Book Tours — A Thing of the Past?

With the invention of social networks, along with the closing of many of our major bookstore chains (Waldenbooks, B. Dalton, Crown, BookStar), it seems as though live tours might become a thing of the past.  Interestingly, these past 18 years as a writer has seen me doing tours around the country as I promote my latest book.  But again, with more and more bookstores closing, and with more attention swinging to ebooks, the book tour (physical book tours — where one visits stores all across the country) might become a thing of the past.

If this is to be, I thought I’d take this opportunity to take you on the last tour with me.  So here we go…

My last book tour was last year in April 2010.  This time I did the tour locally (often I travel all over the country), and I was promoting my newest release, SENECA SURRENDER, as well as last year’s release, BLACK EAGLE.

The tour began really with a drive out to the Hemet area, where I signed all different kinds of my books (back titles as well as newer titles) and donated many books to the Walk for Cancer Cure.  To the right and below are some pictures of that event.  Heather Bennet put the entire event in order and Heather is here with me in the picture to our immediate right.

To the left here is a picture of a romance readers group that meets at a Barnes & Noble in the Redondo Beach area.   Next to the left is a picture of the signing done at a Barnes & Noble in the Manhattan Beach area.  Directly below here in the middle is a picture taken at the booksigning at the Orange County Romance Writers meeting…always a favorite of mine.  Interestingly to the left is a picture taken on the day when I was blogging at Coffee Time Romance.  Now, these networking places I do believe are going to take over the physical demands of touring in person.  However, for me something is lost in the change over.  I have loved going on tour because it give me a chance to meet readers face to face.  But I digress.  To the right here is a picture taken at Cameron Books in Hemet.  To the right in the picture is another picture of Heather Bennet, who kindly showed up at the bookstore, bringing friend, Melissa Keith, with her.  To the left here and below is a picture taken with two customers at Russo’s Bookstore in Bakersfield.  And to the left is another picture taken at the same store.  This was a wonderful booksigning, by the way, though I did have to drive somewhat of a distance to go to it.

To the left here is a relaxing moment at home after the booksigning.  Probably what might not be talked about very much is how draining booksignings can be — I’ve never understood quite why.  All I know is that the touring tends to make me quite tired — and for that first month that the book is out, the signings are all important. 

To the left here is a picture of the booksigning that took place at the Romance Writers Meeting for the Los Angeles Chapter.  By the way, unfortunately this wonderful bookstore (Barnes & Noble) has just closed, sad to say.

Just below that picture and more directly to our right is a picture taken at the booksigning at Sunshine Books in Cerritos.  I love this bookstore.

To the left here is a picture taken of another author’s booksigning that I attended right in the middle of my own tour.  I loved her book, by the way and her name is Catherine Bybee.

Off to the left here is a picture taken at a beautiful bookstore in La Quinta.  This was really a discussion group and was one of the most fun times I’d had during the tour.

The tour ended with a booksigning/lecture in Second Life.  Off to the left here is “me” in Second Life — now this I found interesting — as it was a sort of “live” booksigning and yet it was online and conducted via an avatar.  Sometimes I can’t believe I learned how to do this.  It was challenging for me (cause I’m not all that computer lit), but thanks to Denise Fleischer, it was really fun!  Off to the right here and below is a picture snapped at a Booksigning in San Diego at the Borders there.

To the left and below is another picture of “me” or rather my avatar as I did the booksigning on Second Life.

I do believe that we’ll be seeing more and more “tours” online in the future.  But I’m hoping that the days of the life book tours don’t ever end.  There is something very exciting and special about meeting your readers face to face.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this little tour of a tour.  I had hoped to memorialize it on this blog.  Now, I should tell you all that I will be on the road all day on Tuesday and won’t be anywhere close to a computer.  Hopefully, when my traveling settles down, we’ll go back to the regular blogs where I’m able to do give aways — but for now, please bear with me.  This Tuesday is a full traveling day for me.  I will be reading and responding to all your posts as soon as I’m able, so please come on in and tell me what you think of touring.  Do you prefer life tours — meeting the author face to face?  Or do you prefer online tours?  Come on in and leave me your thoughts.

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KAREN KAY aka GEN BAILEY is the multi-published author of American Indian Historical Romances. She has written for such prestigious publishers as AVON/HarperCollins, Berkley/Penguin/Putnam and Samhain Publishing. KAREN KAY’S great grandmother was Choctaw Indian and Kay is honored to be able to write about the American Indian Culture.
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10 thoughts on “Book Tours — A Thing of the Past?”

  1. You are a hard workin’ woman. I do book signings but never a tour…well, twice I’ve gone to a location and done multiple signings in the same area. Once I did nine signings in about six days.

    My publisher requested it and arranged it.

    For me, I like doing a few local signings because I’ve gotten to know the area bookstores and really like the people in them. And I occasionally include a signing when I’m going to be in an area. But nothing grand.

  2. Wow! How exciting to have your own avatar! Could you have imainged such a thing when you were a little girl?
    I’m sure the book tours are exhausting, but how exciting for your fans to get a chance to meet you. I live too far away from a major city to ever get to meet you ladies in person, so getting to visit with you and ask questions here is a real treat for me. I also enjoy visiting your individual websites, and I like to follow the links that some of you provide to book reviews and author interviews.

  3. Hey Kay, what a wonderful “tour”. Actually I don’t like book signings much but…the first place I ever did one, our Borders, is closing right now. Boo. I am sorry to have missed the signings at OCRWA and LARA. I haven’t been able to get to many meetings lately, but next month should be a “go.” So will see you soon. ooxxoxo

  4. You are amazing, Kay. I can’t even imagine that kind of a grueling schedule. We have bookstores shutting down here in Utah, too. So sad. I do a few signings with groups of authors, but just locally. And I’ve had some not so great experiences with signings – you get there, the person who arranged to have you come has left. Nobody knows who you are, they don’t have your book, etc., etc., it would be a comedy if it weren’t so maddening. Other bookstores have been wonderful. Very glad your signings have give you such rich memories.

  5. Unfortunately, I’ve never been to a real in person tour (just none I’ve been able to get to) so I guess I should be glad of the virtural tours but I would think they are so much more rewarding for both the author and the reader!

  6. The closing of book stores and the end of newspapers is so horrible to my thinking.
    With my Eastern Calif. community being so very rural, no author in his/her right mind would come here. They might get a few people to show up, however, if you are a local author, many show up. That is how I met my only LIVE author many years ago. Her name is Rae Muir. And I haven’t heard any thing about her in years, since she moved.

  7. On line books tours reach a much different audience than the live tours, but both serve a purpose. I have been to signings by local writers, but other than Cameron Judd, no one of more than regional note. I know there are some romance writers in the area, but none have had signings that I have heard about. I think the live signings are important. It is nice to meet someone whose work you admire. Hopefully not coming off as some kind of a fan stalker. I can understand it being draining for you. Being “on display” with a smile and conversation for a group of strangers takes a lot of effort and is tiring.
    I am glad our two major book stores seem to be thriving. We still have a Books-A-Million and a Barnes & Noble plus a independent new and used book store in town. I hope they remain profitable for the companies so they stay open.

  8. Hi Karen! Loved all the pictures! There’s nothing quite like a face-to-face meeting with fellow readers and writers. The world is definitely changing . . . Here in Lexington, we’re down to one Barnes & Noble and Joseph-Beth Booksellers. Both seem to be going strong.

  9. Kay,
    What a great post. Loved the pictures. What a schedule you keep! I don’t know how you find the energy! Really enjoyed this–Thanks so much for this insight into your life and your world of signings.
    Cheryl P.

  10. I have never been to a book signing and met an author face to face but maybe one day I will get to one. I know a lot of authors tour but there is no good book store near where I live so that is why I never get to go. You are one busy lady. Thanks for sharing your tours with us.

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