Is the life of an author like what you see on the movies and read about in celebrity magazines? What really goes on behind the scenes of a book tour and how much does a small (aspiring to be big) time author really make?
I’m going to take you behind the scenes of my recent (and still ongoing) book tour for Find Your Creative Mojo and share a few of the sordid details and some of what you don’t see on social media.
The poster boy
I’d always dreamed of doing a book tour like those big authors or bands and having a faded old poster stuck up on a laneway brick wall with all the tour dates. Yeah it was a bit of a rock and roll dream, but why the hell not? The band I started when I was 13 only played 2 gigs in my lounge room and then we decided we were dreadful, so we broke up. I had to for-full the rock and roll dream somehow. I designed the posters myself using the professional photos that I had taken by amazing photographer, Jon Gellweiler. He made me look more rock and roll than I ever could.
Unfortunately I didn’t make it to a laneway, but instead found myself on a bookshop pin up board and the men’s toilets next to a promo for Pizza night at The Firestation Bar in Busselton.
The hit list
I created a hit list of bookshops who’d previously supported me along with libraries and other places so I could do the companion “Find Your Creative Mojo” author talk. As most people know, I love to talk. I then roped in my partner Andy Macleod and Allison Patterson from Big Sky Publishing to help get the word out there with a flurry of emails and phone calls. It sounds better when you’ve got else someone saying ‘Hi, I’m representing award winning author Josh Langley and wondering if you’d be interested in…” than me ringing them and saying, ‘Um Hi, um, I’ve written a book and um, I’d like to .. um err..’.
Boffins Books in Perth kindly declined an offer for a book signing, however I was over the moon, when Dymocks at the Galleria Morley said yes. I’d made the big time! I was going to the big smoke!
The Media Hustle.
It’s lucky that I’ve worked in radio and have lots of contacts, so I worked my little black book and wrangled interviews on ABC South West, Triple M Breakfast South West, Spirit 621, ECU radio, 1080 6IX and 882 6PR. I got newspaper coverage in The South Western Times, The Preston Press, and The Collie Mail and I was featured on internet based interview show Two Skinny Lattes. I had 3 haircuts, bought a new black T shirt and practiced my spiel over and over. You never get used to being on show, it’s one awesome hell of an adrenalin rush.
The social media freakout.
My normal anxiety about posting on social media went through the roof, having to now balance letting people know what was going on while not boring them to death with constant images of the book, the book on bookshops shelves, me holding the book, other people holding the book, the book on coffee tables and the book in another number of positions. Balance, balance, balance!
The final line up included.
- Launch at Mojos Bunbury with Collins Booksellers Bunbury
- Author Talk at Greenbushes CRC
- Book Signing at Dymocks Galleria Morley
- Books in Bars event at The Firestation, run by Dymocks Busselton.
- Author Talk at Capel Library
- Appearance at Collie Show*
- Victoria Street Artisan Fayre* (Dec 1)
- Book signing at Samsara World in Clarkson (Dec 8)
- Workshop at Bunbury Summer School (Jan 11)
- Author Talk at Margaret River Library. (April 4)
*not exclusive Mojo events
Did anyone come?
Yes. Thank god. Some events had lots of people, like my talk at Capel Library and others a handful. The feedback from the Capel Library talk was awesome and from that event I was booked to be a quest speaker at Capel Men’s Night.
“Thought your presentation last night was excellent.” – Pat Taylor
“My daughter, Caity, and I attended your presentation at the Capel Library last night – which was fantastic, we both thoroughly enjoyed it!” – Meg
“Josh is an inspirational speaker and a wonderful writer – we loved having him at our library event…will definitely book him again” – Karen (Capel Libraries)
What have I learned?
Stories engage people and stories sell books. When I was able to tell stories about either the Mojo book or the kid’s books and how they’ve changed lives, it directly resulted in a sale. I sold 30 books at the Capel Library event alone. If it’s just me sitting outside a book shop signing books, then you can only rely on family and friends to save you from looking lonely and pathetic. While I won’t turn down book signings in future, I’ll concentrate on finding ways I can tell stories of the books and inspiring people, as that’s why I wrote them in the first place. And as people know, I love telling stories.
Most awkward Moment?
Even though it was awkward, it was still quite fun, but realising I’d have to shout at the Books In Bars event, as there was a 40th birthday celebration right next to me. In fact the whole night was a great learning experience. Not only did I have to shout, I had to deliver my talk with a bunch of nonpaying randoms ogling on, I was also positioned right next to the toilets so I had every Tom, Dick and Harry pushing past, wondering what the hell I was doing shouting at them. Every experience is there to make your a better person!
Even though it wasn’t part of the official tour as I was booked to do kid’s talks, the other awkward moment was sitting in a nearly empty hall at the least fun end of the Collie Ag Show. No fairy floss or bumper cars in the old Badminton Hall. The closest I got to a crowd was the bunch of older people rushing the stage as gardening guru Sabrina Hahn started to talk. Afterwards she was kind enough to have a photo taken and consoled me by saying that at least my kind of audience didn’t fall into a medicated induced afternoon nap complete with snoring and drooling.
Most ‘Yay’ moment.
There were two. One being the great turnout and feedback from the Capel Library Event. Secondly, meeting all my readers and making new ones. Also catching up with long lost friends and people that came from far and wide. Without people to read my books, I’d just be a writer, not an author. So thank you.
How much did I earn?
I still have to write radio commercials and run our business.
I want to say thank you for the people that booked me and hosted an event, I’m ever so grateful, to the people that came to say Hi and buy a book – I love you! And finally to my partner Andy for being my hired help, bouncer, cheer leader, ideas person, counsellor, best friend and future husband.
FIND YOUR CREATIVE MOJO IS AVAILABLE AT ALL GOOD BOOKSTORES.
AUSTRALIAN Online sellers.
INTERNATIONAL (free delivery)
AVAILABLE AT ALL GOOD BOOKSTORES.
AUSTRALIAN Online sellers.
INTERNATIONAL (free delivery)