Being Out in the World with Your Book
When my debut novel Fhe Year of Needy Girls came out, I threw the book release party at a local gay bar bc of the book’s LGBTQ content. It was perfect! I organized my own book tour for places where I had friends —- guaranteeing at least a small audience. At a couple of bookstore readings, I also reached out to local writers I had connected with on social media & invited them to read with me, another way to both increase attendance & also forge new friendships. I loved every minute of it.
Lovely post! And very encouraging. A couple weeks ago I went to a friend’s release event at a local book store in San Francisco for the publishing of her first book, The Dead are Gods, and it was so incredible and absolutely sold out! She’s really a welcoming and warm spirit. Now she’s touring in the UK! I’ve read her memoir and very much recommend it (have a review on my newsletter too). I appreciate this craft talk and cocktail photos 🖤
I went to a reading by Lidia Yuknavich at a local bookstore. The room felt packed with people who had loved her previous books. She spoke for a few minutes about the experience of writing the book then read two disturbingly strange short stories from her collection. She has a wonderful reading voice and it was a moving experience to sit within a crowd of people all engaged with the reading.
I think sound quality at events like that is really important. I've also been to a reading where I could hardly hear anything. Especially if it's a livestream on zoom of a live event. Consider wearing a mic if you're going to also stream your event.
I love multiple author events, whether they be speakers panels, interviews or readings. I did a panel of Latinx women writers at a small college book event, with Reyna Grande (now a bestselling author) and Melinda Palacio (a poet who recently was named poet laureate of Santa Barbara) and we are still friends and they are shooting stars! Love them and so grateful for that friendship.
Thanks for this one, Jami. My book will be releasing in October and plans are in the works. I'm a writer/teacher so many of the events planned will include a writing workshop. As to fun/entertaining/different events, when my friend, Dian Greenwood and her book, "About The Carleton Sisters," comes to San Diego, we're doing a semi-staged reading of one of the scenes with five character roles. PS I hope you put San Diego on your schedule for your tour next winter. We have a lively writing community here that I know would welcome you grandly.
Great post! Group Writing Sessions! Portland will definitely support you in that! (I volunteer!) I do a lot of work with debut authors on promo, and my favorite advice was always this: do what you love. When my debut came out, I wanted a downtown Powell's reading. Most YA books didn't get that at that time, so I researched what other YA contemporary books were launching that summer, met two sparkling writers, who were also screenwriters, and invited them from L.A. to do a panel and promote all of our books. It was amazing! And a packed house. Me, David Iserson (FIRECRACKER) and Kiwi Smith (TRINKETS) read from our books and then I moderated a lively discussion about books, screenwriting, and a million other things I can't remember. There were lots of laughs, books sold, and I made some new friends. Sometimes the best thing you can do to support your book is to support other authors, too. Writers in community! I only did a handful of tour dates, but I made each one a party and involved my talented friends, too, like a band playing at Book People in Austin. You only debut once! Think as big as you want, ask friends to help, and have fun.
Sacramento and Davis, CA have a strong writing community, and both cities offer Stories on Stage, a literary performance series where a local actor performs from an author's work - it's readers' theatre, essentially. I've seen some incredible performances and had the opportunity to meet so many incredible authors as a result. I'd think that an enterprising author could make a similar event happen in their community by teaming up with a local theatre group, bookshop, college/university drama department...lots of opportunities.
Thank you for this! Slightly jealous of Prague and those cocktails but in a good for you kinda way. We have a local festival here in Spokane. It’s called Get Lit. The Get Lit team brings in amazing folks. A few years ago, Tommy Orange came. This year, they brought in Ada Limon. I was lucky enough to workshop with her in a class titled How to Start A Poem. I wrote about what I learned in my post last week. I got so much out of the experience. I’m eager to learn about festivals in other cities. Thanks again for opening this up! Chin Chin - that’s how toast in the Italian family I married into.
I went to the Yale Writers' Workshop a few years ago. I'm still chipping away at the novel I workshopped there, but the craft talks and master classes -- plus the really interesting fellow writers in my workshop sessions, and our amazing workshop leader -- made it an unforgettable experience. It cost more money than I had ever thought to spend on such a thing, but it was totally worth it. And yes, I made some friends there.
The most fun event I did this year in support of my new book was a joint reading/concert at a local bar. The bar owner is just starting this kind of thing. It was a small bar, but the place was packed. My friends were the musicians--I live in a small regional city so everyone in the arts scene knows each other. I think any time you can do an artistic mash-up, everyone wins.
I think having a strong connection with your community applies to both virtual and physical locations. As for the latter, I wonder if you e noticed a difference between NOLA and NYC, two diverse locales? Do you feel more closely connected in a small city v large? I inhabit two vastly different worlds, splitting my time between coastal Maine and Phoenix, and the writing community in the smaller space (Maine) feels much more intimate and committed to supporting local writers than the desert wasteland.
Also: your idea of a writing group on the road: 💯
I live in community rarely, if ever visited by authors I love. But Chicago is two hours away and I’ve started keeping my eye open for when people I want to see will be up there. I’ve only been able to make it happen twice so far but it was so nourishing. I’ve started to think of it like attending a concert because I have to travel for those too. 😁
Hi Jami, I'm a teacher and am wondering how to access the "teacher subscription" you mention in the newsletter. Thanks!
I love to connect with readers. A conversation with one person who read my book is more valuable than ten people just glancing at my cover. ~ You said it, it's about connecting and building a solid network. For me, it's also about supporting fellow writers whenever I can. 😊💗
Jami, we in Paris are so looking forward to hearing you at the ALP. I was hoping to put something together before or after so you could meet some of my writing group and others. I understand you have dinner plans with Lauren. Would you like to have a drink with us before your talk. I could still organise something. Up to you and how much energy you have!!!
Either way, can’t wait!!!
Reader here. The best “book events” that get me to want to read books are interviews (online, recorded and edited) with Ezra Klein or Krista Tippett. Those two draw things out of people they aren’t saying everywhere else. Good for non-fiction.
I’ve come to books via Austin Kleon’s blog, or newsletter interviews. I wouldn’t go to a live book tour as I know them.