If you want to sell your book, you have to promote it. But, it seems, the author's tour may be a thing of the past.
Ian McEwan is doing a tour of the US to promote his latest book On Chesil Beach. Only ... he's not going to be there himself.
Bob Thompson in the Washington Post reports that independent booksellers Powell's Books has come up with the idea of making a high-grade film (part of which is viewable with the article) of the author reading from and talking about his book, and of building events around that. McEwan's film will be shown at 54 other screenings around the country, mainly, but not exclusively in bookstores, with discussion being lead in some cases by other local novelists.
Wouldn't it be great if McEwan's film, and other author films when they are made, could be shown in bookshops here? We are so starved for author visits, and Malaysia is an awful long way to fly someone to read to us.
Another way for an author to appear without actually appearing is, of course, by video link. We enjoyed a run of those at the British Council a couple of years back when a tiny group of hardened bibliophiles were able to interact with Toby Litt, Beryl Bainbridge and David Lodge.
And nowadays an author can even sign books from half a world away by using the LongPen - (something I thought was a hilarious joke when Margaret Atwood came up with the idea!)
Which is how Norman Mailer (incapacitated by "age, asthma and athritis") will be appearing ... but not appearing ... at the Edinburgh Festival this year and signing books for his fans. And Atwood will be interviewing (again by video link) legendary Canadian short story writer Joyce Carol Oates who will also sign books.
In fact a whole list of famous authors have used the LongPen saving (as the promotional website for the device reminds us) over 30 million tons of carbon emissions!