There's an interesting article in the Wall Street Journal about how authors today need to reconceptualize their whole approach to a book tour. To rethink standing there and reading three chapters, and doing a Q&A. That maybe, in the current climate, that's no longer enough.
The article includes some anecdotal reports from bookstores all over the country, and quotes from authors, including:
• Rainy Day Books, an independent bookstore in Kansas City, Kansas will only sponsor author events that feature a conversation or mini-lecture, a PowerPoint or slide show and maybe reading one or two paragraphs at the most from the book to illustrate a point. The owner Vivien Jennings says,
"I tell publicists 'it's no longer a reading,'"
• In lieu of readings, Roxanne Coady, the owner of R.J. Julia Booksellers in Madison, Conn., will sometimes conduct an interview with an author. "Audiences feel they're getting something unusual and intimate, and sales of the book go up," she said.
• Brad Meltzer, the best-selling author of thrillers like "The Book of Fate" and "The Book of Lies," stopped doing readings two books ago. "Jim Dale," he said, referring to the voice of the "Harry Potter" audio books, "and all the audio-book stars made most of us authors look like a bunch of misfits. We can't compete."
I asked Bruce Coville, the award-winning and best-selling author of over 100 books for children, and a master storyteller, if it's enough to just read from your book and do a Q&A. Here's his response:
"Being a writer in these times requires a certain degree of professional schizophrenia. In order to write, you need to be able to work in isolation. Yet as soon as you're at all successful at it, people want you to come out and talk about it. So a writer needs to be able to deal with extended periods of solitude, and also with being asked to stand in front of crowds and speak. But in the end, it's all about communication, and that is, at heart, what we need to be: communicators. I think writers can reap great benefits from learning storytelling, from taking acting lessons, from getting voice training - all things that give you tools that will help you be effective in presenting your work to a live audience."
What's your take? When have a book event, how do you approach it?
Illustrate and Write On,