You learn something every day. I have recently found that unless you're already a wealthy best seller writer, your publisher doesn't pay for promotional tours - you do!
Is it just me or isn't this a tad counter-intuitive?
I mean, if an author sells thousands of books, the publishers benefit, right? An author who's willing to travel, stare glass-eyed at every fan as they answer the minutae of their characters life which the fan is sure they're the ones right, to get RSI from signing books (even the ones fans haven't purchased then but dragged along with them) is worth supporting, aren't they?
An approachable author is a popular one and again, this increases sales. Each event is - in effect - an advert for the titles and the publisher. So why do publishers demand that this advertising is free? They benefit if the author flourishes so why shouldn't they at least pay for travel expenses? When the senior directors get the firm to fund their little jaunts to conferences, seminars and holidays ... er ... fact-finding missions, I'm sure it ends up costing more than sending one author tourist-class to another country.
But they don't and popular authors that deserve more exposure than on t'internet are left to fund their own book tours which, I must stress, aren't tourist holidays - it's work.
I declare my interest:
One of my favourite authors, Jeri Westerson, has just released her fifth novel Blood Lance. I've reviewed it on Amazon, I've reviewed it on Goodreads ... but I still feel I can do more. Jeri usually tours around California - her publishers refuse to back her to do more. Not even in different states!
Now in her Medieval Noir series her protagonist Crispin Guest walks the dangerous streets of medieval London - well written with humour, pace and depth, Crispin could do with more coverage in his "home" town. But the above situation stands - if they won't let Jeri tour the US her publishers certainly won't foot the bill even for a short signing tour of London!
I think this is disgraceful.
I've decided to get the ball rolling and get Jeri over here - if only so I can swap taste notes on mead. Before anyone wonders at my qualifications for such a task, I'd like to point out that once I helped organise a major role-playing games club including national branches and a major convention. Let me tell you, organising RPG'ers is like herding cats!
After years of reviewing and publishing articles and books, I think I can get a line on what makes a business tick: after all, I'm a partner in a small firm myself. I'm also it's book-keeper/accountant; I know what costs and where it can be offset.
Finally, I'm so confident in the quality of Jeri's writing - her product, if you will - that I think my time and effort will be well-spent.
Hell, if I wasn't as poor as a Dickensian hero sent to the Fleet for his debts, I'd foot the bill myself!
So - please heed this bugle-call!
I'd like suggestions along the lines of who might be interested in sponsoring her a short tour in the UK. I'm looking at July 2013 to culminate at the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival in Harrogate (and yes, I'm approaching the organisers with respect). A short stop in London - say a book signing and publicity photos at The Clink or The London Dungeons - but possibly a short trip to Bristol (a major port in medieval times) and either Nottingham or possibly York.
I'm looking at no open cheque - this will be flights to/from the UK, accomodation, travel within the UK and some expenses. This is no "pot" which money gets put into and drawn out - we're looking at accountable figures, with one firm picking up the travel tab, another the accomodation and so on. What do they get out of it? Publicity. Lots of lovely publicity! I can even interest some medieval re-creation types in staging displays at said events.
So, how about it?
Blood Lance on Amazon