Thursday, February 20, 2014

Taking Your Book on the Road

Writing Invoking Nonna has been a phenomenal experience. I'll be honest, the easy part was writing the book – telling Maggie’s story. Then came the editing and selecting a group of beta readers to read the book prior to going to print. At this point, things did become more emotional. It was intimidating to share my book with others. It was a story I had kept to myself for so long, and to hand it over for others to critique was a bit scary.  As a writer, I know sharing your story with others is part of the process. That’s why we put it in book format. We want people to read and enjoy the world we created. 

While Invoking Nonna was at the printer; I began planning a small book tour with my friend and fellow author, Taryn Hipp.  The plan was for Taryn to fly from her residence in the Philadelphia area to Olympia, Washington, where we would embark on a Pacific Northwest tour.

Organizing a book tour was pretty surreal.  It was exciting to contact venues that we thought would be a good fit for our material – mostly coffee shops, bookstores, and libraries. We created a list of cities we wanted to visit and only had to make a few minor adjustments to our initial list along the way.

When all dates were confirmed, our final tour schedule had us stopping in Portland, Olympia, Tacoma, Seattle, Bellingham, and Vancouver BC.  Taryn and I worked together setting up social media event pages, and contacting local writers to read with us.

I enjoyed having local writers join us at each stop. They were all wonderful additions to the tour. It’s always fun to include others, and it gave us an opportunity to have people attend our event that we might not have connected with if it weren't for those local readers. It feels good to work with other creative people, spreading that artistic energy around.

Going on the book tour, and reading in front of various audiences evoked many emotions. It was exciting, frightening, and at times, stressful. Just when I thought I had already ridden a roller coaster ride full of different emotions while writing and editing the book, I was unprepared for how the tour would affect me.

Being on tour forced me out of my comfort zone. I couldn’t safely hide behind my computer typing away at my book. Instead, I found myself standing in front of strangers and reading my words – wondering if they will laugh at the funny parts, be interested when the plot thickens, or love the characters as much as I do.

After every stop, I left feeling a natural high from pushing myself and sharing my work. It was an exhilarating feeling. I was inspired by the people I met, the different cities we traveled to, and the feedback I received. 

I hope authors reading this (especially those afraid to put themselves out there) take a few risks like I did. They will pay off – I swear. I learned a lot about myself on tour. Not just about being a writer, but about how I handle myself in social situations that are fairly new to me.

The adventure changed me in positive ways and now I have a great deal of important things under my belt, such as public speaking, knowledge about going on a physical book tour, and marketing my book in different cities. 

I highly recommend leaving your town and taking your book on the road. Even if you can only escape your life for a weekend. Cross the boundaries of your comfort zone and get scared – you’ll be astonished how much growth you’ll take away from the experience. It's a powerful thing.

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