Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Journey into the World of Book Tours (and Presentations) - Part 1

Part 1  Setting Up Book Tours and Presentations

Setting up and executing a book tour can seem daunting but is actually a great way to get a book out there for all to see.  Here is what I did and am doing to pull off a nine-library tour around the state of Pennsylvania this fall -  

Make it a library tour. This tour is strictly done at libraries that use speakers as ways to promote readership and interest. It’s an awesome place to have them. Having a good platform to promote the book is important. Mine is 4000 Miles of Appalachian Trail stories and my nonfiction book “Mountains, Madness,Miracles – 4000 Miles Along the Appalachian Trail” is featured. Discover the libraries that might be interested and query them. Or start with a local library and then ask them to do a small write-up to email via the library-serv as a recommended speaker (or offer to send them a write-up for it). This is how the fall book tour came about after I presented to two libraries in northern Philly this past May (the librarian there had first watched me speak in Shenandoah National Park. One free event led to another then led to this book tour!). Recommendations go a long way for future contacts. I then had different libraries asking for my program info.

My book tour began long ago with speaking at Shenandoah

Construct a good contact letter. Tell the libraries your credentials, your program blurb, the book, and what will be offered (I am offering a 1 hr., 15 m presentation, a book signing, and tables with literature and sample gear from my hike). Include the fee (if you are charging a fee) so they have an idea. Email the letter along with your contact info to each interested library. Be enthusiastic—they are hiring you to present! This is employment.

Negotiate on the fees. I had libraries team up with other libraries to make my journey from VA to PA more cost effective for both them and me. I have a few that had three libraries commit to a weekend or weekday arrangement. Work out a figure, then present it to them.

Start Organizing. Develop a good PowerPoint for the talk. Gather the materials needed (I sent away for literature from the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, for instance, to put on the table. I also sent out

Lots to get ready for the tour. Materials, Poster, Props, Gear, etc
for little notepads to put on my table). Make sure if it’s a book signing there are enough books and have ways for them to pay (a Square reader is essential for credit cards). Have some visuals to make things interesting (I hope to set up a small tent, etc.). Show excellence.     

Keep in contact with the libraries who are committed to a program. Organize a spreadsheet and contact them four weeks before the event to remind them of the event, the date, the agreed-on fee, any set-up you will need like a laptop, projector, tables, etc. and include a program blurb and picture so they can do up posters and put it on their website (important!). Ask if they want an invoice for the fee as some libraries have to ask their budget committees. I also sent out an email a week before to remind them of the time I will be there (arrive at least an hour before) and any other info (like where I should unload the day of the event. Obtain their cell number also in case of last minute issues). Make sure you also make hotel arrangements in advance.  

Get ready for the trip! (Stay tuned for Part 2 on how it went and what I learned)