By Bryan Gruley
Now that I’ve embarked on my second book tour, it’s time to impart my expertise about touring. Of course, merely two experiences qualifies no one as an expert at anything. But I’m blogging, and therefore I am an expert (blogito ergo geniusum).
TIP: If you’re driving 100 miles to an event, leave a bit more than an hour. And assume that you will reach the drawbridge in Charlevoix precisely thirty seconds before it goes up.
TIP: Inscribe books with embarrassingly intimate notes so as to discourage people from loaning the books to friends and family, thus maximizing sales.
TIP: Refuse to obsess about the young woman who took one of your books, sat down against a bookshelf, read for five minutes, and then returned the book to your table without so much as a glance at you. She’s a speed reader and she adored your book.
TIP: Forgo your blather about yourself and your precious new book and get NYT bestselling non-fiction author Doug Stanton to interview you about yourself and your precious new book.
TIP: The key to the city won't actually open anything, but it's pretty cool to get one from the good people of East Jordan, Michigan.
TIP: Tell people it’s fine if they don’t buy both of your books, so long as they can find a bookstore open at 2 in the morning when they finish the first one.
TIP: When speaking to a group of readers, avoid at all costs following novelist and cop James O. Born, the funniest man in south Florida since Jackie Gleason.
TIP: Feel grateful for the handwriting exercises foisted upon you at St. Gemma Elementary school when the nice reader from Okemos, Michigan, insists, “Please sign it legibly.”
TIP: Have an IT guy put something in your laptop that blocks you from looking at your Amazon sales rankings.
TIP: When someone in the audience asks if you’d please put his town in your next book, politely ask if he’d like it to be the home of the pedophile or the serial killer.
TIP: Order the whitefish at North Country in Suttons Bay, Michigan; the fried perch at Western Avenue Grill in Glen Arbor; and the patty melt at the Hide-A-Way Bar on Starvation Lake. Oh, and the empanadas at Fuego Café in Phoenix.
TIP: Treasure the opportunity to see old friends and meet new ones. Be humbled by the fact that anyone would read your work, let alone pay for it. Take someone who loves you even if you’re not a bestseller. Have fun: nobody promised you another tour.
I really mean that last one. And a couple of the others. Now I’m interested in hearing your tips, folks …