I wasn't sure if I was going to post this or not, but a good friend of mine said I should because it's good to have opposing views.
Author John Scalzi is ridiculously famous, and he recently wrote a piece on what it's like doing book tours. It's a great article, and you should check it out here first before you continue:
10 things you don't know about authors on book tours
I love Scalzi, and I think he's a great author but let me write the "unknown author's" version of this about appearances:
You will be surprised at how quiet a bookstore can be when you host a book reading. Abnormally quiet in fact. The kind of silence that could devour your brain. When someone shows up to ask you if you know where the new Scalzi book is, you'll beg them for just five minutes of conversation.
You don't have a handler.
In fact, no one cares about you whatsoever. It doesn't matter if you're hungry or thirsty. One night I stole someone's beef jerky because I couldn't afford any protein to go with my soup.
It's a grind.
Writing books, editing, not finding a readership, contemplating suicide, waking up in the morning, watching your hairline recede. It's all a grind.
You have to be "out"
Of your fucking mind to want this life. Everyone else is more successful than you, but still, you're trying to write because, well you don't have a good reason. Sanitation workers make more money than you do.
Many authors are also working while they tour.
That's probably true, but they aren't you or I. I couldn't get a book tour if I won the lottery tomorrow. I'll keep writing though, mostly because I'm out of my mind. (See above.)
The author is worried no one will show up.
That's true but, that's what happens all the time. So, it's not so much of a worry anymore as it is a living nightmare that never ends.
Your author is coated in hand sanitizer.
I guess maybe Scalzi is. I'd coat myself in hot Cheetos and dance through Times Square if it earned me more readers.
We like that you want to give us gifts but...
No! NO! GIVE ME GIFTS! Are you kidding? I'll take a fucking piece of gum! My bones are brittle from eating so much ramen. If you gave me a pinecone, I would love that pinecone. I would cherish that pinecone. I would say, "Thank you for my pinecone. This is the best pinecone ever!" I might even eat that pinecone because I haven't got a nickel for another packet of ramen but, that would still be my favorite pinecone.
We're probably not going to hang out with you outside of the event.
I would. I would enjoy golfing with you or drinking with you if you bought my book. If you told me you were on a quest to become a vampire, I'd go searching for vampires with you. No fucks are given here.
We are really going to make it work to make it worth your while to come see us.
That's true for all authors big and small. Just some of us don't have the marketing power of the Big 5 behind us, but GOD DAMNED will I make an effort to entertain folks if they decide to show up at my events. I can read a book while juggling and walking on a 3-foot high wooden ball like a bear at an olde timey circus. I'm not kidding, I can do this, and I would do this if it sold me books!
So, while it's great that big authors get this kind of support and Jon Scalzi HAS done a ton for the community, and he's donated a lot of money to charity, if you find yourself at a local bookstore, don't forget to support some of us little guys too.