Thoughts on a Book Tour

I am back home after spending last week driving around western Oregon and stopping at 5 bookstores.

Backstory: Last summer I attended a talk by author Dwight Holing at my local library. He was there talking about his series that is set in Harney County- where I live. When he was asked about how he advertised his books, and he mentioned Bookbub didn’t work well for him, I said, “Yeah, it doesn’t work well for me either.” He looked at me and said, “What genre are you?” My reply, “Same as yours.”

He asked my name and then said, “Your books stalk mine on Amazon!”

My rebuttal was “No, yours stalk mine.” We had a chuckle and he said to come talk to him after his presentation.

I did and we decided since we both write crime fiction set in Oregon with game wardens, his a federal agent and mine a state police officer, that we should team up and do something.

Dwight Holing and myself at Bloomsbury Books in Ashland, OR

Fast forward a few months and we came up with a book tour when we both had a new book out. We spent months setting up bookstores and planning to do it all in one week.

We just finished that week of visiting bookstores. After a phone conversation we’d decided to do a back and forth, “This is why I… What do you do?” format. And we had lots of encouraging comments about how well we played off one another. Then we would read from our books and take questions. It was interesting that most of the questions were from new or emerging writers. Though we did each have some fans or family at each of the stops we had.

Me talking at Grass Roots Bookstore in Corvallis, OR.

I was lucky enough to meet Sharon Dean who has been a guest of this blog. She came to our Ashland event. It was fun to meet someone in person who I have only exchanged emails with.

And in Bend I was able to meet up with some writer friends that before I moved to Princeton, we met once a month and had lunch and talked about writing.

The one thing that both Dwight and I concluded from this trip is that in-person events are no longer something that brings readers in. We had small groups at everyone of the events even though we both talked it up in our newsletters and social media and put out news releases in each town we visited. He said he’s going to start doing Zoom Book Clubs and will invite me to participate when he gets it all figured out.

While I enjoyed my week of driving around Oregon and meeting new people, I do agree that I won’t be doing another event like this any time soon. I think being set up where people are already gathered like flea markets, oktoberfest, and such is the way to go instead of bookstores.

10 thoughts on “Thoughts on a Book Tour

  1. This is such a useful post. I’ve been wondering about reviving in-person programs here in Massachusetts. We’re getting some people at library events but fewer and fewer at bookstores, just as you found. But zoom events can really bring in an audience. I’d love to find a venue like your bazaars and flea markets. I’ll have to keep a look out for them in this area.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Susan, I have found the bazaars and flea markets work well because you have a crowd of people already there. The Slea market I attend every Memorial and Labor Day weekend has grown my audience. Those that buy books there come back year after year and I gain new readers as well.


  2. I read this with interest, Paty. I’m scheduled to do the multi-author event at the Orinda bookstore with Heather later this month and I will be interested to see how it turns out. The next day I’m doing an event with two other authors at our local library. After that, who knows? I’m inclined to skip bookstores these days, for the reasons you mention in your post.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Paty, You were kind enough to have me as a guest on this blog in the past. I enjoyed reading this post of yours. I just returned from two presentations–one in Spokane at GetLit! Festival with a good audience and one at the Coeur d’Alene Public Library with a small audience. I had also presented at the Hailey PUblic Library in Hailey, Idaho, with a medium audience.  In the past I have always sold books at these presentations (via bookstores), but few went out the door this time. Hardly worth the long drive and effort. My very best sales are at Trailing of the Sheep in October and at the Christmas Bazaar in December. I get anywhere from 50 to 100 books sold at those events, thus confirming your conclusion here. I have thought maybe having two writers present might get better results. Maybe not. Julie Weston 

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Julie, Yes. Other than a bookstore in Clarkston WA that always purchases extra books when I’m there, I won’t be doing any more bookstore events. But I will be participating in a twice a year flea market where I sell 50-100 books every time, and a local bazaar twice a year as well as events I attend with NIWA (Northwest Independent Writers Association) at large events. Thank you for stopping in and sharing!


  4. What a great post, Paty. And I loved the pics. I can’t remember the last time I did a book tour, it’s been that long ago. I am doing one bookstore in Orinda on the 20th of this month organized by SinC. There will be about a dozen authors touting their new books. We’re hoping more people are in the audience than are onstage. Live and in-person is rare these days! It sounds like you had a fine time and made a new friend. Always worth it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Heather! I think if you have more authors to hopefully pull in more people they might work better. At each stop it was my friends and family that made up half of the audience. A couple of Dwight’s fans were there too. But it was disheartening after all the work that went into setting the whole thing up.


  5. Paty, thank you for sharing your experience. Your tour with Dwight certainly sounds like a magnet for readers – something I would attend if I lived in Oregon. It’s interesting not more folks showed up. Sign of the times?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Karen. We had hoped by combining our forces we would bring in more people, but I think it just isn’t something that readers do anymore. They can get that feeling of knowing the author through following on social media and visiting via messenger and emails.


Comments are closed.