Jess Lourey, for those of you not familiar with her work, is the author of the humorous soft-boiled cozy Murder by the Month series, must read books for anyone who appreciates good plotting, solid writing with laugh out loud humor, and engaging, likable and believable protagonists. I read August Moon on the plane back from Left Coast Crime (where Jess and I first met, bonding like two kids at summer camp) and no doubt disturbed my neighbors with my bursts of laughter and unashamed snorting at some of the lines. I sounded like a very happy warthog.
This past May, Jess and I went on a pacifistic Thelma and Louise type Northwest Coast tour in May from San Francisco up to Seattle and had a blast together. They say you don't really know someone until you travel with them; if this is the case, Jess and I should probably just get married because there wasn't one moment of friction between us during what was a very grueling schedule, with long hours spent in the car driving from bookstore to bookstore. When she left to go back home to Minnesota, I was as bereft as anyone who'd made a new bestest friend as a kid, only to have them move away.
Thank goodness for email!
So without further ado, presenting Jess Lourey!
When May Day , the first book in my humorous Murder-by-Month series, was released in March of 2006, I was a signing whore. I hunted down book clubs and asked to be their guest speaker. I set up signings at every bookstore, library, and lemonade stand within 500 miles. I tapped my bank account flying myself to conferences all over the U.S. for the chance to be on the Sunday 12:30 panel, where they stick all new authors. And it was heady. And exhausting. And expensive.
Along came June Bug and I expanded my signings to hit the states around me. Same with Knee High by the Fourth of July, plus I promised myself I’d attend any event that I was asked to because I was so grateful to be asked. For August Moon I even flew myself to the west coast for a book tour with the brilliant Dana Fredsti from San Francisco to Seattle. It was wonderful. And exhausting. And expensive.
September Mourn comes out fall 2009, and I can’t do it all again, not the same way. First, the cost of gas makes that amount of driving prohibitive. Second, I’m not sure that all these sparsely-attended events are building my readership in any significant way. And third, and most importantly, signings and other speaking engagements take time away from my writing and my two young children.
So I need your advice. How do I set up my tour schedule for September Mourn? Do I jump at any offer given to me, from the hospital reading group two hours away to the English teacher’s conference on the other side of the state? Do I only take engagements within a certain driving distance, or if I’m reimbursed, or that are set up to coincide with other events so there will be a sure crowd? And for all you readers out there, how much does it mean to you to meet authors (we’re sort of a boring bunch overall)? Have you ever gone to a signing by an author you didn’t already enjoy, or pick up a book that you otherwise wouldn’t have because the author was sitting at a table in front of the store?