How These Authors Took the Bull By the Horns (and How You Can, Too)

Photo: Angela Mann, Kepler's

I came across an interesting read on this week. It’s about four YA authors who got together and organized their own book tour.

Here’s a summary of the article:

  • The touring authors – Martha Brockenbrough (Devine Intervention, Scholastic/Levine), Sean Beaudoin (The Infects, Candlewick), Kevin Emerson (The Lost Code, HarperCollins/Tegen), and Cat Patrick (Revived, Little, Brown) – are friends who met through the Seattle writing community.
  • The “You Are Next” tour, a nod to what the group calls “the next generation of books for the next generation of readers,” launched in January, with visits to schools and bookstores in Las Vegas, and San Francisco, and Portland, Ore.
  • To chart their itinerary, the authors brainstormed about West Coast cities they’d like to go to and bookstores they’d enjoyed visiting in the past. They contacted booksellers to arrange store and school visits, and circulated flyers announcing the tour.
  • The tour will next touch down in greater Los Angeles, where the quartet will make several store appearances during the week of March 25.
  • Capping off the week is a visit to Disneyland on March 30, when they will be joined by several other YA authors, plus bloggers, librarians, booksellers, and fans for a day of play.
  • At each stop on the You Are Next tour, which the authors are publicizing through its Facebook page and through their respective Twitter feeds, the authors offer a panel presentation that involves significant audience participation.
  • The authors show embarrassing photos of themselves (“including but not limited to prom photos,” she says), read from their books in voices mimicking those of celebrities, and give kids prizes if they guess correctly which “fun facts” pertain to which authors.

What a brilliant idea! These four YA authors came up with an innovative way to get their books in front of their target audience … and have fun all the while. I’m not sure who is paying for this trip — or how much the total cost will be — but this should be a model for authors everywhere.

Communicate with other authors in your genre. Think of them as idea-generators, not competitors. Together, you can think outside the box and come up with creative ideas like these four women did.