September 10, 2012

The non-romantic reality of a book tour

Filed under: Books, Business, Media — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 07:54

Poor Charles Stross has experienced one-too-many book tours. It’s so not conducive to anything like comfort or a normal life:

A book signing tour sounds romantic, but actually it’s not. It’s like one of those cheap package holidays in which you get to tour South America or Europe in seven days. Each day you have to get out of bed at dawn or earlier and head to the airport for another cavity search and economy-class ticket to a new city. When you arrive, a new guide meets you in, shovels you into their car, and then takes you on a whistle-stop tour of sights of the city. (On a tourist tour, it’s museums or monuments; on a signing tour, it’s bookstores, where you render the stock non-returnable by defacing it with your signature.) You might be allowed to dump your bag in a hotel room if timing permits. The hotel room will be luxurious and expensive and you will spend so little time awake in it that it seems like a cruel joke, because your time will be programmed so tightly you barely have a chance to eat. It is possible that you will be dragged in front of microphones or cameras to answer confused or confusing questions by journalists who haven’t read your book; then, each evening, you will show up at a bookstore where hopefully there will be an audience who will listen to you deliver a canned speech and/or reading and then buy books which you will then sign. And you will have to be nice to everybody, on pain of potentially not getting another tour (which might sound like a blessing in disguise until you work out what’s going to happen to your income thereafter). Finally, your head hits the pillow around 11pm — don’t forget to check in for tomorrow’s exciting anal probe and air-sickness theme-park ride! — for as much as five or six hours’ sleep.

But then, the nightmare thought: a book tour reality TV show

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