When you're a debut author—and despite self-publishing a few novels in recent years, that's how the world-at-large will regard me when Eleanor is published in January—nobody's in a hurry to send you out on tour. For one thing, the world doesn't yet know you or your book, which leads to the second risk, which is that nobody will come to your events because, see, nobody knows you.
"Gone are the days," wrote Ann Patchett in This is the Story of a Happy Marriage, "of simply dropping a newly minted novelist into the ocean to see if she can swim." She also points out that there's additional logic to this idea: That when an author goes on tour, ostensibly promoting their latest work, they're really touring for the previous book, which more people will have read and therefore have interest in discussing.
However, if you visit my author page on the Penguin Random House web site, you'll see this:
See it? The little badge beside my name.
Now, of course, I'm not on tour. Eleanor isn't out until January, and I won't be jetting from Portland to San Francisco to New York to talk to crowds of strangers. "Tour" isn't quite the word. Why is it beside my name at all, then?
Because. I've got upcoming events! And when those events get listed on the publisher's site, I'm pretty sure the 'On Tour' light flickers on. Run out of events, the light probably flickers off again. But right now, I have events. Several of them, actually! Which I'm both very excited and very nervous about. Excited because I've been approached a few times recently about my upcoming book, and asked if I'd like to talk about it. (Yes, of course, yes.) Nervous because though I've pitched and presented work to crowds of people for years in my career as a creative director, I've very rarely had to stand in front of crowds to talk solely about myself, or something I've made that isn't a web site or an app or a social media marketing campaign.
I think they'll all go great, though. When a novel takes as long as Eleanor did, you naturally have a few stories about your misadventures writing it.
In late November I'll be signing books and meeting readers at Authorfest, an annual event at Powell's Books (the Cedar Hills location). I was here last year, and it's terrific fun. Last year I had copies of the original, self-published edition of Eleanor to sell and sign. This year, though, I'll have a stack of advance copies of the upcoming edition, along with a bunch of other goodies.
Eleanor's publication day is January 12 around the country. On January 14, I'll be at Powell's Books (the main location, in downtown Portland) to talk about the novel, read a bit, answer questions, sign books. This is the big one, the celebration for the book's release. I'll probably be inviting everyone I know, regardless of where they live.
Later in January, on the 24th, I'll be in Lincoln City, on the Oregon coast, to talk with readers at the Driftwood Public Library. This is part of the Oregon Legacy Writers Series, a long-running annual event that lasts all January long and features several authors, one each weekend.
In March I'll participate in the Pacific Northwest Reading Series, held quarterly by the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America. The event occurs on two separate nights, first in Seattle, then in Portland. I'll be reading from Eleanor alongside authors Fran Wilde and Susan Forest, who will be reading from their latest works.
In April I'll be here in Portland, participating in the brand new Plonk Reading Series. The event takes place at the Corkscrew Wine Bar. I will of course be reading from Eleanor alongside another author, as yet to be named.
And later in April I'll be at an Educator's Appreciation Night hosted by Barnes & Noble in Vancouver, Washington. Not many details about this one yet, though I suspect it's probably closed to the public, being, you know, an appreciation event for teachers and such.
Lots going on, and the book isn't even out yet. I don't think I've ever had more than two or three events scheduled at a time, so this is a really exciting change of pace. If you're in Oregon or Washington and you'd like to come out, I'd love to meet you and say hello. You can see all of the events here, and RSVP for individual ones on Facebook.
Anyway. Not exactly on tour, but completely giddy about all of this. I really can't wait.