It does not matter if a writer's work is delicate or deep or inventive or learned or crass. With thousands of books published each week, authors are begging for a signing in a prestigious store, no less a radio interview or a feature newspaper article.
What do I take home from my week in the UK, talking about something as simple and valuable as the new science of female arousal and orgasm? It seems that female sexuality is still such a difficult and contested issue even to think about in mainstream media spaces.
At first, when you're on tour, it's surprising, then tiring -- but eventually it's funny, and sometimes even offers you material for your next book. All the comments on this list have been offered to me or author friends of mine.
When you're a brand-new author with a book just out, you tend to be pathologically focused -- on reviews, media and interviews and why you're not getting more reviews, media and interviews. I was in exactly this place when I showed up to read.
On the face of the matter, my decision to barnstorm the independent bookstores of America from border to border and coast to coast when I was supposed to be resting up from debilitating radiation treatments doesn't make a particle of sense.
I'm reading from my memoir My Germany in German and English, and the tour is going well, with enthusiastic audiences. But there's also an inner tour I'm on, one that has five stages I am very familiar with. I think other authors will recognize them.
There's a special treat for me as a reviewer when an author contacts me via Facebook, email -- or in the old days by mail -- to thank me. I don't expect it, and don't write for an author's approval, both of which make it more fun.
As I prepare to embark upon that perilous -- and perilously rare -- adventure called the "book tour," I think it behooves us both to be reminded of our obligation to one another. Herewith, I propose these simple rules for governing our behavior.
Any author whose publisher sends him or her on a book tour these days is lucky, seriously lucky. And you pay for that luck with sleep deprivation, airport security lines, and often a reading with only one person in attendance who is usually homeless or mentally ill.
The authors you see in the newspaper everyday who garner critical acclaim and you feel have changed your life... most of them are not wealthy snobs, and they need encouragement to keep going. They are modest and overwhelmed.
When she wasn't giggling, she talked in a rapid-fire, sing-song register. And her voice -- her voice carried a slight raspy edge. We constantly whispered in each other's ears and wrote notes to each other in the middle of class.