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Thursday, July 3, 2014

Can Authors Really Go Home Again?

I had an interesting conversation with a group of authors recently that made me wonder if authors are more appreciated outside their home towns.

The authors were speaking of physical book tours in which they take to the road and have appearances at book stores, libraries and special events. They found it far easier to book personal appearances in geographic locations that were far removed from where they live.

I encountered this same phenomenon when I moved from Virginia to North Carolina. I had been able to schedule appearances throughout all of Virginia, but when I moved to North Carolina I found - and still find - that book stores are completely closed to me. Not one to continue beating on closed doors, I leapfrogged North Carolina and covered the rest of the country, making appearances from Virginia to California. I often have standing-room-only crowds and I sell quite a number of books everywhere except in North Carolina.

Why do you think that happens?

I found out that my experience was the norm. The authors I spoke with said they rarely if ever make appearances near the place they live. They, like me, were also able to appear on television shows, radio and in magazines outside their own areas.

I admit that ten years ago, this bothered me but it doesn't anymore. I honestly don't give it a second thought that I'll need to travel a few hours before my first book tour stop. I know when I get there, people will be waiting for me.

Suppose you had the opportunity to visit your local book store to see an author who lives locally, versus one who is traveling through from a thousand miles away. Who would you likely be more interested in, and why?