Figuring out how to tour a book in the lockdown age is hard. Many authors have opted to do a handful of essentially identical events with a couple of stores as a way of spreading out the times so that readers with different work-schedules, etc can make it.
But not me. My next novel, Attack Surface (the third Little Brother book) comes out in the US/Canada on Oct 13 and it touches on so many burning contemporary issues that I rounded up 16 guests for 8 different themed “Attack Surface Lectures.”
This has many advantages: it allows me to really explore a wide variety of subjects without trying to cram them all into a single event and it allows me to spread out the love to eight fantastic booksellers.
Half of those bookstores (the ones WITH asterices in the listing) have opted to have ME fulfil their orders, meaning that Tor is shipping me all their copies, and I’m going to sign, personalize and mail them from home the day after each event!
(The other half will be sending out books with adhesive-backed bookplates I’ve signed for them)
All of that is obviously really cool, but there is a huge fly in the ointment: given that all these events are different, what if you want to attend more than one?
This is where things get broken. Each of these booksellers is under severe strain from the pandemic (and the whole sector was under severe strain even before the pandemic), and they’re allocating resources – payrolled staff – to after-hours events that cost them real money.
So each of them has a “you have to buy a book to attend” policy. These were pretty common in pre-pandemic times, too, because so many attendees showed up at indie stores that were being destroyed by Amazon, having bought the books on Amazon.
What’s more, booksellers with in-person events at least got the possibility that attendees would buy another book while in the store, and/or that people would discover their store through the event and come back – stuff that’s not gonna happen with virtual events.
There is, frankly, no good answer to this: no one in the chain has the resources to create and deploy a season’s pass system (let alone agree on how the money from it should be divided among booksellers) – and no reader has any use for 8 (or even 2!) copies of the book.
It was my stupid mistake, as I explain here.
After I posted, several readers suggested one small way I could make this better: let readers who want to attend more than one event donate their extra copies to schools, libraries and other institutions.
Which I am now doing. If you WANT to attend more than one event and you are seeking to gift a copy to an institution, I have a list for you! It’s beneath this explanatory text.
And if you are affiliated with an institution and you want to put yourself on this list, please complete this form.
If you want to attend more than one event and you want to donate your copy of the book to one of these organizations, choose one from the list and fill its name in on the ticket-purchase page, then email me so I can cross it off the list: firstname.lastname@example.org.
I know this isn’t great, and I apologize. We’re all figuring out this book-launch-in-a-pandemic business here, and it was really my mistake. I can’t promise I won’t make different mistakes if I have to do another virtual tour, but I can promise I won’t make this one again.
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