Tag: Book tour

Book tour

The Business Part

While I can’t vouch for its veracity, the story that Charles Dickens invented the book tour when he started reading–performing–A Christmas Carol in 1853 is a nice one. According to lore, no other major author had read his or her own work to an audience before. I don’t know about you, but that seems like entrepreneurial spirit to me. Over a century later, most of the English-speaking world can’t imagine December without his ghost story. It  is undoubtedly a great tale filled with iconic characters and important questions about life choices. Maybe we’d all be reading A Christmas Carol even if Dickens hadn’t stepped onto the stage of City Hall in Birmingham . . . and maybe not. Once you’ve got your galleys and/or ARCS, you’ve got your pub date, and you’re waiting for the actual books to be printed, what are you supposed to be doing? I’m sure with a little googling and some emails,you could secure a stage in Birmingham, but if that’s not your scene, what do you do?  Work on your next book! (Yes, Paula, I hear your voice in my head.) Take my–and your–agent’s advice and keep writing the next book, but you aren’t done when the last book is out of your hands. As much as many writers wish that a writing career were just writing, there is that pesky “career” part, too. Like with the writing bit, everyone approaches the career bit in his or her own way, but approach it one must.  Glenn J. Miller posted some great advice on the Career Authors website yesterday. (Yes, yesterday. There must be something in the air.) His advice is actually so good, I’m going to suggest that you check it for yourself. Miller advises writers to do three things to get their career going: (1) Create an author platform where people can find you, (2) Write three compelling, related books, and (3) Find fans who love the work you do and delight them.  These three simple steps are an ideal way to organize your thinking, but flexible enough to accommodate whatever works best for you. Step two is all about the writing, but steps one and three aren’t. Since my own first book is scheduled to be released this August, I’m hardly one to be doling out advice on the topic, so I won’t. I do know that there isn’t just one way to create an author platform any more than there is one way to write a compelling book or find readers who will love your work. So, I’m spending real time now devoted to finding my way to meet these goals. I’m not quite sure how, yet, but I can tell you I have ruled out reading on a stage in Birmingham.    

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What time is it?

The day has arrived for fans of Agnes Agnes Lüthi: A Well-Timed Murder is out, and before Tracee heads off for her book tour, I was able to get her to answer a few questions about book number two. Alison: Your book releases today, what’s the day look like for you? Tracee: I’m lucky to celebrate my pub day in a bookstore! The marvelous WordsWorth Books & Co. in Little Rock, Arkansas. I’ll be there from 5-7 pm so there’s still time to come out and chat and support a great independent book store. Alison: You live in Virginia, why Arkansas? Tracee: My mother’s family moved to Arkansas pre-statehood and she was born there. It is a perfect spot to kick off my tour. After Little Rock I’ll go to my hometown in Kentucky. Then I’ll carry on for another two weeks, through a variety of states, ending with a Barnes & Noble and a new independent book store, Book No Further, near where I currently live.  Alison: This is the second in a series. What is Agnes Lüthi up to now? Tracee: We pick Agnes up a few weeks after the conclusion of Swiss Vendetta. A Well-Timed Murder can certainly be read as a stand-alone, but if you’ve read Swiss Vendetta you’ll know why Agnes has a limp. I think of the connection between the two books as a behind-the-curtain glimpse that returning readers have. As a series reader myself, I like to feel a connection between books. At the same time, I don’t want to have to read them in order. Alison: Agnes works for a Violent Crimes unit in Lausanne, Switzerland. I’ve always thought of Switzerland as idyllic, what kind of trouble does she uncover? Tracee: You’re right about the country being idyllic. That’s part of the reason for crime! There is a lot of pressure to keep up such a high standard of living. For example, in A Well-Timed Murder we see the pressure behind the watch industry when a well-renowned watchmaker dies in suspicious circumstances. By the end of writing the book I started to think that timing is everything. In life, death, and love. It certainly proves to be for Agnes. Alison: I heard the book’s first victim died of a peanut allergy, is that true? Tracee: Yes! Recently, I possibly frightened a guest at our home when I mentioned this.She has a serious peanutallergy and I’m sure she wondered if I felt a need to test my ‘mysterious circumstances.’ The unusual circumstances of my victim’s death pose one of the first obstacles to Agnes’s investigation, an investigation that takes her to Baselworld – an annual show at the heart of the watch industry – and to a boarding school where the victim died. Alison: Didn’t your husband attend boarding school in Switzerland? Is this the revelation of a dark secret from hispast? Tracee: No revelations from his past, but certainly his idyllic school (there’s that word again!) served as inspiration.An international school is a true melting pot of cultures and languages at the very time when young people are testing their limits and finding their identity. A perfect place for chaos. That said, the main way my school is based on his, is in the central architecture. Who can resist a towering chalet? Murder and mayhem played no part in his education. Truly. Alison: Thanks for joining us on pub day! And promise to send us some photos during your tour.  I posted Tracee’s Book Tour Postcard in yesterday’s post in case any readers live nearby. If you missed that, just check below so you can see Tracee’s (rather packed) schedule. Do stop by. Tracee would love to meet you.  Tracee: Please do. I’ve met so many friends-of-friends and friends-of-readers in bookstores this past year and the connection is amazing! Tour dates Feb. 6 – Little Rock, ARWordsWorth & Co., 5 pm Feb. 7 – Madisonville, KYReadmore Book-N-Card, 3 pm Feb. 8 – Louisville, KYCarmichael’s Bookstore, 7 pm Feb. 12 – Lexington, KYJoseph-Beth Booksellers, 7 pm Feb. 13 – Knoxville, TNUnion Ave Books, 6 pm Feb. 14 – Chattanooga, TNStar Line Books, 6:30 pm Feb. 15 – Woodstock, GA (Atlanta)FoxTale Book Shoppe, 6:30 pm(With Roger Johns and Jonathan Putnam) Feb. 17 – Christiansburg, VABarnes & Noble, 2 pm Feb. 20 – Houston, TXMurder by the Book, 6:30 pm Feb. 24 – Roanoke, VABook No Further, 2 pm   

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Book Tour! A time for writers and readers.

 On February 6th I left home for my very first book tour, and for the next two and half weeks I visited 13 cities to talk about and sign Swiss Vendetta. I had an idea of what to expect. I have public speaking experience from my former job in the non-profit world and with university alumni relations. The latter required travel and sometimes Q&A in a different city every night. From this, I was prepared for the daily cycle of fatigue and even random thoughts along the lines of – why did I say yes to this? At the same time, I anticipated the jolt of energy that arrived every time I stepped in front of the crowd or sat at the signing table. In this, I wasn’t disappointed. There were a few surprises. The first one is a slightly embarrassing: that people had read Swiss Vendetta. To give me some credit, the night of my first stop coincided with the day of the book’s release. It was impossible for anyone other than a beta reader or recipient of an advance copy to have read it. I got used to that rhythm. The questions were about my background, why I started to write, did I always know I wanted to write mysteries. A few days into the tour, the story changed. A man raised his hand, not for a question, but with a statement: I loved this line from the book, “The young are foolish. But foolish doesn’t mean you deserve to die.” For a second I didn’t know what to say. Was the nice man a plant, someone sent by my mother to make me feel good? How could he know what was in the book? Fortunately, I relied on the old standby of Thank you, which bought me a moment to realize he’d read the Swiss Vendetta and had an opinion. However, in that first half second it was a little like what it must feel like to meet a stranger who holds up a photograph and says, Hi, I’m your here-to-fore unknown brother. Very personal and unsettling and then exciting and also a step into uncharted territory. From this point forward I had the great pleasure to meet readers – many people who had read the book and wanted to talk about characters and setting and plot points and favorite lines. Each and every one of them gave me a tiny moment of joy (even the man who had a complicated question about a character entering a place and leaving and then reentering). It was a pleasure to talk about the second in the series – A Well-Timed Murder – and to speculate about a third. I had another entirely pleasant surprise near the end of my time on the road. In reading emails from readers who had a thought to share, and some who said that they wished they could come to a signing but work prevented it, there was one from a very nice woman who had heard my book recommended by an author at his own book signing. I have always felt a comradery among writers (at least in the mystery and suspense genre) but the idea that we are out there in the world celebrating each other was such a pleasant experience. I arrived home exhausted. There is a rhythm on the road that keeps you going and when the rhythm breaks you feel the fatigue of travel and of ‘being on’ every afternoon or evening. At the same time, I can’t wait to go out there again. Apart from actually writing, talking about writing and reading is pure joy. Thank you readers who turned out and made these weeks unforgettable! As a reader, what do you look forward to at a book talk and signing? Authors, what’s been your experience meeting your readers? 

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