Tuesday, August 09, 2011

The Great Big TOUR POST

There are certain things that happen to some writers that other writers may look upon with envy. Being "sent on tour" for example, is not something that happens to every writer, and if you've never been sent on tour, you might be tempted to believe that it is all Ritz Suites and Stretch Limosines. (Hint: Ritz Crackers and Some Stranger's Buick le Sabre are a bit closer to the mark.)

While it is awesome to get to (hopefully) connect with readers and booksellers in far-flung towns, tours can also be really physically and mentally grueling. They can mean weeks of disrupted routine, rarely if ever seeing spouse or kids or pets, sleeping in a weirdly different bed every night, abrupt time-zone changes, strange itineraries that involve going through Chicago to get from Portland to Seattle, daily plane trips (with all the attendant drama there, we all know how efficient and fun plane travel has gotten!)... add to that the pressure of being, you know, put together, not a wreck, friendly and "ON" when you get wherever you are going (because nobody likes the complainy grump with bags under her eyes snapping at Iowa schoolchildren...) Yeah. I don't know. I personally wouldn't sign up for it, I value my sleep time and cozy bed too much.

ALL THAT SAID - sometimes genius writers have to crawl out from their genius-writer-holes, strap on their outgoing smile, and go where their publisher tells them.  One of my authors is headed out next month for almost two straight months of travel and appearances, and she had a slew of questions for me -- and I was hoping maybe some of my author-friends who have been in her shoes can advise?

This post can then serve as the go-to whenever one of my authors asks such questions in the future.

* I told her she should get bookmarks or buttons or similar to bring with and give to fans when they get their books signed.

* And a little book with which to put down the names of all the stores she visits and who the events coordinator was so that she can send thank you notes, and she can have an area in there where people can sign up for her mailing list if they want to, or give her their twitter-handle, so she can tweet them, etc etc.

* And her laptop of course, plus any special cords she might need if she will be doing powerpoint presentations at schools or anything.

Any other must-brings?  What about clothes?  Do you check baggage, or no?  How do you pack for two weeks solid with no home-time? Tips/Tricks?  (This is Sept/Oct, US/UK, school visits + book fairs + bookstores + possibly a couple of posh dinner type things.)