Tips on how to have fun on your book tour… even if no one shows up.
1. Don’t read aloud from your book.
It may be called a book reading, but people do not want to spend an evening listening to you stumble through prose they’re perfectly capable of reading for themselves. Instead, tell the story of how you found your agent. (Everyone secretly wants an agent.) Tell the funniest story you heard this week, book-related or no. If you absolutely must read, pick a provocative bit. I favor a seduction scene from late in “The Bullet.” My protagonist — sheathed in tight jeans, lips painted ruby red — is whispering to a man about car engines and guns. She leans against a pickup truck, talking fast, letting his eyes trace her curves. “Keep reading,” moaned a man in the back at my San Francisco reading. “Please don’t stop.” He bought three hardcover copies.
2. Give your event a killer title.
If you can work in the words “wine,” “coffee” or “doughnuts,” so much the better. A Texas friend hosts signings with fellow female writers under the banner, “Wine, Women and Mystery.” Count me in. Or, take KramerBooks in Dupont Circle, which recently invited customers to crime-fiction readings headlined “Noir at the Bar” and—more alluring still—“Dames at Dusk.” They could very well have titled this last event, “Seven Women Read Excerpts from Their Books.” Which one would you make time for?