florida; and Nashville, Tennessee. In each stop, someone picked me up from the airport or the publicist texted me to take the hotel shuttle and check in, then she'd pick me up later.

Everything was on Zondervan, so I didn't have to worry about paying for my food or travel. We spent a lot of time in the rent-a-car, traveling from the airport to the hotel to the bookstores to restaurants and back. Most of the stores had posters up in the windows or front doors. One Lifeway Christian Store sent postcards to their customers. I still have one. *grin*

The best parts were talking with my readers. I had several people come and visit me. I had fun meeting new readers or gabbing with Bill and Heather's readers. I had fun talking to the bookstore managers and employees and learning what it's like for them to work with publishers, authors, and readers. It was an amazing experience and I learned so much.

Me, the Lorax, Heather, and Bill.
Have any book tour questions? Leave a comment and I'll tell all.



10 comments:

  1. Sounds like so much fun, Jill. Zondervan is just the best when it comes to book signings, tours, etc. ;) So great to put a face to Gillian's name, too! I hope you had a great time and it's good to have you back! :)

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    1. It was fun, Rachel! I'm glad to be back!

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  2. Wow, that sounds awesome! What do you usually DO on book tours?

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    1. Besides the book signings, Heather got to do some TV interviews on morning shows and visit some schools. Since she was east coast, it was easy for her to get there early and do that stuff. Bill and I were west coast, and by the time we got there, it was late Friday, usually. We did a few drive-by book signings, where we stopped at random Barnes and Noble locations that we weren't signing at and introduced ourselves, signed books if they had them on the shelves, tried to talk the manager into ordering the books if they weren't on the shelf. (The publicist did this, not me!)

      In Jacksonville, we got in late Friday, did two booksignings on Saturday, and flew how first thing Sunday morning. It was non-stop going!

      At the actual bookstores, it depended on who was there. If there were people waiting to talk to us, we visited. Sometimes we walked around the stores to see what books they had in the teen sections. We talked with the employees, we handed out our bookmarks and introduced ourselves. We also read aloud from our books and answered questions if there was an audience. Not all the stores set up the signings to have an audience, though.

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    2. Hmm, okay. Because I would like to someday organize a book tour, but I wasn't sure exactly what one was supposed to do on one. :D Thank you, that was very helpful. :)

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  3. Jill, I think it's so amazing you guys got to do that! I hardly ever hear of authors getting sent on tour. And I LOVE that picture of you and Gillian!

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    1. I know. It was a pretty cool thing. And so was seeing Gillian! She's going to go one her own book tour someday, though, I'm certain. Then I can go and see her! :-)

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    2. Jill, thanks for posting the picture. I loved getting to meet and talk to you! :)

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  4. Welcome back! Thanks for sharing. It sounds like you had a lot of fun!

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