Recently, I caught up with Ann Handley, chief content officer at MarketingProfs and co-author of "Content Rules," on the last leg of her book tour and asked her a few questions about what it's really like to be on a book tour.
In case the gritty realism of the video (ahem, read: "the clanging of dishes and cups from the guys cleaning up the place after the talk") is a little too gritty, I've transcribed a quieter, smoother version of the conversation. You can find it below the video window.
I'm here with MarketingProfs chief content officer and "Content Rules" author Ann Handley on her book tour. Say, Ann, what are the benefits of going on a book tour?
AH: The benefits of going on a book tour are ... Well, there's a couple: 1.) meeting people who actually read the book, which is kind of an awesome thing to do because, you know, writing is kind of a lonely exercise, right? You're typing away at your desk, and you don't really know how it's going to resonate until it goes out there, actually meeting people and having people come up to you and say, "Thank you. That was awesome."
The other cool thing is that a lot of them are actually MarketingProfs members and, as a virtual company, we often don't talk to our subscribers or see them---actually, I should say, we don't talk to our subscribers face to face---so it's really great to meet people in carbon form and hear what they say. "We love MarketingProfs." "We love your book." Whatever. That's the fun part.
So, is that the best part, would you say?
AH: Well, that and, you know, the rock-star lifestyle that is a book tour, right? I'm talking one city to the next. We're about to get back in traffic and drive back to LAX from Orange County. Who doesn't love to sit in traffic?
And the free food?
AH: The free bagels, the free muffins. So much of it. And then there's, you know, the drugs, the chicks, and all that stuff, but yeah ...
What's the worst part of being on a book tour?
AH: The worst part is being away from my family. And just constantly going to the next city.
How long has this tour been going on?
AH: It started the end of January. It hasn't been consistent, but almost every week, it's been two different cities. So, this is Orange County that we're in now right?
AH: If it's Tuesday, it must be Orange County! And then Wednesday, tomorrow, it's San Francisco. Last week, it was Dallas and another city that I'm blanking out on. Oh, Atlanta. It's all good, but it's tough. And I'm tired because ... you know ...
The rockstar lifestyle does that to you?
AH: The rockstar lifestyle. We talked about that.
What surprised you most about being on a book tour?
Were you thinking, "Ok, I'm getting this book out, then I'm going on tour"? What were your expectations versus the reality?
AH: Well, let me just say that it surprises me that I'm on a book tour. OK, let's just start there. It's funny to even think that this book is actually a real book. This book right here. (points to book) And also, there's this notion that you write a book, and then the publisher is going to send you on an amazing tour and you're going to go here and you're going to go there and have lavish dinners and the whole thing. But it's not like that at all. Bridgeline, we're here through Bridgeline Digital, which sponsored the whole tour, so it's just having to start there. It's amazing that we're doing this. It's been really great.
So the most surprising thing is that you're on tour?
AH: That I'm actually here. That I'm on tour.
What advice would you give to someone on a book tour, to someone who has either gotten publish or is self-published, and ready to get out there and start sharing the content they produced. What advice would you give them?
AH: Selling books these days is about hustle, really. I mean, it's just like anything. Any success is going to come from the hustle. So, I guess, more broadly, is that anything you do, you have to be out there working it. That and hydrate.
Hydrate? OK. Well, thanks so much for talking to us. You probably have to run off to the airport now, so-
AH: I do!
Thank you, Ann!
For business-traveling advice from Ann Handley, be sure to read her 8-Point Survival Guide for Too Much Business Travel. Special thanks to Suzy Gehrls and Megan Cordero for recording the interview.
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