Thursday, 17 November 2011

#2 On the road again

There is something wrong with the notion that all roads lead to Rome and the internet is the modern day equivalent of a global highway. Many authors make the mistake of thinking they can create a website, sit back and watch the sales figures for their book tick over like the proverbial odometer of their prized Ford. (Yes, I drive a Ford, and no, I didn't get paid to mention that). Let me tell you as plainly as I can put it, it doesn't work that way. You have to get out there and shake your own tree!

2011 Tin Can Bay to Tassie Book Tour

  • Miami Marketta Arts Creative, Miami, QLD. August 12, 2011
  • Tin Can Bay Markets, Tin Can Bay, QLD. August 20, 2011
  • Eumundi Markets, Eumundi, QLD. August 31, 2011
  • Pelican Waters Shopping Village, Pelican Waters, QLD. 
    September 3, 2011
  • Cleveland Bayside Markets, Cleveland, QLD. September 11, 2011
  • Brookfield Vineyard, Margate, TAS. September 21, 2011
  • Hobart Showgrounds Market, Glenorchy, TAS. September 25, 2011
  • Docklands Sunday Market, Melbourne, VIC. October 2, 2011

In fact, I guarantee that most visitors to this website haven't just stumbled upon it by pure chance. Rather, they most likely have been directed here by myself. Take the picture below for example. Taken in September 2011 at Brookfield Vineyard in Margate, Tasmania, exactly 2,547 kilometers south of where I live. That's my name scrawled in chalk on the sign alongside the Channel Highway, the main road heading into town. I met a lot of nice people and signed plenty of books that day, by taking some time to visit a unique venue that was out of my way. The end result was a jump of almost 300 hits to my website in the week that followed my visit to Tasmania. Not bad when you consider the majority of those hits came from people interested to learn more about me, or friends, family and workmates that had been referred to my website by someone who had met me on the day. That is why I now view a book tour as such an important promotional tool for getting my books noticed. So read on as I recount the highs and lows of my 2011 Tin Can Bay to Tassie Book Tour that covered a total distance of 6,197kms in just 51 days.

Brookfield Vineyard, Margate, Tasmania

The Gold Coast and the grand opening of the Miami Marketta Arts Creative was the setting for the first stop on my 2011 Tin Can Bay to Tassie Book Tour. The venue in a disused industrial area was crammed with close to 4,000 visitors on its first night with wine and tapas, live music, and an urban coffee lounge providing a fantastic setting for an underground arts scene. I next headed north to Tin Can Bay, situated near the southern end of Fraser Island in Queensland for what is a large market held once a month in the RSL Hall and adjoining park. Returning to the bustling Eumundi Markets (pictured above - top left) twelve months after I last visited, I chose this time to visit mid-week on the popular Wednesday Market before returning home for a book signing arranged as part of the opening celebrations for the new Woolworths supermarket at the Pelican Waters Shopping Village (pictured above - top center).

Next stop was Cleveland, an easy one hour's drive from the Queensland capital of Brisbane. Cleveland was also the town that my wife Denise and I were married in some 18 years earlier, so the decision to include the picturesque Cleveland Bayside Markets (pictured above - top right) that I once frequented as a local resident was a good one. My next stop involved travelling 2,547kms south to Tasmania. The annual vacation I take my family on saw us this year spend two weeks in beautiful Hobart, and driving there and back meant travelling overnight across Bass Strait on the Spirit of Tasmania. The Brookfield Vineyard (pictured above - bottom left) in Margate is located an hour further south of Hobart. It is an eclectic venue that regularly plays hosts to musicians, comedians and in this instance a visiting author, in what was once the old IXL fruit packing warehouse. Of all the places I have visited on my book tour, this was by far the most interesting venue I have ever appeared at. I next set up at the Hobart Showground Markets (pictured above - bottom right) in Glenorchy. The huge pavilion that plays host to the second largest weekly market in Tasmania was full to capacity. It was also a great place to hide away from the cold, as outside there were hundreds more stalls filling the grounds of the Royal Hobart Showgrounds.

The return overnight voyage across Bass Strait allowed just enough time to arrive in Melbourne, Victoria and set up at the Docklands Sunday Market, right on Melbourne's waterfront. Unfortunately the city was near deserted the day after the AFL Grand Final, and crowds at the Docklands Market were well down on usual figures due to the opening day of the Royal Melbourne Show which was also being held nearby. So after packing up early, which seemed a rather disappointing way to end the tour, we drove as far as Numurkah where we stopped overnight on the 1,881km drive back to the Sunshine Coast. The book tour ended a day later after covering a total distance of 6,197kms in just 51 days.

So after now taking my books on two separate road trips, from the Sunshine Coast to Sydney in 2010 and again in 2011 only this time travelling further south to Melbourne and Tasmania, the most important strategy for the 2012 release of my next novel Last Wish of Summer will be getting on the road again. The big names in the publishing industry often make regular public appearances ahead of the release of a new book, and publishers are always keen to push a new voice in literature into the public spotlight at a writer's festival or book fair. So my question is, why aren't more authors considering the same when it comes to promoting their own work? It doesn't matter if you have self-published a cook book for the Country Women's Association, or a great mystery novel that has you mystified as to why everybody isn't reading it. A book will only stop selling when the author stops selling it. Organizing a book tour may be just what is needed to put your work in front of the public eye and introduce your book to a whole new audience.

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