Let's face it, book tours are weird and (sometimes) boring. On the Awl, nine authors and publicists talked about the best and the worst of the requisite book tour. Their consensus: there's something wrong with the whole setup. So step aside, dudes and dudettes. I'm not like regular authors. This is what I would do if I was on a book tour.
If I was on a book tour, I would wear the same sophisticated, refined Yves St. Laurent suit to every reading. The same way I wear my Clockwork Orange costume for Halloween every year. (I probably wouldn’t stuff a sock down my pants for a book reading, though.)
If I was on a book tour, I would only read the parts of my book with sex orhigh-speed car chases. Anybody can think about philosophical problems on their own. Sex and high-speed car chases, however, are best enjoyed ascommunal experiences. Also, one of my friends got lucky at a Literary Death Match event (probably one that Black Balloon publisher Elizabeth Koch ran, although she's not telling). All it took was a smile, a few literary allusions, and a round of vodka and Red Bull. That’s got to be a good sign.
If I was on a book tour, I would interrupt discussions about my work to dish out Dear Sugar-style advice to the audience:
“Mr. Author, my marriage isn’t going so great. I’m reading your books like my wife told me to so that we have something to talk about when I come home from work. I don’t think it’s working. What should I do?”
“Have you tried stuffing a sock down your pants?”
If I was on a book tour, I would drink a Tom Collins before I got in front of the audience (for the stage fright), and then I’d leave right after the signing for the nearest dive bar (for the non-stage fright). This one time, I met a bartender who was reading Ulysses when he wasn’t pouring shots. He was in the middle of Molly Bloom’s soliloquy, and managed to concoct an industrial-grade mojito while reading aloud her words—“What do they find to gabber about all night squandering money and getting drunker and drunker couldnt they drink water”—and laughing the whole way through.
If I was on a book tour, I would bribe my friends to come and be extremely attractive backup readers. They wouldn’t actually read though. They’d just stand around, being wonderful supportive friends. I’d tell them, “You can just stand up in front with me while I read about sex and high-speed car chases. You’ll probably get laid."
Come to think of it, maybe I'd stuff a sock down my pants after all. You never know what the audience is really there for.
image credit: leedsfestival.com. I would probably have a classier outfit.