THE TRIP TO MICHIGAN WAS GREAT! I OUTSOLD MY BOOKS (again, even though I ordered three times as many!) The people were delightful, so very friendly and helpful. I was given honey from someone who keeps bees, thimbleberry jam—the fruit grown only in Upper Michigan and Maine, a mug from Finlandia University, when I signed at their bookstore. But the gift of friendship was the best of all.
I would advise any writers to do a book tour in the location in which your story takes place. It makes all the difference. As I’ve said before, this was the 100th anniversary of the 1913 copper miners’ strike and the Italian Hall Tragedy. I built my historical novel around those events, following a family divided in their loyalties between Management and Labor. My book sold well.
When I add up my expenses for the trip—-well, I can’t say I came out ahead. But it was worth it. For the ego—a spread and picture in the newspaper, a radio interview, an online newspaper feature article, and the sales. But the best was the people. I almost think it would be worth living in that icy climate just to have so many ‘real’ people around.
The other advice I have for writers is to keep your books short. In self-publishing, a fifteen dollar book of 400 pages costs the author half of that including shipping, and a bookstore like Book Passage takes the other half. Most stores take forty percent. So I am making a little money on DRIVEN TO RAGE with stores, where I didn’t with MOTHER LODE.
Anyway, it was a good trip, very validating to me as a writer. If you are one, put yourself out there and see what happens.