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Must Read for Touring Authors!

Greetings from Windstorm 2006 in the Pacific Northwest!  After four days without power, I’m back online, and I can’t tell you enough what a wonderful thing electricity is. 


So a few days ago, before fir trees started toppling onto power lines, I interviewed the lovely and booksmart Diane Duthweiler, former news producer-turned-part-time author-escort.  If Seattle is part of your book tour, make sure you request Diane.  She is incredibly knowledgeable and energetic.  Plus, she very generously shared a ton of tips for authors based on her media background AND watching what makes authors shine at events.


Here are Diane’s Top 10 Tips to make the most of your time at bookstores and media stops…


  1. Remember that the book tour is all about creating buzzThe truth is, book tours can be hard on the ego.  As Diane says, “Even well-known authors can sometimes have only one or two people in the audience.”  (Justina’s commentary:  I can’t underscore this enough!  There will be some events where I felt like a rock star, and then others where a dirty kitchen sponge would have been more welcome than me.)  So just keep repeating that this is all about the buzz, all about the buzz. 
  2. At bookstores, always make sure to meet the Community Relations Manager and bookstore manager.  Talk to the rest of the staff; engage them in conversation. Diane’s favorite conversation starter for shy authors:  “Where do you put my book?”  Time and time again, Diane has seen booksellers pushing a book hard simply because the author introduced herself and connected with them.
  3. THANK the manager and staff for selling your book! 
  4. At bookstore events, keep your reading short.  Aim for 5-15 minutes max.  And leave lots of time for questions.
  5. Humor works well in bookstore events. 
  6. As you hop between events, Diane encourages you to take the time to analyze what went well, what didn’t.  And fix it for the next event. 
  7. As you plan your tour, consider non-traditional venues.  According to Diane, one of the most successful book events she’s seen was held at a knitting shop for a detective story that had some knitting references.  Niche marketing is very successful.
  8. If you are doing media interviews, always, always, always ask your author escort about the format of the show.  Publicists may not know regional media, but the author escorts do.  They’ll let you know about the hosts, the types of questions you’ll be asked, and most importantly, they can give you tips about how to place your body and face depending on the camera angles.  (Justina's commentary:  Oh, boy, this is super important as we know once we’ve seen ourselves on air.)
  9. Always arrive camera-ready.  Bring your own make-up for touch-ups, and powder if you don’t want a shiny face.  (Justina’s commentary:  And who wants to be known as the author with a shiny face?)
  10. Mine your connections.  Diane says, “Instead of leaving it to the publicist, make sure to make the call to the reporter who interviewed you for your last book.”  Of course, she adds, you’ll want to run this through your publicist to make sure that they aren’t also contacting that reporter. 


I tried to talk Diane into starting an author workshop where she could tour first-time authors to different bookstores and work with them on their presentation skills.  Don’t you think this would be helpful?

(Have I mentioned how thrilled I am to be in a warm home with power on?!)


( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 19th, 2006 02:15 pm (UTC)
I'm glad you've got power and heat, and glad for the pointers -- they were excellent. A big thanks to Diane!
Dec. 21st, 2006 03:53 am (UTC)
Yay--I was so thrilled to walk into a warm home. Really, we are all so blessed! I know--isn't Diane amazing?
Dec. 19th, 2006 10:41 pm (UTC)
Electricity's something we take for granted--until the lights go off.

Yes, good pointers. But I think I'd need a complete makeover before being camera-ready...
Dec. 21st, 2006 03:54 am (UTC)
I highly doubt you'd need a complete makeover. Come to the northwest on your next book tour!!
Dec. 21st, 2006 04:53 am (UTC)
Dec. 21st, 2006 05:01 am (UTC)
author workshop idea
Love it!

-- Joni S.
Jan. 1st, 2007 01:13 am (UTC)
Re: author workshop idea
Oh, I'll let Diane know that I'm not totally crazy with that idea. Wouldn't it be fun to do with some of your writer-buddies?
Dec. 29th, 2006 11:03 pm (UTC)
Justina, I love reading your posts! As a promo-phobic author, your advice really gives me hope! Thank you.

PS. Glad you're okay after the storms!!
Jan. 1st, 2007 01:13 am (UTC)
Oh, I'm a promo-phobic author, too! This blog sort of prods me to get out there.

Most importantly, Happy New Year!!!! I'd love to hear your writing goals for 2007.
Jan. 1st, 2007 08:36 pm (UTC)
Done! I just posted my 2007 goals. Let's hear your goals too. :)

Happy New Year! Lisa
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )

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