Why you're not getting that book tour...

The publication of one’s first book is an exciting time, but many new writers approach the process with the idea that it will instantly lead to worldwide fame and fortune. Too many expect the kind of book parties, tours and launches they’ve seen lavished on celebrities and bestsellers. Unfortunately, such glamorous events are rarely worth the expense for a publisher. In fact, all over the world, fewer and fewer publishers are sending their authors on book tours - not even to bookstores or on the literary festival circuit.

The problem is that touring authors around the country is very expensive. First one has to arrange a venue for the event in each place in the tour. Sometimes this is free, if you can get a local bookstore or library to host the event, but other times it may involve paying to book a conference room. Then the publisher has to arrange for the author’s (and possibly his entourage’s) transportation, accommodation and feeding.

Then there’s all that promotion to be done. Tours have to be heavily promoted to ensure a decent turnout in each stop. There’s nothing worse than setting up an event then having the author sit around for hours waiting for an audience. This sort of marketing requires staff hours.

At the end of the day, the book sales generated rarely justify the expense – or energy of a tour. If an author is already visiting a particular city or country, publishers are more than happy to organize a small reading, arrange media interviews or provide copies of the author’s books for sale. A good publisher will always help to provide publicity for whatever an author chooses to do but, as many publishers will tell their first-time authors, there are many ways one's name in the spotlight – without breaking the bank.


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