My books are translated into 21 languages, and you can buy them in hundreds of countries. This fact makes me unbelievably happy. It also means it would be entirely possible for me to travel the world year-round, doing nothing but promoting my work.
If I did that, of course, I’d never get any writing done, but it would be SO much fun.
In reality, I usually do two or three international book tours each year. In 2014, for example, I took part in events in Germany, Poland and France, as well as the UK.
I know a lot of readers wonder why I don’t come to their country. I get asked this a lot and, what worries me is I fear some people think I don’t come because I don’t care about them. I want to make it absolutely clear to everyone that this is not at all true. I care very much. And I want to go everywhere and meet everyone.
Whenever I do an event, I get loads of comments and messages begging me to come to other countries. These are comments on a recent Facebook post I put up about upcoming events.
I love these messages! And I love that people want to meet me as much as I want to meet them. That is a purely wonderful thing.
Still, it occurs to me that many readers might not understand how it works. Why do writers go to one country and not another?
So I thought I should explain the process.
Here’s how it works
It’s pretty simple: writers go where they’re invited. We’re like the best party guests – we only show up if we’re asked.
The key is, whoever publishes our book in a particular country – that company has to invite us. Writers are sometimes invited by their publisher to a book fair, for example, or a big book event. Occasionally publishers schedule a visit around the launch of a new book.
Now, this doesn’t happen all the time because it’s expensive for the publisher. They have to fly authors over, put us up in a hotel, and make sure we don’t step into traffic while looking the wrong way. It’s also time consuming for publishing staff who have to look out for us for two or three days, and do all the arranging.
And writers have to fit the visit into their schedules, which are always packed with writing deadlines.
Personally, I want to go everywhere. There are lots of countries I long to go to, where I have great relationships with readers but have never been invited – Spain! Mexico! Israel! – but I know so many pieces have to fall into place for each trip to happen. And, sadly, I have no control over it.
I’ve looked into it, and it’s almost impossible for an author to arrange their own foreign tour. I can’t just go to a country and hold an event on my own. The publisher really has to make it happen. Some publishers do more author visits than others, and the writer has no say over whether or not they are invited.
Do some lobbying
If you want me to come to your country, the people to convince are the ones who publish the books. They are the key. If the publisher has a Facebook page, you can post a comment asking them to bring me over. If they’re on Twitter, you can tweet to them, asking for a signing. Or you can email them, via the ‘contact’ address on their websites.
This is actually helpful, as it indicates to the publisher that there’s real interest in having an author over. It plants the idea that if they held a signing, readers would really show up, and make it all worthwhile.
While I love to hear from readers everywhere, it doesn’t do a lot of good to lobby me, since I have no control. But you can do it anyway, because I like your lovely messages.
I will do my part
If it’s any comfort, I do ask my agent about it all the time, and she passes my wistful requests on to the publishers in the countries where I haven’t yet been invited. So I’m doing all I can to make these tours happen in places where I know readers are passionate about the books.
I hope we find a way to meet. There is nothing better for any writer than the chance to meet the people who love books as much as they do, and hang out and talk.
I’ll do everything I can to make sure it happens.