How do people do book tours?
I have not read a lot about self-published authors doing book tours on their own, but there are some who drive across America, some who go to places and countries that are part of the story or where their most concentrated readers are based. The thing about self-published authors is that we did not spend ten to fifteen grand (or more) to get traditional publishing. Traditional publishing also makes a percentage off your sales for the copyright lifetime! Maybe not all traditional publishing are like that now, but for self-publishers like me, I have control of my content, marketing, and direction. So I invest the money I would set aside to pay marketeers to do a book tour. So what is involved in my book tour?
The book tour is not about selling my books, but a more important mission to my heart, opening a conversation about helping others who are different and who are in need. I also want to encourage people to write their stories and do a little workshop on how to get started.
How do I get the time for a book tour while working?
My husband and I own a consulting company and we work mostly remote. As long as we are connected to a reliable internet, we can do some of our work. Also, we will take a hiatus of certain projects before we leave for a month. Not everyone has the flexibility that we have, but if you work for a company, you can take vacation days or non-paid leave. Just make sure your finances are in order to do that.
How do I get the money for a book tour?
So I have been saving for a world trip for about ten years now. I decided to use that money for my book tour. So I have been socking away $100 a month for 10 years, which gives me $12,000. I was able to get really cheap tickets from www.onetravel.com (I will let you know if they were actually reliable tickets). The roundtrip ticket per person was around $1500 to travel from Los Angeles, CA to Tokyo to Singapore to Taiwan and to South Korea and back to Los Angeles, CA. I used my Southwest companion pass and Southwest points to fly free from Nashville, TN to Los Angeles, CA. I also have Hilton points from American Express to help me book some of the lodging for free. Use all the points you can for your travel! I am taking my book tour assistants, husband and child. The rest of the money is used for lodging, meals, and transportation. So what to do if you don't have $12,000 socked away or points. One, you can start saving before you write your book. If you have decent credit, you can get a 0% interest credit card and put everything on it. Pay it off before the 0% interest expires. You can do a fundraising event or gofundme. There are lots of creative ways to make your book tour dream happen, but you want to make sure that the book tour does not put you into an abyss of debt that you can't get out of. That would be a book to write about though!
What will I bring on my book tour?
I plan to pack everything as a carry-on (scream!). I always like to challenge myself to minimize the things to bring with me when I travel. This will be an extra challenge because not only I am bringing my family, I will be bringing books, marketing materials, and extra electronic gear for blogging and vlogging! I plan only to bring a week's worth of clothing since most of the places we are staying have washers and dryers. My books are heavy, so I plan to bring about 10 to give away in each country. Since I published through Bookbaby, my book is available internationally and online (Amazon, Barnes&Noble, ibook, Google Play, etc.), so I don't have to worry about bringing a bunch of books.
I will follow-up with the details on how I pack for this trip (hopefully with some time lapse video footage). Stay tuned for the next blog posting.
Why I am going to Asia?
I used to teach ESL (English as a Second Language) classes and teaching certifications, so I have students, teachers, and friends all over the world, especially in Asia. Most of my contacts are in Japan, Taiwan, and South Korea. I don't have many contacts in Singapore, but I hope to meet new friends. Another reason I am going is because I am Asian and our culture is usually very closed, meaning it is hard for our culture to accept foreigners or those who are different from us. I also want to share how Japan, Singapore, Taiwan, and South Korea handle refugee and immigration policies (blog posts coming soon about this). I hope to have a conversation with the people that live there and see their perspective, perhaps encourage them to do something they are passionate about, and inspire them to share their stories.
How do I get a space and audience on my international book tour?
I have contacted many book clubs on Meetup, Facebook, and other social media sites. I have contacted all my friends who live in those countries to help come and support me. My book tour will be a "coffee talk" in cafes like Starbucks. I created all my event invites through Eventbrite and that also helps market events in those specific countries. Again, I don't plan on having a zillion people come, but having an impact on a few people is worth my trip and time.
Change starts from one person and ripples to everyone around them. I hope to inspire those I meet to do something that is close to their heart and to not be afraid.
Thanks to all my friends who helped me translate a lot of my banner below!