This blog was featured on 07/20/2016
It’s Book Tour Time Again!

My carry-on is on my bed and I’m hyperventilating. Yes, you’ve guessed it: I’m getting ready for a book tour. Don’t get me wrong, I’m totally excited to present to readers my new novel, Before We Visit the Goddess, about three generations of Indian women in a family--grandmother, mother and daughter--and the ways in which they love and support each other and also drive each other crazy. And I’m very appreciative that Simon & Schuster is sending me to all these cities. The trouble is, I’m a nervous traveler, happiest when I’m at my writing desk. But I’ve learned a few things since the last tour with Oleander Girl that I hope will make things easier, and I want to share them with all of you wonderful writers.

Before the Tour

The first thing I’ve come to terms with is that though the publisher will set up the reading, and the bookstore will put it in their newsletter, it’s really up to me to generate an audience. One of the worst things on a tour is when you get to the bookstore, and there’s three people in the room, and two of them stepped in because it’s raining! So I send out emails to everyone I know in the cities where I’ll be traveling about 6 weeks before the reading date and ask them to come and tell their friends. I have no shame. I beg and cajole and guilt-trip. And then a week before the event. I do it again. I put the information on my FB page, and on twitter, and on my website as well. Over the years, I’ve built up a list of friends/readers in the major cities, and even if a fraction of them come, it’s a big help.

During the Tour

I keep things simple. I only pack a carry-on, no matter how long the tour, because can you imagine the extra stress if you and your baggage got separated? I have a few staple wash-n-wear kind of outfits that I dress in for events, and no one really knows or cares. I also think of the tour as strictly work—I don’t socialize with friends after the event. I explain to them that I have an early flight the next day, and most of them understand. Result: I can get to bed at a decent hour and I’m not exhausted. I’ve also learned to shorten my readings. Earlier, I’d be rushing to tell readers as much as I could about the book, but now I’ve realized that people’s attention-spans aren’t that long, especially at the end of a long workday. So now I keep my introduction of the book and the reading of 1 well-chosen (and preferably suspenseful) passage to about 20 minutes and then do a Q&A, which people seem to like a lot. But even that I end in 15 minutes, saying that they can ask me things one-on-one when they come up to get a book signed. That way, there’s less of a chance of people leaving before the book signing starts.

After the Tour

The tour’s not over when the travel stops. Fortunately, because of the internet, we can keep promoting our books fairly easily. A virtual tour is a great option, and I hope to keep doing that once I’m back home. I’ve kept track of book bloggers who reviewed/interviewed me last time, and I’ll reach out to them. I’ve also built up a list of my favorite book blog sites where I haven’t been featured yet, and I’ll send out queries. I’ll reach out to book clubs as well in my home-city, and keep an eye out for book festivals that are within driving distance.

Do you have any book tour/book promotion life-hacks? I’d love to hear them, because sharing our ideas makes us all stronger.

Chitra Divakaruni’s latest novel, Before We Visit the Goddess, explores the question “What does success mean for a woman? Is it something that changes from generation to generation, country to country?” Her tour is listed on her website


Let's be friends

The Women Behind She Writes

519 articles
12 articles

Featured Members (7)

123 articles
392 articles
54 articles
60 articles

Featured Groups (7)

Trending Articles

  • Purabi Das

    Thanks for the tips, Chitra ....and good to know you are part of the She Writes community. Good luck on your book tour. Are you coming to Toronto?

  • Thanks for this, Chitra. Great tips.  Very useful and timely since I'm about to plan a tour for my upcoming memoir, DYING IN DUBAI. I will take your advice, especially about just one carry-on bag!

  • Iris Waichler

    Hi Chitra:

       Thanks so much for your post. I found your tips very useful. It is also nice to hear someone else talk about their anxiety when they do these tours. I find comfort in not being the only one to have these feelings. Good luck with your novel.