Missing the Book Tour Blues

I’m just gonna come out and say it. I miss book tour. I also miss having my hair professionally cut and colored and the glory that is a salon mani-pedi. Hey—I’m out here walking around looking like a hedgehog. Also? My nails look like I’ve been digging rutabagas.

 Yes, I’m aware that this is a first world problem. The good news is that my family and I are healthy, and I hope all of you are too. We’ve been in lockdown going on eight weeks, and we’re going stir-crazy, but I get that we are incredibly privileged. We have a home, enough food, and DisneyPlus. We’re keeping busy.

That said, mastering sourdough bread, labeling ALL THE SPICES in my house with a label-maker and Marie Kondo-ing the s**t out of my medicine cabinet just doesn’t cut it.

I’m still pining for book tour in this time of pandemic. My new novel, HELLO, SUMMER, comes out today, and the thing I look forward to the most—meeting all of you, hugging you, hearing your stories—just isn’t possible this year.

Instead, I’ll be greeting you live, in person, from home, with a series of virtual appearances. Tour stops include the living room, porch, and master bedroom. Assuming, of course, that my camera crew—aka my daughter Katie, finishes homeschooling my grandchildren in time. Fingers crossed that the tech gods are smiling and the Zoom, Facebook Live and IGTV links are all working. And that the dog doesn’t spot another dog walking past our house.

One of the things I’m missing the most is the cancellation of my annual launch party, where we kick up our heels with hundreds of fans, and officially kick off the publication of the new book.

Those fans, those readers, some of whom drive from hundreds of miles away to be there for the launch and the signings that follow? The ones who bring their moms, their bffs, their whole book club? The ones who show up on their honeymoon? (Yes, that happened.) They’re the reason I write. My books are regarded as “light” summer reads, but believe me, there is nothing light about my writing process. Writing is lonely, sometimes agonizing work. It is lima beans. Book tour is, by comparison, chocolate mousse with raspberry coulis.

In May 2020, the year of the pandemic, we’re moving the party online with a Virtual Book Tour. I’ll wear makeup and earrings for the first time in weeks—but, yes, just like all of you who are “zooming” from home, it may be “party up top” with a cute top and scarf, and pajama bottoms and flip-flops down below.

I hope you’ll join me for any of these events, and if not, I’d love it if you’d buy your book from any of the fabulous indie booksellers around the country who are such a vital part of their community—and who need our support now, more than ever.

There’ll be lots of virtual events throughout May, including a Cinco de Mayo launch day zoom happy hour (5/5 @5pm) with our friends at Foxtale Book Shoppe. Strictly Bring Your Own Margarita, of course. Will it be the same as an in-store book signing? Or that luncheon or library event we’d originally planned? Maybe not. But look at it this way. It’s safer, for sure, and an online event has definitely gotta be waaaaay more fun than sorting out your sock drawer. And this one time, you won’t need a mask or hand sanitizer.