I read an article today from an author on a cross country book tour. First I would like to say that while the stress of the tour and constantly being on the go does sound daunting, I would still give almost anything to have that be a stress I was contending with. There were a few parts that stuck out to me and it got me thinking about how, as a small time Indie author myself, I could still rate my own version of a tour to promote my books.
One thing he mentioned was the being "on" all the time and how exhausting that was for him. To a point I can understand it. Authors are entertainers and being in front of people only raises the bar for the fan expectations. This is an area, however, that because of my personality and day job I would truly enjoy. I am an extrovert and being "on" is something that comes naturally to me. I love to talk to people. I am also a former dancer in forms like ballet, jazz, modern and others. That history of being on stage has given me a lifelong love of being a performer.
In the case of the author I was reading about, he is traditionally published and the twenty-four stop tour was arranged by his publisher. He has people that meet him at the airport and get him to and from events. His schedule is coordinated through others and he shows up, reads and signs, does his author duties of PR and promotion then heads back to his hotel to write / edit / read until he falls asleep to do it all again the next day. It is a hectic time to be sure but it is also arranged for him and the publicity is done and paid for through the publisher. What about us Indies?
We do it ourselves. We do our own marketing (true some of us have fan clubs / street teams that help us out), we book our own flights, drive our own cars, and pay for our own hotel rooms when we do shows. Most of us have to take time away from regular jobs in order to do the shows, especially a small tour type of thing. The tables are brought with us to set up and the books are ones we ordered and paid for ahead of time so we have to pray people show up to buy them. We attend shows where we pay for the right to have a table or booth then sit and wait, hoping our work stands out enough to be bought. Our version of the tour, in my humble opinion, is far more stressful than a full time, traditionally published writer traveling to promote for their publisher instead of having to do it all themselves.