The Book Tour That Never Takes Off
by Saralee Rosenberg
“Are you the actual author?” A teenage girl asked me, her eyes open wide.
“Yes I am.” I smiled, all ready to autograph one of my novels.
“That is so cool.”
“It sure is.” Awwww. We’re bonding!
“Do you know Tori Spelling?”
“Tori Spelling? No. Should I?”
“Well yeah. She’s an author too... sure wish I could meet her.”
“Oh me too.”
And so it goes in the book tour trenches. Authors can spend years writing a book, get wonderful reviews, have book clubs all over the country discussing their work, but we learn fast. If we’re not a mother of eight named Kate, an heiress named Paris, a bitchie named Ritchie or a TV mogul’s daughter who thinks it’s adorable to insert her name into every book title (sTori Telling), we are just another writer.
And yet I feel lucky. This year marks my twentieth anniversary as an author and what a ride it’s been. Four non-fiction books. Four novels. And now I am at work on my first novel for tween girls, which has been a blast to write.
The publicity side has been good to me too. I’ve done hundreds of radio interviews, TV appearances, book store signings and book group discussions and was lucky enough to reach the holy grail on the author train- a stop at the Oprah Show. Still gives me goosebumps! Oprah was a doll and as a bonus offer, Stedman was there too (he smelled so good!) Unfortunately my favorite blue suit is long gone, but then so is my size eight waist.
Now all these years later, I’m still getting great opportunities to meet and greet readers. Currently I am participating in a new kind of publicity tour- one that never leaves the ground. It takes place at major airports and it’s being tested by the Paradies Shops. They wanted to see what happened to book sales when writers and readers got up close and personal in a busy terminal.
Try it they said. It’ll be amazing. Thousands of travelers will pass by your table. Think of how many will want a great read for the plane. You’ll chat, you’ll sign books. Win win!
So two weeks ago I showed up at 7AM at the Jet Blue Terminal at JFK International, not just on any day, but on the day that Hurricane Earl was threatening to strand passengers. Ca ching ca ching, I thought. Until I sat behind a table and waited for the throngs of new readers to greet me. And they did.
“Miss, where is the ladies room?”
“Hey. Where did you get the Dunkin’ Donuts coffee? I can only find Starbucks.”
“Have you heard the weather? We’re on our honeymoon and we’ll be so upset if New York gets hit bad… and by the way, are there still a lot of muggings?”
In between I passed out Tootsie rolls, held a crying baby and selected a soft neck pillow for an elderly woman who couldn’t reach. I sold a few books as well, but you wouldn’t believe how many people were pissed when I said, "Sorry, they’re not free. Have a tootsie roll."
Would I do it again? Absolutely. The management and staff were great, I signed a ton of books they were excited to display in the shops, and it was a rush to have signs posted everywhere promoting my book.
In fact, tomorrow I’ll be appearing at Long Island’s MacArthur airport for round two of the book tour that never takes off. This time I’m thinking of reading from my latest novel, DEAR NEIGHBOR, DROP DEAD (Avon Books) to see if that attracts a crowd. There is a funny airport scene that would get a lot of laughs. On second thought, it does involve a possible crash landing. Scratch that. Maybe I should just marry a guy named Dean and change my name to Tori and say things like come fly with me!
All I know is this. Every time I hear from someone who discovered my novels and takes the time to tell me that I made them laugh or cry or think, I know that I am exactly in the right place. Book writing is a great gig and my hope is to keep connecting with readers for years to come, even if it’s just to point them in the direction of the ladies room... and suggest something fun to read!
GIVE ME A SHOUT OUT. Authors, tell me your craziest book tour stories. Readers, tell me who were your favorite authors to meet in person? Why was it such a great experience?
Visit my website: http://www.blogger.com/www.saraleerosenberg.com