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« Luke Fischer is Coming Back | Main | Cities of Men »
Thursday
Sep212017

Three Things about Book Tours

 

I keep meaning to post some deep and profound reflections on my recent summer book tour (and announce the upcoming fall one), but it seems like that hamster wheel is spinning faster than ever.

(Shown above is me literally on the road in Qu'appelle, Sask. for a reading at their town library.)

So... I was trying to think of some things that might be useful, or at the least, interesting to those who wonder about such things. I came up with three (ish).

Thing One:
Writers in Bookstores are Scary

I think I've written about this before, but here I go again. I did a number of book store appearances over the summer, and I've got some more bookstores coming up in October and November.
It's an interesting, and yeah, sort of daunting gig.

People who come into bookstores don't expect to see a writer there. What? Shouldn't you be somewhere... writing? Or at least in a library reading and researching? Not sitting behind a table making me all nervous.

Truthfully, not all gave me this vibe. I got some smiles, especially from kids (hey, mom, do they make him sit there?) And I did end up having some great conversations with people. Sometimes about my book, but sometimes about politics, religion, drugs, rock and roll, and of course, books. I am a lover of book stores, and a huge lover of books. When someone took the courage to talk to the guy at the table, they found me friendly, and hey, I'm not even trying to sell them anything. Well, mostly. Sure, I'd love them to buy my book - but really I just want to talk to readers about what they love. It's like an in-store book club. I did find that engagement was key, because more than half the time, if I got into a conversation that person ended up buying a book.

But still, there were periods of quiet and awkwardness, and going to bathroom or buying another coffee - until I discovered thing 2.

Oh, and sometimes old friends come and visit you. Here is a shot of a couple of high school pals that found me lurking in a bookstore.

Thing Two:

MAKE A SIGN!

With those three words, I give you other book tour people my biggest secret mojo. My son-in-law was the one who told me, "people don't know what to say when they meet a writer. Give them a question."

It's true, awkward questions like, "um, so you wrote a book?" or "do you work here?" don't really go anywhere. I thought I'd give it a shot, just to see. And holy cow. No, I mean, jumpin Jehosophat! (does anyone ever say that anymore?)

My bookstore gig was four hours long. And for a solid four hours I talked, and talked, and laughed, and got into long weird and wonderful conversations. People who normally zoom by the author table were stopped in their tracks. Or the ones that walked by gave a 50s sit-com double take before going deeper into the store. And many of them came back. I sold more books than I ever did. I had people sharing secrets about their lives, one fellow in particular shared with me some very moving history, and was at first annoyed by the question my sign asked. Then pissed off. And then as we talked longer and longer, his countenance changed, and he unloaded some deep emotions. He walked away not buying a book, but I was moved by it too. Staff members (who also bought books) came by to find out what was going on at my table. "This doesn't usually happen." "People have been telling you all sorts of things. Lots of people." "What is your book about?"

So there it is, my mojo, and you can have it (if you can find a simple provocative question).

Oh yeah, my question? This one:

Thing Three

Libraries are cool.

I visited a few libraries on my trip. The reading in my hometown was especially amazing. My sisters were there, as were some people who knew my parents, and me when I was quite a bit younger. A high school teacher was there and recalled when I won an arts scholarship - she said we got our money's worth (that was nice). But the outpouring of support was really quite something. That's the thing about hometowns, or mine anyway, they help you remember where you're from.

Here I am reading in my hometown library.

 

And here is me and my sisters being all family-like.


Another library was also special - the group I read to was small, but the appreciation and warmth was lovely. I appreciate so much what libraries and librarians do. So much of my childhood and teenage years was spent pouring over the stacks, or hunkered down in a corner reading.

 

I'll leave it at that for now.

One last shot of my traveling partner, the one known as "the lovely" (and if you ever wondered who Fall in One Day was dedicated to).

 

Coming up for me and Fall in One Day are few dates in Ontario, and then one (so far in BC.)

Ontario

October 14: Chapters Bayview - Toronto - Noon

October 15: Indigo Yonge and Eglinton - Toronto -  Noon - 4:00

October 21: Stratford Writers Fest - 9:00 AM

October 21: Chapters Kitchener - Noon - 4:00

October 22: Stratford Writers Fest (with Ron Sexsmith and Terry Fallis) - 3:30 PM

 

British Columbia

November 18: Indigo Park Royal Vancouver - Noon - 3:00

November 19: TBA Vancouver

 

I hope to see you there - or somewhere!

 

 

 

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