Author Guide To Surviving a Booktour, Tip #1
Do you realize that out of all of the thousands of books in the bookstores I have visited over the past couple weeks, not ONE of them was a guide about how to survive a book tour?
I know! It's a travesty! Here the publishers are, sending hapless authors out on book tours, and we don't have a single book we can read that tells us what to expect, or how to behave.
And let's face it: some of us really need help.
That is why I, Meg Cabot, have decided to devise my own book of tips for authors on book tours, so that other authors may learn from my mistakes, and benefit from my Been-there/Done That/Had That Spilled on Me Before wisdom.
So, without further Ado, I present you with Meg Cabot's Author Guide to Surviving a Booktour:
Congratulations! You're going on a book tour!
Wow, you are so lucky. Your publisher thinks so highly of you and your book, they are sending you out on the road to promote it (or maybe you are sending yourself out on the road because your publisher didn't budget enough publicity money to pay for a tour themselves, those cheap bastards. But hey, they loved your book enough to publish it!).
Either way, you are about to embark on a remarkable adventure! You'll laugh, you'll cry, flight attendants will spill someone else's beer on you…and in the end, you'll learn things about yourself you never knew. Such as: Yes, you CAN ingest all the chocolate in the minibar AND still have room for the cashews and that Gatorade power bar which you only ate because it had caramel chunks in it.
The fact is, your book tour is going to be an inspirational journey, and finally–if you survive it–a triumph of the human spirit.
But before any of that can happen, you need to read this guide. Because the last thing you want to do is get out there and find yourself completely unprepared for what lies ahead!
So pull up a chair (or your wheelie suitcase, if you have already left for tour and are reading this at that airport, in which case, do you know how lucky you are to be in an airport with wi-fi? Because let me tell you, hardly any of them have it), and read on! You won't be sorry.
Meg Cabot's Author Guide to Surviving a Booktour Tip #1:
Before you leave for your book tour, your publicist will send you an ITINERARY (or, if you are making up your own tour, you yourself will send you an ITINERARY).
Immediately print out and read this ITINERARY. This ITINERARY will now become your Bible (or whatever book you own that you read frequently. This does not include whatever book you keep near your toilet, which we all know is a DIFFERENT book than the one you read for comfort during your hours of need. Possibly the book by your toilet is one of the LEFT BEHIND books, so you can chuckle while reading such inspirational prose as: Then Jason went into the supply closet and got saved. Then Jennifer, Stan, and Jeff went into the supply closet and got saved. Then Sarah went into the supply closet and got saved etc).
Many times your ITINERARY will be filled with seemingly startling and even disturbing facts. Such as that in order to catch your 6:45AM flight to Detroit, your media escort* will be picking you up from your hotel at 3:45AM.
Do not freak out. See, a book tour is just like boot camp. Remember how in AN OFFICE AND A GENTLEMAN Richard Gere freaked out when Louis Gossett Jr. was yelling at him all the time? But we knew it was futile of Richard to fight Louis Gossett Jr. because Louis Gossett Jr. was Richard's drill sergeant, and he was ALWAYS going to win?
Your itinerary is Louis Gossett Jr. It's ALWAYS going to win. Don't fight it. A book tour is like boot camp (with room service, a minibar, and a fluffy robe). You can't get up whenever you want when you're in boot camp. Your time is not your own in boot camp. You should know this. You are the one who signed up for it! You can't quit (well, you can, but other authors will call you a you-know-what).
You are doing this for YOUR BOOK. Do you want your book to think you're a you-know-what? That you didn't give your all for it??? No!
When you are in boot camp, you just have to admit that you are powerless over your drill sergeant. When you are on a book tour, you just have to admit that you are powerless over your ITINERARY. The sooner you do this—the sooner you give up and quit struggling—the happier your tour will be.
Which leads us to Book Tour Survival Tip #1:
NEVER LOOK AHEAD ON YOUR ITINERARY.
I am dead serious. It is okay to review the initial itinerary when it is sent to you.
But it is NOT okay to look ahead on your itinerary ONCE YOU HAVE ACTUALLY LEFT YOUR HOUSE.
This is because looking ahead on your itinerary, and seeing that you still have ten days until you get to go home, and several of those days include multiple events and four hour drives, plus AM radio (“Hey! Welcome to the Morning Zoo with Skeezer and the Man! We got Meg Cabot here this morning—you all know Meg Cabot, she wrote the Princess Diarrheas! Ha, just kidding, it's the Princess Diaries. You know we're kidding, right, Meg? Hey, is that a tiara in your shirt pocket, Meg, or are you just glad to see us?”) will fill you with existential despair.
And Skeezer and the Man are immune to existentialism.
So don't look. Just take it ONE DAY at a time. In the morning, look only at what you have to do THAT DAY. Then, at night, before bed, you may look to see what you have to do the next day. BUT NO LOOKING AHEAD.
Because that way lies only madness.
I hope you have enjoyed Tip #1 of Meg Cabot's Author Guide to Surviving a Booktour. Stay tuned for tomorrow's tip, *MEDIA ESCORTS: NO THEY ARE NOT HOOKERS.
Thanks to all of you who showed up at my signing in Okemos last night—special thanks to Maddie for the TaB (!!!!) and Mallory for the sweet note. Also thanks to Audrey and the rest of the gang at Schuler's for the kickass tiaras and all around awesomeness.
Come see me today at
3527 Washtenaw Ave.
Ann Arbor, MI, 48108
You know you want to.