Though many authors don’t have the budget to embark on a national tour, most of us, travel for pleasure at least once or twice throughout the year. Whether you’re visiting family at the holidays or taking the kids on a summer road trip, here are a few easy ways to turn every trip into a business trip.
Visit area bookstores. No matter where you go, you can usually find at least one bookstore. Be sure to stop by, introduce yourself as an author, and offer to sign whatever stock they have on hand. If they don’t have your books in stock, don’t get offended. Just chit chat about the publishing industry, the store’s clientele, even the local sports teams. Anything to create a relationship and make yourself memorable.
Contact the local media. Depending on your personal ties to the city your visiting, being a guest on the local radio station can often be a long shot. But in media markets where they don’t have a lot of “celebrities,” it may be possible to book yourself as a guest on the local TV news program or radio show. Simply contact the producer, introduce yourself as an author, and let them know you’d love to come on as a guest while you’re in town. Contact them about 4 weeks in advance to ensure the schedule isn’t full and to give the producers enough time to review your materials.
Meet with the local book bloggers. By now, you’ve probably cultivated relationships with at least a dozen bloggers. While your relationship was built online, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t meet face to face. Whenever I travel to a city, I always look through my virtual Rolodex and see which bloggers are in the area. More often than not, they’re happy to meet for lunch or a cup of coffee.
Research. As writers, everything you do is research. Whether you’re touring historical landmarks or driving through the Rockies, everything is fodder for an upcoming novel. When you visit a new place, don’t forget to take it all in and experience the sights. You never know when inspiration will strike.