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My So-Called Book Tour

Come Along for the Ride

Photo by Michele McDonald
Welcome to my So-Called Book Tour, a blog that will share the trials, tribulations, and most important, the stories of folks I encounter along the way as I promote my new book, With a Little Help from Our Friends—Creating Community as We Grow Older.

Over the years, as I’ve worked on my books, I’ve chanced upon other authors’ musings about their own book tours. They always sigh about the anonymous chill of endless nights in motel rooms. Drinking coffee out of Styrofoam cups. Having to talk to lines of strangers at book signings. ALL PAID FOR AND ARRANGED BY THEIR PUBLISHERS. Woe is me.

Just now, I googled “book tour” and learned that Lena Denham’s book tour is a “hot ticket” that has nearly sold out (sold out? People pay to see authors??), three months before the tour begins. Denham, who received a cool $3.5 million advance (I hope you’re reading this Vanderbilt University Press), promises “oodles of special guests” on her tour.

But I digress. My book tour will be none of the above. It will involve my husband and me and our little dog Ivy putting 7,000 miles or so on our new van, no doubt selling dozens of books along the way—maybe making enough to even pay for one tank of gas! (It’s a big tank.)

My last so-called book tour was in 2007, when Old Age in a New Age—The Promise of Transformative Nursing Homes came out. I’m sure you read it. Books on nursing homes always sell like hotcakes. My first stop on that tour was at a bookstore in Oberlin, Ohio. I ended up there when a wonderful Quaker retirement community I wrote about, Kendal of Oberlin, informed me rather belatedly that I could not sell books at the event I was doing there. Policy and all that. But they’d be happy to buy one for their library (thus obviating the need for residents to actually buy one for themselves) and to help me arrange a local bookstore event. Of course a lefty college bookstore is the ideal venue for a book on nursing homes. What could possible go wrong?

The “event” went like this: I arrived at the bookstore at noon. A small empty table and a box of my books awaited me. I don’t see how this could be true, but in my mind’s eye, the employees fled for lunch, leaving me alone there. Really alone. Eventually someone came in. Hope springs eternal in the heart of an author, and I looked beseechingly at this woman, much like a panhandler seeks to make eye contact with you as you hurry by. Then she approached! She proceeded to ask me where some other author’s book was. That was about it as far as customer contact. Later that day I went to a local radio station, a small cement block building in a cornfield that played country music. The host had not actually read my book, but he was a nice guy, and I nervously answered a couple questions in between commercial breaks and the weather and the price of hog bellies.

This time will be different. For one, I’ll have the reinforcement of Husband and Dog to boost my morale. For another, every event is being organized by old pals of mine or by new-found pals whom I interviewed for my book—thus a living testimony to the title of my book—that’s With a Little Help from Our Friends, in case you missed it the first time.

I’ll be blogging along the way, and you’ll have the chance to see behind the scenes the glamorous life of a published author. Even better, you’ll meet people at all sorts of interesting places, like Escapees CARE, a place for full-time RVers, too frail to hit the road anymore, who have settled down in Livingston, Texas with their RV comrades—the director calls it Assisted Living Lite. Or NoHo (as in North Hollywood) Senior Arts Colony, where I’ll be interviewed Before a Live Audience by visionary founder Tim Carpenter, for broadcast on his radio show “Experience Talks.” And of course even a couple of bookstores.

So I hope you’ll come along for the ride, email me your encouragement, and share your stories of creating community. If you want to know if I’ll be at a town near you, check the Events page of this website. Hope to see you on the road.

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