The D.I.Y. Book Tour — Where should I go??


Dear Internet,

I’m organizing a book tour and need your help. Where should I go?

Here’s the deal:

  • JetBlue is selling “All You Can Jet” passes. I bought one. So, I can go ANYWHERE JetBlue flies between Sept 7th and October 6th. Woohoo!!!

This is a low-budget production. I love my publisher, but they don’t send authors on book tours. In fact, most publishers don’t do this anymore, ’cause the Internet makes it moot. But I want to get out of Cambridge, “see the world” (or at least the American portion), and meet people! But “real” book tours—you know, in bookstores—are set up many many months in advance. My local two indys, who I love, both told me “we’re booked until December.” So…

  • Why not do a book tour like musicians do house concerts? Find a space—your house, a community center, a nice park (++ for w/ grill)—and I’ll come sign books, give a talk, and hang out. You’d be the organizer, just like a house concert. I’ll provide the entertainment. =-) Oh, and I’d list the event on my website, tweet, and fb post; but you’d need to do some publicity in your city, too. (Bonus points for getting local journalists and bloggers to come.)

But what about… well, the books? Yeah, that’s a problem. Bookstores normally take care of that for author signings. And I’m not going to haul inventory around with me, never mind the headache that would be collecting cash, dealing with taxes, etc. But…

  • You’d need to buy a BOX of books—20 copies. My publisher can drop-ship them to me to you in your city. You’d then be responsible for splitting up the copies between whoever attends the talk and collecting cash from them. Selling the books this way also covers my costs—trust me, I’m not making a profit, but if I sell them directly, as opposed to doing it through a bookstore, I get the difference between wholesale and retail, which can just barely cover food, car rentals, and crash space.

This idea is just crazy enough that it might actually work. But I need help: specifically, I need organizers in each place to get the ball rolling. So: want me to come do an event with you?


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thoughts on “The D.I.Y. Book Tour — Where should I go??”

  1. We’d love to have you if you can fit us in – we’re a used-and unique bookstore in downtown Annapolis, MD (about 45 minutes from DC), and we can definitely find a kitchen space.
    This looks like exactly the type of book we’d like to carry. E-mail us if you’re interested.
    -Mary & Janice

  2. Totally interested in hosting (i.e., front-buying the books, getting the word out & lining up a suitable space that’s geek-geolocation-centric) in Los Angeles, on October 5th.

    Is a kitchen (a) desired, (b) necessary? And how much of a kitchen? Not impossible, just asking, would affect space search.

    Yes, JetBlue flies into LAX (and Burbank and Long Beach). The latter’s a nice regional airport & recommended.

    Get me a tentative so we can start lining up co-buzz-creators. Great tour model BTW. Only one concern: the book itself shows as sold out, from publishers. Is there much of a risk that pre-orders of boxes can’t be fulfilled in time? JBC

    1. Eat, drink, and hear Bruce tell wicked funny stories?

      Ideally, would like to set up a talk or signing event in a community space or farmers’ market. There’s a possible opportunity at a vineyard as well.

    1. I’ve never been to Houston, and have always wanted to.

      JetBlue ONLY flies to Houston via JFK, though — so it’s a long haul. Do you know the name of a regional carrier that goes from Austin to Houston?

    2. Southwest flies from Austin to Houston though on Saturdays there are only two flights in the mornings so early events are tough to do before 10. I usually meet folks at the airport (Hobby) and serve as a driver when they come in and out on Saturdays for appearances at our group’s meetings.

  3. A bit more info about a stop in the American Riviera (aka Santa Barbara):

    1) Given your blog post and Santa Barbara’s particular strengths, the best location would be certainly be a park. All parks here have excellent barbecue facilities.

    2) The best day, by far, would be a weekend. The largest interested demographic in the area is probably graduate students, but they’re really only going to be available on the weekend.

    3) We can buy a box of books.

    P.S. If you want to spend an extra day in town, we can almost certainly set up a lecture at UCSB and/or take you wine tasting.

  4. Awesome use of the AYCJ pass. For the SF leg, you might see about doing something at @omnivorebooks; they’re great on events. For the NY leg, if you have the flexibility to stay into the evening on 9/27, we might still have slots in the Ignite we’re doing at Web2Expo that evening. Shoot me a note if that appeals, and I’ll see where things stand.

    Not that you need more contacts in Boston, but @thebostonshaker does cool events and the owner is an O’Reilly fan. LMK if you want an intro.

    Finally, I have friendly foodie friends in DC who can probably put you up for a night or two if you’d like. They have a house, with actual space for guests, so you can crash without totally invading.

    Hope it’s a yummy adventure!

    1. Thanks, Sarah! Do you know anyone at omnivore books?

      Re: NYC, will keep the 27th in mind. Looks like I’m going to squeeze Pittsburgh in that day currently, though.

    1. Could work! JetBlue only does NO<->{JFK,BOS}, which essentially means it’s a haul even though I can fly over you and wave for free… Let me dig around some. It’s a great Farmers’ Market!

  5. [LA? -J]
    I see you’ve got a tentative date for NYC on September 25. I’m in NYC, but most of us will be speaking at SharePoint Saturday in Boston that day. You might consider making an adjustment and giving a “brown bag” talk during lunch. Location is Waltham, MA, right outside of Boston… 200 to 250 people. Now that I think of it, you can make the entire SharePoint Saturday ciruit during September

    Hope that helps,

    1. Hi Mark —

      The NYC date is for an event I’ve already committed to, but I see from the conference listing that you’re organizing that there’s one in LA on Sept 18th.

      Would you be interested in organizing and hosting something there?

  6. [SFO after Oct 6th -J]

    If it works for your schedule, my housemates and I would love to host a house party for your book in San Francisco when you’re here in October. Your book sounds great, and I have many friends who are excited about food, cooking, and general geekery. We can definitely commit to getting at least a box of books out to our friends and family, and may even be able to get it out to some local foodie/media types.

    Let me know what I can do to make this happen.

    1. Definitely! The JetBlue pass ends Oct 6th, and I plan to end up in the Bay Area so that I can visit family from Oct 6th onward. Will let you know when I have a better sense of timing! Any dates and times that work well in particular for you?

  7. We are located in Gainesville, Florida — home of the University of Florida. We are within driving distance to Jacksonville, Tampa, and Orlando airports. There’s a local hackerspace and tons of geeks. We would love to have you come and do a book signing and cooking party!

  8. [LONG BEACH -> Santa Barbara -J]

    Hi Jeff,

    Awesome! Quick question, though:

    How far are you willing to travel after you land? E.g. Santa Barbara is a bit more than an hour from Long Beach by car or a bit more by public transit.

    1. Right on–I’ll run the idea past some folk and see what kind of initial interest I find. It would be rocking if you made it out here!

  9. I would love for you to make it to Pittsburgh! Lots of homegrown cooks AND geeks here. I went to your session at South By Southwest this year and had a blast!

  10. Well, if you ever want to really expand the market, I can get you crash space everywhere in New Zealand. Until then, I have been merrily getting crash space via for years!

    1. I’m so excited to try both and — just to be clear, what I’m looking for are people to host the events themselves!

      So, if you want to organize a book signing + food event in your city, let me know!

      (New Zealand? Wow, awesome.)

    1. YES! Let’s do it. Can you find a kitchen space? Would need to figure out how to get word out to folks in D.C. about the book event as well…

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