Dear She Writers,

It’s 6 weeks now to publication. Things are heating up, and matters are complicated by the fact that I had to make a quick two week trip to India on family matters. So I’m sending you this from Bangalore. Not the best timing, but isn’t that the reality of many of us women writers—balancing  our writerly life with the demands of jobs, families, etc.  Not that I’m complaining too loudly. I love visiting India and have decided that this means that the universe wants to me get some new book tour outfits from India. (My husband remains skeptical, but sisters, you know it’s true!) I’ll post photos soon. 

So here’s the tour. If you live in any of these cities, I’d SO love it if you come and cheer me on/up.


Book Tour, Oleander Girl (novel) and Grandma and the Great Gourd (children’s picture book, more information here:


March 7—Houston TX Book Launch at the Asia Society, books by Brazos Books

March 9-10 – Tucson Book Festival—2 author panels, one on
the 9th, one on the 10th.

March 13—Phoenix—Library Fundraiser event

· Monday, March 18, – evening Books Inc, Mountain View, CA
· Tuesday, March 19 –noon, Book Passage, Corte Madera, CA.
Tuesday, March 19 evening, Copperfield’s, Northern CA

Wednesday March 20, 12:30, Evergreen College, San Jose

· Thursday, March 21st – Diesel Books– Los Angeles
· Friday, March 22 – San Diego,CA, Point Loma Nazarene University (afternoon) and Warwick’s Books at night
· Saturday, March 23, 4PM – Vroman’s – LA

Wednesday March 27 — One Book, One Community of Monroe County @ Monroe County Community College, Monroe, MI (near Detroit)

· Tuesday, April 2 at ANNIE BLOOMS in Portland – 7pm

Wednesday, April 3 at ELLIOTT BAY in Seattle – 7pm

Saturday April 13 San Antonio Book Festival

Tuesday April 16 Houston, Montgomery College

Wednesday April 17 Austin. book club luncheon, noon, and Book People, 7 pm
Thursday April 18th—Austin—book club luncheon and night Saheli event.

Friday May 3 Sacramento, CA Sacramento Library Foundation event

May 7 New York, reading at the Asia Society

DC dates still to come


Has anyone done a reading where apart from you, there are 3 people in the bookstore, and two of them are employees? I have. (Happened on my first tour; I’m still recovering.) So nowadays I prepare obsessively before I get to a city. This includes emailing my list of friends and readers a few times—I don’t go to cities unless I know at least a few people there that I can cajole into attending my event; it’s too hard psychologically otherwise. (I have to figure out the tricky balance between them forgetting about the event and them getting exasperated). I post the info on my website and the link on twitter. I try to do a blog post on my own site, AmazingThings, which is exported to my Amazon blog. If I’ve done media before in that city, I send the interviewers the information that I’ll be there again. If I know bloggers that post events about those cities, I’ll write to them. If there are groups in town that I know of (in my case, this might be a South Asian organization or book club, and often I don’t know them but I’ll research this info), I inform them and offer to meet with them exclusively before the event, preferably in the bookstore. Many times, these things don’t work and I have to steel myself for silence or worse, but every once in a while, they turn out surprisingly well. I try to do this 4-6 weeks before my event.

Yes, you’ve figured it out by now: preparing for a tour sucks the time and energy out of my days. It’s not my preferred mode of operation. I’m not good at reaching out and requesting. Some days I get no responses, and I feel kind of down. Plus I know I’m not going to be able to work on my next book project until this tour is over, and that makes me feel kind of crazy. And then I’ll probably need some time to recuperate. And more chocolate. But it’s the last push before the birthing, and I’m willing to put in the effort.

If I don’t do this for my book, who will?

So friends: I hope at least a little of this is helpful. I’d love to hear some of your tour experiences (including horror stories, if you’re willing to share!) and what you’ve done to prepare for them.

Now I must go shop! 

Let's be friends

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  • Mohana Rajakumar

    Sounds like you have the process down to a science. That's the value of taking the long view and having more than one book - you refine over time. Good luck... Wish Qatar was on your list of stops :).

  • Thanks, Patricia!

  • Thanks for writing in, Pamela. Good luck with your tour. I love your positive attitude. Like the old joke goes: What's worse than book tour? Answer: Not having a book tour!

  • Thanks for all the suggestions, Kelly. I will check into all these. My current publisher Free Press/Simon & Schuster is working hard to make really good things happen, but I think the author always needs to do more. 

  • Kelly Hand

    It sounds like you are not getting a lot of help from your publisher.  For DC, have you already tried Politics and Prose? You are guaranteed to get a good crowd there, and there's a growing South Asian community to tap into.  Maybe you could even try to work through the embassy. There's also a great independent VA (Alexandria?) book store that Obama visited recently, but I'm sure you know about all these places.  Good luck to you! I love the infinite variations on the classic themes of orphanhood, so I look forward to Oleander Girl's debut.

  • Pamela Olson

    I am right there with you, dear Chitra. I'm currently organizing a seven week book tour in ten states (for Fast Times in Palestine, which will be released about the same time yours will be release!), and about three weeks after it's over I'll be getting married. Meanwhile I have to move house in a week and I still haven't found a new place, and of course there are still ten thousand things to do to get ready for the launch and get all the publicity in place. It's getting to be a little overwhelming.

    But it's a life we chose, and there are many exciting things along the way. I'm also trying to keep perspective. It's not like I'm in the Gaza Strip and F16s are performing maneuvers over my house.

    But yeah, there was that one time I agreed to do a reading in a neighborhood bookstore, and my publicity brought in two friends, and their publicity brought in zero. And they wouldn't let me off the hook -- I had to sit there and give my presentation to my two friends, who had both already read my book. They even asked questions at the Q&A. It's pretty funny now, but... yeah... trying to avoid that in the future!

    P.S. I'll be at Books Inc. in Mountain View two days after you'll be there -- and I'll also be at Elliott Bay two days after you'll be there! But I swear I'm not stalking you. :)

  • Patricia Robertson

    Did book signing with only three other people, two being employees.  :(  Your suggestions for getting people to attend are good ones.