Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Spring Training for Writers

Baseball players have spring training, basketball players play exhibition games, tennis stars have warmup events. But what of the writer getting ready for the sometimes grueling demands of the book tour?

You’ve been at your computer for months. Your social skills have been reduced to “here, kitty” and “Maxie, wanna go for a walk?” and yet you’re expected to shift gears and miraculously morph into Marketing Girl!

Once you’ve updated your website, sent out a newsletter, blogged, flogged, tweeted and bleated about your book, eventually – unless you’re JD Salinger (which isn’t likely since he’s dead and probably not reading this) – you’re going to have to leave your room and talk to actual, living breathing people. Despite the proliferation of blog tours, pressing the flesh is a time-honored way of meeting readers and booksellers and generating that all important word-of-mouth.

So what am I doing to prepare for this year’s tour? Eating raw eggs and running up the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art? Wrapping my wrists and whacking my elbows for the marathon signing sessions? Calling my friendly local pharmacist to refill prescriptions? I am not.

Here’s what I’m packing.

-An HP Mini. At two and half pounds it weighs less than my pencil case (yes, I have a pencil case and favorite pencils, email me if you want to know why.) It has made airport security – if not a pleasant experience – at least a lot less irritating.

-Flash drives. These little suckers have changed my life. They’re probably already retro – I never said I was an early adaptor – but I don’t care. But now, I obsess about “where’s the flash drive” and can frequently be seen wearing the darn thing around my neck lest I lose it or leave it behind in a hotel room along with the phone charger. Given the pencil case, can a pocket protector be far behind?

-Black yoga pants – don’t leave home without them. You can get away with them from the gym to a nice dinner out. Okay, maybe not if you’re a guy and you don’t want to look like Baryshnikov. (If you look anything like Baryshnikov, by all means wear them.)

-Exercise tubes. I won’t use them but they take up less space in the bag than the exercise ball I didn’t use, although I have gotten some strange looks during random bag checks because mine are pink and black and could be mistaken for..um..restraints.

-Vitamins and green tea drops. I’m not fully convinced that they do anything, but I love the mechanics…the pills…the dropper..the amber glass bottle. Feels mysterious. (Perhaps this means I’ll poison someone in book five.)

-A scarf, gloves and silk long johns – no matter where I’m going. (Hey, I get cold.)

-The all-purpose black jacket. True, if you see pictures of me at various events it looks like I only own one jacket, but I promise they’re not all the same. If fact I own 49 black jackets – but that’s another blog post.

So armed and dressed for battle - Let the games begin!



Rosemary Harris’ latest title in the Dirty Business mystery series is Slugfest and it comes out today. She is past president of Sisters in Crime New England, president of Mystery Writers of America’s NY Chapter and a member of CAPA (CT Authors and Publishers Association). She kicks off her non-virtual tour tonight in Massachusetts at a Dedham Public Library event to be held at the Borders in Legacy Mall, Dedham, and Wednesday at the Ames Free Library in North Easton – she’ll be the one in the black jacket. For complete schedule visit http://www.rosemaryharris.com/. Follow her on facebook or twitter @rosemaryharris1


Joyce said...

Welcome to the Stiffs.

I love yoga pants. You're brave than I am wearing them outside the house, though. I call mine my don't-go-out-in-public pants. Another thing about yoga pants--they can double as pajama bottoms.

See you at the Festival of Mystery!

Annette said...

Welcome to Working Stiffs, Rosemary!

Ditto on the yoga pants. Love 'em.

I'll be looking for you and your black jacket at the Festival of Mystery!

Jennie Bentley said...

LOL! Sounds like you've got everything important. Black yoga pants, a black jacket, and matching restraints... who could need more?

Gina said...

Welcome, Rosemary. As a fellow flash drive addict, I can certainly identify with your need to take them everywhere. [I usually carry a spare in my purse, just in case . . .] But what is an exercise tube? I'm picturing something like a hamster run, but that can't be right.

Paula Matter said...

Welcome, Rosemary!

Looks like the usual suspects will be at the Festival this year. I'll see y'all there!

PatRemick said...

Welcome Ro and thanks for sharing this great info -- and I guess we can all relate to the yoga pants and black jackets! Can't wait to read Slugfest!

Ramona said...

About the 49 black jackets, does each one require a matching pair of shoes?

Enjoy your tour!

CincyBabe said...

Black jackets, black shoes, black handbags. Then everything always matches!

I'll be at the Festival of Mystery, too. Can't wait to see you all there.

Hallie Ephron said...

This definitely struck a chord, Ro - as I too am 'touring' (was in Oakmont Sunday, saw your signature on the wall in the Lou!)

My essentials: I pack my Macbook (light... though I don't know about 2.5 pounds light), earplugs, earphones, a camera, yoga pants (YES) an an oversized T for sleeping. You exercise on the road and take vitamins? I take walks and try to eat salad instead of burgers.

Have a great time, Ro! Wish I was sufferig with you this time out! Anything coming up in the Boston area?

Rosemary said...

In Beantown now for 3 gigs in 24 hrs. No...don't need different shoes thank goodness! Sounds lke there will be a lot of stiffs at FOM. Maybe we should all meet for astiff drink??