I spoke, or read from my book, or did the meet-and-greet thing, at about a dozen bookstores

from Gig Harbor, Washington to South Pasadena, California. As I’ve mentioned elsewhere, these appearances didn’t help me sell very many books and they were psychically draining. But I figured if the big-name authors have to do book tours to build a buzz and sell their books (and apparently they do), then I should probably follow suit.

Booksellers often say no to first-time, indie authors because they believe (usually correctly) that they won’t make enough money in sales to justify the expense of hosting the event (advertising, extra staff, perhaps some light refreshments).

I couldn’t have set up all my appearances myself. Quatrain PR helped out, booking me into quite a few prominent bookstores. (A good PR professional not only knows which booksellers are a good fit for your book; they can also get you into venues you couldn’t crack on your own.)

Get creative …

Book club events are viable options, as are speaking opportunities that are related to your topic (your novel is about being adopted; you speak about the experience of being adopted and mention that you’ve written a novel, which you happen to have available for sale).

And remember that bookstores are not your only option for author event venues. You can also consider specialty stores, libraries, restaurants, coffee shops, community rooms, and friends’ homes. Susan Alcorn read at REI, Lisa Alpine read at a library, and I read in a lingerie shop.

Next step? Set up pre-launch communications.