Then I started actually doing it.
In Richmond, I figured that the long hours at the card table, readerless, were because my book was essentially a "beach book," not exactly a match for people who weren't going to be into the light "booze, sex and gossip" vibe of Fish-Eye Lens. So I put high hopes on the signings scheduled for me on North Carolina's Outer Bans. Perfect "beach book" territory.
I quickly discovered all the grumps and grouses of all the authors who have gone before me. My selling space is approximately two feet square - certainly not enough to include Eileen, my inflatable palm tree that just might attract attention. No one who works in the bookstore has read even the cover of my book, precluding the idea that someone might direct a reader my way. There's no bathroom! Oh please, make these two hours go by quickly. I'm not selling here, and these people aren't helping.
To make matters worse, I am situated right next to a display of books by Stephen King. Right. As if his stuff has any relation at all to my happy paean to island life.
Then the next afternoon, I am standing around waiting for the previous selling author to vacate the card table so that I can at least try to set up an island atmosphere. A romance novel ... series, actually. She wants to hang on as long as possible to the selling table; I want to put on my trop rock and try to create an island atmosphere.
So this is what the big guys are talking about with the book tour.
I survived. Two days, two books sold. Whoop-de-do. But I see the big picture. So I vow the following: When I am retired and looking for activities, mine is going to be going to author book signings and local bookstores. I will acknowledge the authors. I will talk with them and learn their stories. I will buy their books, whether or not I plan to read them. Once I've finished, I will pass on these books and hope that someone else will find a new author.
That will be my contribution to the ... what? the business? the craft? the industry?
No matter. I promise,