Leavin’ on that Midnight Plane to Georgia

Actually, I’m leaving this afternoon for Georgia. Not midnight at all. But since I’ve been traveling more and more often, I thought it might be fun to share with you (especially those of you who are or want to be authors) some things I’ve learned about surviving a book tour. I call it…


Tip #1: The loris is actually poisonous. But he's still super cute! Sigh.


1. Always bring your own pen. Every place I go provides pens, but I’ve never once used one that I liked better than my own. I have a lucky signing pen. I found it on the ground while leaving a Phillies game, so I had to wash it profusely before chewing on it. Because obviously, I can’t not chew on it.

2. Don’t call on “that guy.” You know the guy. He (or she) doesn’t so much have a lot to ask as a lot to say. He’ll raise his hand and go on and on about how your book reminded him of something great he did. Sometimes he is nice, sometimes he is not. But the important thing to remember is that other people have questions too. After two or three long, rambling “questions”, tell him you’d love to talk to him in private afterward and get his insights on a few topics. Then move on.

3. Wear comfortable shoes, or sit down. You really don’t want to stand at a podium for forty minutes in sky-high pumps. I prefer to sit down, as I find it more casual – I think people are much more comfortable asking good questions and having real conversation if you are at eye-level. But if you must stand, for heaven’s sake- wear flats! The audience deserves your full attention and a big smile. You can’t give either while you’re fretting about the blisters forming.

4. Always know what book you’re reading. This one may sound confusing, but hear me out. Have you ever had someone ask you what you’re reading when you only started the book last night, and you read it when you got up in the middle of the night and couldn’t sleep, and so far you’re only a chapter or so in, and you can barely recall the title, let alone the author? Well, as a writer, be prepared to hear this question a lot. If you’re totally blanking out on the book, name the last thing you read instead. People love to ask this as a conversation-starter, so be prepared with a book you feel really comfortable discussing.

5. Clean your house. As mentioned in #3, there are few things that make me feel more guilty than giving a talk and signing while distracted. So before you leave home, do all of the chores you possibly can. Take out the trash, mop the floor, do your laundry, pay your bills – anything that might weigh on your mind later. Then, as you board the plane or train or hired mule, you’ll have nothing to focus on but your upcoming presentation. And when you get back, you’ll have the added bonus of  being able to come in, kick off your shoes, and curl up with a good book right away.

More to come!

Published in: on June 27, 2011 at 9:00 am  Comments (2)  

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Hi Alice!
    Have fun in Georgia—good tips for all those future
    I am at the New York Public Library at 40th and 5th
    Avenue. I found your book on the shelf and promptly
    put it on public display in case there is anyone who
    hasn’t read it yet!

  2. Wishing you lots of short-winded fans! 🙂

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