A couple of weeks ago I sent the following email to book-buzz goddess M.J.Rose.
I'm a novelist about to go on my first book tour (February). Since you're currently on the road promoting The Delilah Complex, I thought I'd ask you for some advice.
What's in your "Book Tour First Aid Kit"?
What do you pack for the road...(physically and emotionally)?
I'm looking for all the advice I can get...what clothes to wear/what not to wear, essential items for a reading/signing, essential items to keep myself together, what's the best sedative to take, (and should I chase it with scotch, vodka, rum?), best pen to use to sign books (don't laugh, I'm still wide-eyed and hopeful...it's my first novel).
This was her kind and generous response:
It was such a great letter than I thought I’d use the blog to answer it.
But not by myself.
Over the next week I’m going to post answers form some top publicists and wonderful authors who were generous enough to share their thoughts with us. So watch for words of wisdom from Lee Child, Linda Fairstein, David Morrell, Tess Gerritsen, Barry Eisler and more.
The advice has started to roll in and it's been wonderful so far -
from Barry Eisler's post where he mentions the best part of touring is meeting fans...that feeling of connection you get through something you wrote to Lee Child's hilarious comment, I've learned over the years that a cocktail-fueled event is worth its weight in gold...! My favourite tips so far came from the comments section of MJ's introductory post.
And the Award for Best Pen goes to...
The best pen? The Pentel EnerGel, metal tip, 0.7mm ball. Retail price, about $2.00. Bar none, it's the best I've ever used. Smooth, easy touch, doesn't smear, lasts for weeks. Get 'em at Staples. - Bill Thompson
The Dirty Dozen of Book Tour Advice
PJ Parrish (actually Kristy and Kelly Montee, a pair of sisterly scribes who write under a single pen name) contributed an amazing laundry list of a dozen tips.
(Here are three of my favs, if you want to see the rest, go here.)
#2 Try your damnest not to eat badly. This is hard because your hours are going to be weird, your system all screwed up and you will be so wiped out that Jimmy McD's is gonna look like the best lover you never had...
#4 Take underwear that dries quick in case you have to wash things out.
#12 If you have escorts, USE THEM! It is their job to take you to the drugstore if you need tampons. In one city, my bag got lost so the escort dropped me at the signing and went back to wait for it and brought it to the hotel. Don't be a prima donna -- escorts talk! -- but you can rely on them to keep you going. And don't worry about keeping up small talk with them. They are used to authors snoring in the backseat!
Check out Buzz Balls and Hype this week for more posts on what I should pack in my book tour first aid kit. (Thank you thank you thank you MJ!)
By the way, if you have any tips to add to the list, please feel free to leave a comment or send your advice via email.