Road Burn

Keith Gessen went on a book tour and all he got was a stupid feeling of uselessness. He writes in the Stranger:

What’s the point of a book tour? Publishers don’t believe in them anymore, and given the amount of money my publisher blew on my hotel rooms, I can see why. And airline travel, let’s face it, is immoral. But there’s still got to be something valuable about going out to face the people and reading to them directly from your book, taking their friendly questions (from the internet, you’d think I’d be confronted in every town by at least one screaming blogger; in fact, on the whole tour, not a single angry question)—something must happen to them from that. Or maybe only to you. That is, to me.

Which may explain why so much promotion of authors these days try to avoid all that travel. A story on covers some of those efforts—BookVideos, Titlepage, and 30-minute features produced by Powell’s Books. As Susan Choi puts it, “I think a lot of us have that experience of stumping around the country trying to connect with our readers, but we can’t be everywhere, and the people who read our books are scattered around.”

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