What To Do (or Not) On A Book Tour, Part 1

In an ideal world, with a book about to come out, you think you’d do all sorts of healthy things in preparation: get lots of sleeps, go to the gym to lose those five pounds, maybe get a manicure for those ragged nails you’ve been chewing as you wait for the reviews to roll in. 

Or you could make sure your immune system is completely shot, your sleep schedule non-existence. You could pack up your home in Monterey, CA, and send most of your worldly belongings to Amman, Jordan, live out of suitcase for a month and a half, stay with your in-laws with your toddler who despises her air mattress and wakes you up all night, your two cats singing meow-duets at 4 a.m, preferably when standing on your pillow.

Intersperse that with a manic trip to Disney World with same toddler waking up at 3 a.m and opening all the hotel room curtains, claiming the street lights are the sun and it is now time to visit Snow White. Then maybe drive from South Carolina to New York, including a stop in Raleigh just when Mother Nature makes an appearance, throwing her most delightful ice storm your way. Oh, and make sure your most troublesome cat decides to crawl through a hole in the hotel room, slipping into the fiber-glassed beyond of water pipes and dry wall, getting so lost that the hotel maintenance supervisor, after removing all of the sink paneling, tells you that the cat could be just about anywhere in the five-floor hotel. Then send your husband and daughter on to DC while you sit in that same now naked-walled Raleigh room with a can of cat food, your face in a hole flaking with insulation, and call your cat for about eight hours, until he comes out well rested enough that he will meow straight through until the next morning. 

That bad-idea trip to Disney (but yes, it was fun).

Wait a minute, aren’t you supposed to be talking about books at some point? 

Right. Exactly. You are supposed to be talking about books. Reading and rereading your book and the meticulous Questions & Answers that you filled out for your publisher in preparation for the questions you might get from kindly NPR interviewers or people sipping lattes at book stores. 

But instead you show up at your childhood home in Highland Falls, New York, strung out on sleeplessness and caffeine and toddler/cat drama. And maybe your whole family is also at your mom’s house because they love you and want to catch up with you and don’t realize you have an interview or two a day until the book release, not to mention random writing deadlines. You hope that the interviewers can’t hear all the toddler-rattle from the three cousins chasing each other each day with cardboard swords while you hide out in your mom’s bedroom and talk, very nervously, to The Fort Hood Sentinel, The Killeen Daily Herald, Rick Kleffel of The Agony Column, USA Today, PBS NEED TO KNOW, Irish America Magazine. By the time you go into New York City to do NPR’s Fresh Air, your eyes are so blood shot and your nails so chronically mutilated that an undertaker couldn’t get you looking fresh. 

But if you are really really REALLY lucky, and your editor and publicity team are made up of the finest fairy godmothers Walt could ever dream up (Marilyn Ducksworth, Mih-Ho Cha, Stephanie Sorensen, I adore you!!!), they will put you up in an incredible hotel the night before the book release, and you and your husband will suddenly have absolute quiet, no meows, no Angelina Ballerina swordfights. You might get up at 5 a.m. for an interview with NPR’s THE TAKEAWAY, but your husband gets to go on the air with you so that one is a breeze. 

Then you get to go the Penguin/Putnam offices and sign books! You think your daughter is pretty adorable but those books, stacks and stacks of a dream, Pinocchio becoming a REAL BOY, is one of the prettiest sights you will have ever seen… 

My Pinocchios!


Maybe you do another short radio gig with NPR’s Leonard Lopate with the lovely writer Lily Burana and you try not to be jealous that she looks so gorgeous, well-rested, and put together.

Siobhan Fallon and Lily Burana at WNYC-AM Studio


Then the book opening at Barnes and Noble. Whatever you do, DO NOT FORGET TO THANK THE PEOPLE WHO CAME OUT!!! Especially those incredible Penguin/Putnam folk who made your book a reality, who are sitting in the front row, smiling with such support, who have seen your book as a loose page manuscript and managed to take that mess and make a BOOK! A real BOOK! Well, don’t be an idiot, you absolutely must thank them or you will be kicking yourself for the rest of your life. (Yes, I forgot to thank the amazing people at Penguin/Putnam. Unbelievable. Please don’t let it happen to you).  

Book Release Reading, B&N Tribeca


Book Party. You should definitely have one. Especially if you have an amazing agent who will help you out in every way and then pick up more than half the tab. Best of all your parents will finally realize that this little hobby of yours that they have probably been bemoaning ever since you switched from pre-med to English Lit in college, is actually kind of cool and maybe even potentially lucrative (I said maybe, but let your parents think you are making a bundle, they will sleep better at night). You have finally given your folks something to talk about with their friends other than that cute granddaughter. Make sure you have alcohol, preferably an open bar, and invite as many people as you can. Ask your fabulous literary agent, Lorin Rees, and gorgeous editor, Amy Einhorn, to get up and say a few words about how magnificently talented you are. You will feel like a superstar and it will be one of the best nights of your life. 

While you are feeling like a superstar and remembering to thank everyone you forgot to thank at your first reading, don’t forget to thank your husband. If you don’t, someone at the party will shout out that you forgot to thank your husband and you will feel like a total jerk and have something new to kick yourself about for the rest of your life.  

Book Party (author with husband she forgot to thank).

If you are lucky, you can go to your father’s Irish pub and continue to party as if you were young. Unfortunately your child will not care that Mommy was out until 2 a.m pretending to be a super star, and she will be up at 6 a.m, eager for breakfast. And since you forgot to thank your husband at the book party, your penance is that you now have to get up with the toddler. 

Kick yourself some more.

And the official book tour hasn’t even started yet…

Category: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , 14 comments »

14 Responses to “What To Do (or Not) On A Book Tour, Part 1”

  1. Jenny Hansen

    Siobhan, this is a great post! Poor you with the early morning toddler penance…I’m sure the tour will be great.

  2. admin

    Thank you, Jenny! Kiddos love love love those early mornings…

  3. The Social Frog

    Great post and you had me laughing too!

  4. LAW

    We met at your DC reading (glad you didn’t get the pinkeye…) the story of the cat in the hotel – you win, you win. (oh that’s the contest for the worst PCS/Holiday hotel stay) The book is fantastic! and you looked very together and very chic!

    Yes, Lily always looks put together but I’m told that she isn’t always that way… she says so, but I don’t believe her either.

    Congratulations for the book. One question – when’s the next one coming out?


  5. admin

    Thank you! No pink eye for me, luckily, did you know that my roomate at AWP. writer Rebecca Rasmussen, was not so lucky?
    Next book, not sure, will be handing a draft of my new novel in to my editor soon… cross your fingers for me!

  6. Olivia Boler

    Awesome post! I am kowtowing to your blogging prowess. Oh, by the way, when you get a moment (ha!) I drafted a new story for you to read. Just, you know, whenever you’re free. 😉 (insert evil cackling laughter here)

  7. admin

    Olivia! Glad you liked the post– I am no where near the blogger that you are. And of course send story my way, how exciting!!!!

  8. Beth Lowe

    Siobhan, you are an amazing storyteller. This post is wonderful, though I know some of your experiences were definitely NOT. (I cannot imagine losing my beloved pet into the walls of a hotel…I would be beside myself!) By the way, you look beautiful in your photos, especially the ones in NYC.

  9. admin

    Thank you, Beth! My husband and I started adopting cats instead of dogs because we thought they were the ‘easy’ pet- HA. But that’s from a girl who used to have a suicidal Japanese flying fish that would leap out of its water bowl every few weeks.
    Thanks so much for reading…

  10. Linda

    YOU are comical! My niece, Kat, has a blog called Novel Discussions and she recently highlighted your new book and linked to your blog. The book sparked my interest and now that I’ve read your blog, I want to read it even more! Good Luck on the rest of your book tour and your book sales!

  11. admin

    Thank you, Linda!
    I can’t wait to check out Kat’s Novel Discussions– thanks so much for telling me about it 🙂

  12. Rana McDonald

    Hi–I just finished your beautiful and insightful book. I just wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed your writing. Ihope you write more! Thanks, Rana

  13. admin

    Thank you, Rana! I am writing more, I am working on a novel, please cross your fingers for me!!!

  14. Authors: Book tour tips, advice from other authors | Christopher's Idea

    […] What To Do (or Not) On A Book Tour, Part 1 […]

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