Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Someone Else Says Books Ain't Dead!

In a guest blog post for Powell's, author Rebecca Skloot (The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks) is talking up the author tour, based on her own self-organized tour across the country. She references an article she wrote in PW about how her publisher, Crown, and her agent recommended against any author tour, wanting instead to invest resources in online marketing, so she took the matter into her own hands. Clearly she's been pleased with the results of this tour, which has brought her into all kinds of venues, including many independent bookstores.

Every time I walk into a store and see people filling all the chairs and lining the walls and aisles, I want to hop up and down for joy because I'm struck by two exhilarating facts: First, all those people came out to hear an author read when everyone said they wouldn't. And second, in the midst of a steady stream of stories about the death of bookstores (particularly independents), and the death of books in general, every store I've visited has a thriving community of readers devoted to keeping those stores, and the books in them, alive. As a writer who just spent almost eleven years of her life working on one book, going into those communities and hearing how much they care about books is a much needed contrast to the flood of bad news. I'm not delusional enough to believe that this means the future of publishing is all hunky dorey now, but it certainly does make me feel like reports of its demise are premature. As are reports of the book tour's demise: They won't work for every book (more on that another time), but they're certainly not dead.

This is a lovely message (as linked by Shelf Awareness) and one I'm happy to spread.

Long live the book tour, and the book!

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