• Tory McCagg
  • [SWP: Behind the Book] Cross-country Whistle Stop Book Tour with Flash Readings Part Three!
[SWP: Behind the Book] Cross-country Whistle Stop Book Tour with Flash Readings Part Three!
Written by
Tory McCagg
November 2014
Written by
Tory McCagg
November 2014

We are home. The final flash has been posted. As to the whistle stops, by the time we had boarded the train back to New York City, we were more concerned with the issue of connections—would we make ours in Chicago—than whistle stop videos. Which is too bad. I had a lot of shifts in attitude on the trip. Being how I am—I don’t, apparently write while on the road but allow me access to WiFi and I will jot down blog-style notes which would have resulted in a more synchronistic representation of the trip. But I am how I am and so we are left with memory and a deadline to write this post.

The short version: my cross-country, whistle stop book tour with flash readings accomplished what I knew it would. No more. No less. 

As with everything in life there are myriad ways to look at a goal or event. I will present two: the negative and the positive. 

The negative view:

(Photo of Donner Pass)

I did it all wrong. I didn’t do enough (um, any) publicity other than a Mailchimp newsletter and an alert and postings at my blog and facebook pages, neither of which have a huge following. I didn’t contact local newspapers or magazines. I barely had it together enough to get in touch with all the people I knew locally at each of our stops. I ever so gently suggested to friends and family that they spread the word, but no hard sell begging. Publicist I am not. 

When we finally set off on our tour, my hopes to post while traveling came up short because WiFi doesn’t exist on cross-country trains. And though Carl bought in to a Hot Spot, the dratted thing wouldn’t connect consistently most of the time. For the record, being off-line while on a book tour was a contradiction and frustration. Hours and hours were spent staring out at the beauty of America, reading but not writing or posting until we arrived at one or another destination, at which point we put ourselves into gear, full speed ahead. 

 (Photo below: other than in Portland, this was the only decent espresso drink of the trip, had at the end of it, in Seattle: Cheers to Moore Coffee Shop!)

Movement. We made it to every one of the bookstores I said we would. We flashed them all. We had a great time. But, at times, I wanted to cry, completely deflated. I wasn’t making my point because I hadn’t thought through (written down) what I wanted to say. I had missed a huge opportunity by not promoting the tour more and now the flashes themselves were distracted. Adding to the absurdity, many of our flashes consisted of Carl and me arriving at the local independent bookstore, breathless (but on time!) and alone. No one there to greet us. Passersby not stopping but continuing by. And apparently I had not made it clear that flashes are just that: Flash! Blink and we are gone. More than one person missed out on our flash readings for that reason. When I said a time, that’s when it happened. 

Why not wait? One, I allowed my insecurity to take over; I didn’t actually think people would come. But more significant: even though we weren’t uploading the videos to YouTube and my website the nanosecond the flashes were done—at times, it was a day or two before we could get to a web connection—yet there was something vital to doing the readings when I had said we would. I felt responsible to our time table. Unlike Amtrak, I wasn’t dependent on freight rails to get to my destination. And, however absurd and ridiculous I, at times, felt rushing to make a relative fool of myself on a video that a handful of people might see, yet I had my wonder-Carl with me who never once let me get away with negativity. This was the fun of it! The nature of flashes is their spontaneous, entirely unpreparedness. As we skittered across the country and up it, we had a mission and a schedule and Carl, a professional musician, knew better than I, the show must go on!  

The positive view:

Simply put, I am not done. We might be home but there is work ahead of me. The follow up. It was and is a good idea, and it is one I intend to build on. I already have the Northshire Bookstore, (Manchester Center, VT) flash scheduled for January 30th. I am thinking of a train ride down to Florida in March. Amtrak has many rails yet to be traveled. And I have my opinions about Amtrak to share! I will be writing details about the travel experience in the next weeks at my website www.torymccagg.com. And how it ties in to my next book.

Thus, I make another connection. I connect my current book, Bittersweet Manor, to my next one, Darwin’s View One Breath After Midnight. If you check out my last (18th) flash, made at Darwin’s View, you’ll understand how it all comes together. (Links at www.torymccagg.com or at YouTube: 

And this was my intention. I didn’t expect to sell hundreds of books through this trip. I did intend to meet people, introduce myself to bookstore staff, who might remember me, maybe even read my book. Promoting Bittersweet Manor, (and independent bookstores and public transportation) I made new friends, came to understand the variety and uniqueness of bookstores, and, book by book, connected with people.

A final note: Typos. I am embarrassed at some level to hand out my book—though I did give away all the copies I carried with me. Because typos keep showing up. The most glaring and rather humorous one being found in the midst of a flash reading. Outside of The Book Cellar. I read out the title of the chapter: Nature vs. Nurture, February 29, 1947.

A woman walking past looked at  me. “1947 wasn’t a leap year.”

Oh my.

I still don’t know how it happened. I just checked the drafts in my computer and in August of 2013 when I sent in my manuscript to She Writes Press, the year was 1948. Somehow, someway, the date got changed. The good news? I now have enough typos that I’m going to ask for another go at corrections!

I am afraid this is another rushed post. But, this too I have learned: that’s what I do. Rush. Move. That’s what the book tour gave me: that exhilaration. And now it is time to sit still and digest all I took in, and write.

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

  • Tory McCagg Publishing

    Dylan, I just read Ann Patchett's book This is the Story of a Happy Marriage. She reads her book aloud to a friend when she is "done" with it. Wow. Now I know the depth and lack of patience I have allowed my writing! Again, lessons learned for the next time.

  • Tory McCagg Publishing

    Typos. I don't know what to think. I looked through the first draft of the manuscript I sent in to She Writes and the February 29, 1948 was correct. Somewhere along the line of edits, it got changed. No clue and am not going to spend the time looking. It's done. I am going to get in touch with Cait and ask to send in a corrected version with the typos I have found.  Line editor, I did not hire. I guess I figured it had been edited by She Writes editor and I looked over it five times after that. Who a thunk! But yes, next time I will hire a line editor!

    Thanks for taking the time to read the blog. More at www.torymccagg.com! (If anyone has a clue how to link SheWrites to one's own blog, do tell!

  • I find it admirable all the time and work you put into your marketing strategy; it is, for me, the hardest part of the process. And making lemonade from lemons...a positive outlook will carry you through. What disturbed me was "typos keep showing up." Did you hire a line editor? Did your publisher proofread? It pays to hire outside sources to do developmental and copy edits...they're worth their weight in gold! Your story sounds captivating; I'm looking forward to reading the book.

  • J. Dylan Yates

    Sounds like a wonderful adventure!  

    Yes, nothing like a read out-loud to let the typos find you. Over 117 typos in my book found me as I taped the audiobook. Yikes! Teaches me I need to read every page out loud at the end of edits.

    How great that the trip is fodder for the next book. 

    What you''ve done for indie bookstores is wonderful and I'm sure, appreciated. Onward!